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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. #701 – The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey

rodkey_tappertwins_pob The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)

written by Claudia Tapper with Geoff Rodkey
Little, Brown and Company     4/07/2015
978-0-316-29779-0
236 pages     Age 8—12

“This brand-new series by a popular screenwriter is a pitch-perfect, contemporary comedy featuring twelve-year-old fraternal twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war! But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price.

“Told as a colorful “oral history” by the twins and their friends, and including photos, screenshots, chat logs, online gaming digital art, and text messages between their clueless parents, The Tapper Twins is a hilariously authentic showcase of what it’s like to be in middle school in our digitally-saturated world.” [publisher]

Review
Claudia and Reese, age 12, twins, are at war, with each other. Who started the war depends on whom you ask, Claudia or Reese. They cannot agree on anything. Claudia decides, after the war is over, to document what happened. She writes using all at her disposal, including photos, interviews, online screenshots, and her mostly-absent parents’ phone text messages. I love her description of her and Reese,

“We are, unfortunately, twins. I am twelve years old. Reese is six.”

Reese interjects whenever he can. Like any war, it starts when one side (Reese), accuses the other side (Claudia), of doing something wrong (farting in the sixth-grade cafeteria), which harms others (a few sixth-grade princess sensibilities, many noses, and Jens—Claudia’s secret crush). Embarrassed and angry at such a terrible accusation—she claims innocence—Claudia is out for revenge. The War has begun. 

TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (spread 1)

Claudia tries several ways of embarrassing her brother, but Reese does not embarrass easily. Claudia begins by placing a large, dead, stinky fish in Reese’s backpack, but even after several days, and others complaining of the awful smell, Reese doesn’t notice. When he learns of the fish, he fires back. Then Claudia returns his fire, and back-and-forth, until someone is tragically hurt. The fighting is both online and off for some digital-age humor. Claudia also allows others to comment in her “Officially True History of the War between the Trapper Twins (Claudia and Reese).” These interjections into Claudia’s history of war help the story gel into a humorous middle school tale. Readers meet Claudia’s secret Norwegian crush (Jens), the twins’ Upper East Side private school friends, the snobby Princesses, and the twin’s parents.

TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (spread 3)

Rodkey, who wrote the excellent Chronicles of Egg series (reviewed here: bk1, bk2, bk3), knows his readers well and understands how siblings fight. I loved the first book of this new series, which delves into cyberbullying as part of the twins’ fighting. Even though Claudia writes the history, she comes off as the antagonist, rather than the victim she sees herself to be, making it easy to favor Reese. Still, the sibling fighting feels natural, not forced. That the twins are more alike than they believe and never really lose their sibling-love is also true to form. If you have siblings, you just might recognize yourself in either Claudia or Reese.

The Trapper Twins will have readers laughing, happily rolling their eyes, and smiling throughout its witty story. Those who like the Dork series, or the Aldo Zelnick Alphabet Novels (example here), will love The Trapper Twins even more. The Trapper Twins series continues this September with book 2: The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York. The prologue and first chapter are at the back of this book to give you a taste of the next. I cannot wait to continue this series. I love Rodkey’s writing and his wit.

THE TRAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR (WITH EACH OTHER). Text copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Illustrations and photographs (except where noted) copyright © 2015 by Geoff Rodkey. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY.

Purchase The Trapper Twins Go to War at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHachette Book Group.

The Trapper Twins made the New York Times Bestseller List at #14!
Learn more about The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other) HERE.
Read an Excerpt HERE.

Meet the author, Geoff Rodkey, at his website:  http://geoffrodkey.com/
Meet the illustrator, The Trapper Twins book website:  http://www.tappertwins.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Little, Brown and Company website:  http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/kids/

Little, Brown and Company is part of the Hachette Book Group

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

Review section word count = 413

trapper twins go to war 2015 bk 1 little brown company

 


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Brown and Company, Chronicle of Egg, family relationships, Geoff Rodkey, Hachette Book Grou, humor, Little, New York City, private schools, sibling fighting, The Trapper Twins Go to War (with each other), The Trapper Twins Tear Up New York, twins

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2. #700 – Jars of Hope by Jennifer Ray & Meg Owenson – CBW Winners

9781623704254
Jars of Hope: How One Woman Helped Save 2,500 Children During the Holocaust

Written by Jennifer Roy
Illustrated by Meg Owenson
Capstone Press          8/01/2015
978-1-62370-425-4
32 pages         Age 9—12

“Amid the horrors of World War II, Polish social worker Irena Sendler worked in the Warsaw Ghetto for Jews. When the Nazis began shipping Jews out of the ghetto in cattle cars, Irena started smuggling out babies and children to give them a chance to live. She hid babies in places like laundry piles, a carpenter’s toolbox, or a potato sack, and she helped older children escape through underground sewer tunnels. After the children were out of the ghetto, Irena found safe places for them with foster families or in convents. Irena kept records of the children she helped smuggle away and when she feared her work might be discovered, she buried her lists in jars, hoping to someday reunite the children with their parents.” [publisher]

Review
Irena Sendler is one of the unsung heroes of World War II. She is not in history books and few know about her work. Jars of Hope begins with Irena as a young child, hearing words from her father that would stay with her forever. She asked her father,

“Are some people really better than others?”

Irena’s father replied,

“There are two kinds of people in this world, good and bad.
It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor, what religion or race.
What matters is if they are good or bad.”

In World War II, the Jews were not the bad guys and Irena decided to help those that were suffering the most . . . children. With the help of some trusted friends, the group smuggled 2500 children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. One good example was Antoni, who was allowed to drive his truck in an out of the ghetto. Together, he and Irena smuggled babies out in the back of the truck. Many cried. Antoni had a unique solution: Shepsi. Shepsi, Antoni’s talented sidekick, rode along in the front seat of the truck. With one touch of his paw by Antoni, Shepsi began barking, drowning out the baby’s cries. Eventually Irena joined Zegota, a secret group of Polish adults who helped the Jews with aid and rescue. Zegota helped Irena place children in foster homes and convents, but that association also got her arrested.

9781623704254_spd

The illustrations are emotional and stark, a reflection of the time, and yet beautiful. The images immerse readers into the 1940s and the realities of Irena’s work. I especially like the image of children climbing out of the sewer with only a flashlight shining down upon them as a guide. The young girl hoisting herself up onto the ground struck home, making the era come alive for me. The author includes an Afterword adding more about Irena’s life, a glossary, and an Author’s Note explaining why she wrote Jars of Hope.
What Irena Sendler went through to save so many others is beyond heroic. She put her life in danger every day, but thought nothing of it because others needed her help. Such a selfless spirit is rare. Irena dangerously kept a list of the children she rescued, believing every child deserves to know their real name—many received new, Catholic names upon rescue—and she wanted to reunite as many families as possible. The lists went into jars, and buried for safety.

Jars of Hope, and other books like it, should be in classrooms. Irena Sendler, her selfless aid of so many Jewish children is worth remembering. She is a hero, but much more than that, if there were just an appropriate word. Jars of Hope is a beautiful, dangerous story of hope at a time when all hope seemed lost, and of courage, in a time and place where courage barely survived. Jars of Hope is a must read for older children and adults. Jars of Hope also belongs in every school library.

JARS OF HOPE. Text copyright © 2015 by Jennifer Roy. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Meg Owenson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, North Mankato, MN.

Pre-order Jars of Hope at AmazonBook Depository— Capstone Press.

Learn more about Jars of Hope HERE.
Meet the author, Jennifer Roy, at her website:  http://jenniferroy.com/
Meet the illustrator, Meg Owenson, at her website:  https://meganowenson.wordpress.com/
Find more picture books at the Capstone Press website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Press is an imprint of Capstone.

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

Review section word count = 502

jars of hope

DON’T LEAVE JUST YET!
We have WINNERS!!

Children’s Book Week Winners

Monday – The Luck Uglies (Book #1) by Paul Durham & Pétur Antonsson
Winner:  Robin Newman

Tuesday – Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay
Winner:  Lauren Tolbert Miller

Wednesday – Dress Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy
Winner:  Susanna Leonard Hill

Thursday – Fork-Tongue Charmers (Luck Uglies #2) by Paul Durham
Winner:  Erik Weibel

Friday – FRED by Kaila Eunhye
Winners:  C. L. Murphy & Mike Allegra

Congratulations to all the winners!


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: Capstone, Capstone Press, courage, heroes, Jars of Hope, Jennifer Ray, Jewish children, Meg Owenson, selflessness, Warsaw Ghetto, World War II, Zegota

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3. #699 – Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer & Holly Clifton-Brown

cover
Stella Brings the Family

Written by Miriam B. Schiffer
Illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
Chronicle Books      3/05/2015
32 pages     Age 4—8

“Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day cerebration but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party. Fortunately, Stella finds a unique solution to her party problem in the sweet story about love, acceptance, and the true meaning of family.” [book jacket]
.
Review
Stella’s teacher at Elmwood Elementary School announces a celebration for Mother’s Day and each student can invite a “special guest.” Jonathan, Leon, and Carmen are inviting their mothers. Howie even has two mothers to invite! Stella does not have a mother. Her classmates wonder—without a mother—who reads to her at night, helps her with homework, and kisses her when she gets hurt. Stella has many people who do those things. She has her Papa and Daddy, Nonna, Aunt Gloria, Uncle Bruno, and Cousin Lucy. Jonathan suggests inviting them all, but Stella is not sure. On party day, Howie is there with his two mothers and Jonathan is with his grandmother (mom is away in the army). The party is a big hit and everyone has a great time.

kids table

Stella Brings the Family delves into what a family consists of today. No longer simply mom and dad plus kids, today’s configurations of families can be anything that consists of people loving and caring for each other. That can be mom and dad plus kids, or a mom and child, a grandmother and grandchild, even two dads and a daughter, like Stella’s family. Stella Brings the Family is not a book about homosexuality. It does not try to explain why Stella has two dads or anything about the two dads, except that they love Stella.

invite daddy papa stella

What Stella Brings the Family is, is a celebration of family and a celebration of acceptance. None of the kids—or special guests—care about the kind of family each child is a member of, but rather that each child has someone who reads to them at night, helps them with homework, and kisses them when they get hurt. Kids will recognize themselves and their friends in Stella Brings the Family. Debut author Schiffer keeps the story’s focus on Stella, who stands out thanks to her curly red hair.

sp5

The watercolor illustrations beautifully render the multicultural and multigenerational family members. The kids’ invitations, with their drawings of family members, are terrific. The invites look like how someone Stella’s age (6—8) would write, though just a little better than most that age might draw. Clifton-Brown elicits the emotional story clearly through Stella’s expressions. At day’s end, the worn out teacher rests her head on her desk. Stella tells her things will not be as hectic for Father’s Day . . . she will just bring two dads, not the entire family. While not a huge twist or a big laugh, the ending is sweet, just like the story.

STELLA BRINGS THE FAMILY. Text copyright © 2015 by Miriam B. Schiffer. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Holly Clifton-Brown. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Stella Brings the Family at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about Stella Brings the Family HERE.
Meet the author, Miriam B. Schiffer, at her Young Children column:  http://bit.ly/ReadingChair
Meet the illustrator, Holly Clifton-Brown, at her website:  http://www.hollycliftonbrown.co.uk/
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 = 384

stella brings the family


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: 2 dads, 2 moms, Chronicle Books, family composition, Holly Clifton-Brown, Miriam B. Schiffer, multicultural, multigenerational, Stella Brings the Family

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4. #698 – Jack and the Wild Life by Lisa Doan & Ivica Stevanovic

cover_Jack_and_the_Wildlife-330

#02 Jack and the Wild Life

Series: The Berenson Schemes
Written by Lisa Doan
Illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic
Darby Creek         9/01/2014
     144 pages    Age 9—12

“After a wild plan by his parents left Jack stranded in the Caribbean, the Berenson family decided to lay out some rules. Jack’s mom and dad agreed they wouldn’t take so many risks. Jack agreed he’d try to live life without worrying quite so much. Then Jack’s parents thought up another get-rich-quick scheme. Now the family’s driving around Kenya. An animal attack is about to send Jack up a tree—alone, with limited supplies. As Jack attempts to outsmart a ferocious honey badger and keep away from an angry elephant, he’ll have plenty of time to wonder if the Berenson Family Decision-Making Rules did enough to keep him out of trouble.” [book jacket]

Review
The Berenson family adults are constantly trying to find an easy way to make a fortune, conjuring up one odd scheme after another. Jack is the one that pays the price for these awful plans, while his parents wander through life unaware of most everything around them, including their missing son. This makes for many comical situations and gives the series its heart. This time, the Berensons fly to Africa, Jack in tow, because, as Dad tells Jack,

“Your mum and I have invented a brand-new kind of tourism . . . a surefire moneymaking opportunity.”

going to kenyaThey plan to build a tourist camp where people can live like a real Maasai tribe. Using mud, sticks, grass, and more mud, Jack’s parents plan to build the Maasai mud-huts tourists will gladly rent to experience tribal life (and a fence to keep out the lions). The best part of their plans, the two adults believe, is they need no money to build their attraction—Mother Nature supplies the materials. Jack is not thrilled. He finally had a “normal” life, a home, parents who held down real 9-to-5 jobs, and a new friend—Diana. Once summer began to fade into fall, Jack’s parents could no longer do that “grind.” But this time things will be different: Jack’s parents will plan ahead, not take any risks, and not lose Jack. Changing their ways proves more difficult than the parents thought, as things do not go as planned, risks are taken, and, well, Jack . . . he ends up in a tree.

Poor Jack, now he is in Africa, stuck up a tree, while his parents—yet to realize Jack flew out of the rented Jeep—are trying to find the guide for their new camp. Jack must protect himself from animals on the ground and the ones that can get past the fence he built around the tree. He sleeps in the tree, eats in the tree, and fears for his life—and the life of Mack, Diana’s stuffed monkey—in the tree. The last time his parents had a get-rich-quick scheme, Jack feared for his life on a deserted island. (#1 – Jack the Castaway reviewed here).

jack pageThe Berenson Schemes is a wonderful series, especially for kids that wish they could take control. With roles reversed, Jack acts more the parent, setting rules and following through. Meanwhile, Jack’s parents act more like spoiled, unruly children, who care about themselves first and Jack second. They do love their son, but cannot get it together as adults. In book #2, Jack and the Wild Life, the family has new decision-making rules in the hopes that Jack’s parents will be parents that are more responsible. As Jack makes a tree-bed out of duct tape and reads his Kenya guide, he thinks maybe the rules are not working as he had hoped they would.

I love the black and white illustrations. Stevanovic does a great a job of enhancing the story, giving readers a view into Jack’s situation and his emotions. I wish I had more images to show readers. The full-page illustrations are fantastic and have been in both books. By the end of the story, Jack’s parents may see the errors of their ways and promise Jack they will try harder to change . . . until the next edition, when they tire of being adults, devise a new scheme, and hook Jack into their plans. The Berenson Schemes #2: Jack and the Wild Life is great fun and I look forward to each new scheme and Jack’s consequences for merely being his parents’ child. Kids will love the mayhem Doan creates and the magic in Stevanovic’s illustrations. Book #3: Jack at the Helm, released this past March, 2015.

JACK AND THE WILD LIFE (THE BERENSON SCHEMES #2). Text copyright © 2014 by Lisa Doan. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Darby Creek, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase Jack and the Wild Life at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesDarby Creek.

Learn more about Jack and the Wild Life HERE.
CCSS Guide for Teachers HERE.
Meet the author, Lisa Doan, at her website:  http://www.lisadoan.org/
Meet the illustrator, Ivica Stevanovic, at his website:  http://ivicastevanovicart.blogspot.com/
Find more middle grade books at the Darby Creek website:  http://bit.ly/DarbyCreek

Darby Creek is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

The Berenson Schemes

#1 – Jack the Castaway

#1 – Jack the Castaway

#2 – Jack and the Wild Life

#2 – Jack and the Wild Life

JACK AT THE HELM 3

#3 – Jack at the Helm

 

 

 

#01 – Jack and the Castaway 2015 IPPY Gold Medalist for Juvenile fiction

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

Review section word count = 518

jack and the wild life 2


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Africa, Darby Creek, family, get-rich-schemes, Inc., Ivica Stevanovic, Jack and the Wild Life, Jack at the Helm, Jack the Castaway, Kenya, Lerner Publishing Group, Lisa Doan

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5. #697 – Kid Presidents: True tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents by David Stabler & Doogie Horner

KidPresidents_final_300dpiKid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents

Written by David Stabler*
Illustrated by Doogie Horner
Quirk Books    10/28/2014
978-1-59474-731-1
216 pages    Age 8—12
.

EVERY PRESIDENT STARTED OUT AS A KID

“Forget the legends. Ignore the tall tales. The kids who grew up to be president weren’t superheroes. They had regular-kid problems just like you. John F. Kennedy hand hated his big brother. Lyndon Johnson pulled pranks in class. Barack Obama was bothered by bullies. And Bill Clinton was crazy clumsy (he once broke his leg jumping rope). Kid Presidents tells all of their stories and ore with full-color cartoon illustrations on every page. History has never been this much fun!” [book jacket]

Review
Kid Presidents tells the story of sixteen presidents including George Washington—who never chopped down a cherry tree—and Barack Obama—who received a gibbon ape as a gift. Every president had a childhood filled with the same things as kids today. They had friends, though one had none. Some had trouble in school or trouble at home, and at least one was an extremely angry young boy. Some were well-liked, good students, and helpful at home. Despite decades between them, “boys will be boys.”

Abe and his sister were forced to sleep on a floor covered with corncobs and straw.

“Abe and his sister were forced to sleep on a floor covered with corncobs and straw.”

Ulysses Grant, at age eight, made a bad barter for a horse. He told the seller the most he could pay ($25), and, of course, $25 became the seller’s asking price. Word spread fast and kids started calling Ulysses “Useless.” Ulysses did not barter as his father instructed him, but being called Useless was cruel, as kids often are. Teachers could be cruel, as Herbert Hoover found out on his report card comment section:

“A fat little boy, always reading.”

John F Kennedy’s teacher was not thrilled with him,

“Jack studies at the last minute,
keeps appointments late,
has little sense of material values,
and can seldom locate his possessions.”

Kennedy sure doesn’t sound like presidential material, but sure enough, he became president number 35. Kid Presidents will make you laugh more often than not, and when not laughing, you will be grinning. Our past presidents, and our current, had normal childhoods. They schemed and dreamed just like kids today. Some were poor, some rich, but most where in-between. These presidents, as boys, did dumb things, held odd jobs, and had weird nicknames. Here are a few:

Accident-prone:  Jimmy Carter shot his sister and Dwight Eisenhower stabbed his brother in the eye.

Clumsy:  Harry Truman broke his collarbone—while combing his hair and Rutherford B. Hayes fell into hot coals—while putting on his pants.

Pranks (or bad boys?):  Andrew Jackson moved outhouses, so the owner couldn’t find it, and John F. Kennedy stole people’s milk and then sold it back to them.

Nicknames:  Barack Obama was “the Little Duck,” Gerald Ford was “Junie,” and John F. Kennedy was “Rat Face.”

(There is more to each of the above, but those stories are for you to read.)

Barack Obama

Kid Presidents has a childhood tale for sixteen presidents, but there are snippets about many more, if not all. Kid Presidents makes for an entertaining, and often hilarious, read. Kids will love reading about the crazy stunts, fights, pranks, and physical problems these boys overcame and then went on to become an American president. If those boys could accomplish this, so can any boy—or girl—who reads this book. Even if becoming president is not their goal, reading Kid Presidents should help kids understand that childhood, good or bad, silly or sad, boring or brilliant, will have less affect on their future as adults than they may believe. “Permanent Records” don’t have the permanency as adults may tell you. If they did, Lyndon Johnson might not have served five years as president. Johnson was class clown, the cut-up who got into so much trouble, his father’s first words upon returning home often were,

“Well, what has Lyndon done today?”

The illustrations in Kid Presidents enhance each of the stories. The images of young boys-soon-to-be-presidents are also funny, often cartoonish, and always entertaining. A second edition of Kid Presidents, with stories covering those presidents missed in this edition, would be a nice follow-up. 

YOU as President!

YOU as President!

*real name is Robert Schnakenberg

KID PREIDENTS: TRUE TALES OF CHILDHOOS CROM AMERICA’S PRESIDENTS.Text copyright © 2014 by David Stabler. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Doogie Horner. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA.

Purchase Kid Presidents at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesQuirk Books.

Learn more about Kid Presidents HERE.
Book’s website:  http://kidpresidents.com/
Meet the author, David Stabler, at his facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/davidkstabler
Meet the illustrator, Doogie Horner, at his twitter page:  https://twitter.com/DoogieHorner
Find more middle grade books at the Quirk Books website:  http://www.quirkbooks.com/

Read an excerpt  HERE.
Educator’s Guide  HERE.     
Quizzo Event Kit  HERE.
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Review section word count = 625

kid presidents


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: 978-1-59474-731-1, american presidents, childhood tales, David Stabler, Doogie Horner, Kid Presidents: True tales of Childhood from America’s Presidents, Quirk Books, Robert Schnakenberg

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6. #696 – I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

coverI Wish You More

Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Chronicle Books  3/01/2015
978-1-4521-2699-9
40 pages Age 3+
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“Some books are about a single wish.
Some books are about three wishes.
This book is about endless wishes.

“Amy Krouse and Tom Lichtenheld have been called the “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers of children’s books” and here they have combined their extraordinary talent to create a compendium of wishes—wishes for curiosity and wonder, friendship and strength, for joyous days and quiet moments.

What will you wish for?”  [book jacket]

Review
I Wish You More is the perfect book for a (grand)parent to give their (grand)child for any occasion or no occasion at all. I Wish You More is also the perfect book to give the child heading off to college, summer camp, or any other get-away.

I wish you more can than knot.

I wish you more can than knot.

Beginning with two children racing with the wind, a kite flying high above, the text reads:  “I wish you more ups than downs.” Each spread continues with a wish and an image expressing that wish. Children will understand most of the test and each of the images. Lichtenheld has created a multicultural set of children, which make the spreads that more adorable—if this is possible.

I Wish You More is simply a wonderful, joyous, high-spirited, positive celebration of what a wish can do for those who receive them, and for those who give them. There really is not much more to say about this beautiful picture book. Read I Wish You More to a young child and they can learn the benefits of kindness and well wishes toward other humans. And, I believe, you can help your little one with their self-esteem.  I Wish You More would have been in my office and read to every child.

I wish you more stories than stars.

I wish you more stories than stars.

Each spread is one wish—one special wish with an equally special illustration. Narrated by the voice of a parent, I Wish You More  concludes by stating it contains all these wishes, “. . . because you are everything I could wish for . . . and more.”

**Chronicle Books is making two posters from the book available for anyone who would like them. This may be for a limited time, I do not know, so go HERE and get your set of two. They are perfect for any child’s room. There is also an activity kit for teachers HERE.

I WISH YOU MORE. Text copyright © 2015 by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Tom Lichtenheld. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase I Wish You More at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! (#4)
Learn more about I Wish You More HERE.

Meet the author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, at her website:  http://www.whoisamy.com/
Meet the illustrator, Tom Lichtenheld, at his website:  http://www.tomlichtenheld.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 = 222

i wish you more


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: 978-1-4521-2699-9, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, books for parents to give children, Chronicle Books, creative, empowering, I Wish You More, illuminating, reflective, self esteem, Tom Lichtenheld, wishes

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7. #695 – Waggers by Stacy Nyikos & Tamara Anegόn

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Waggers

Written by Stacy Nyikos
Illustrated by Tamara Anegόn
Publisher: Sky Pony Press      12/02/2014
978-1-62914-629-4
32 pages                  Age 4—8
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“WAGGERS TRIED TO BE GOOD.
HE TRIED REALLY HARD.
BUT HIS TAIL GOT IN THE WAY!

“Waggers is so happy to be adopted by his new family and all he wants is to be good—he really does! But it isn’t Waggers fault that his tail goes crazy when he gets exited. How much harm can a tail do, anyway? Well, his new family is about to find out. In the kitchen, Moni’s cookies smell so good that Waggers’s tail makes the dough hit the ceiling. And when Waggers helps Michael defeat a monster in the living room, there may be a sofa casualty. After his tail accidentally scratches the paint off the car in the garage, Mom and Dad aren’t so sure their home is the right fit for such an excitable pup. Could this be the last straw, or can Waggers and his family find a way to stay together?” [book jacket]

Review
If you like dogs, or stories about dogs, you’ll like Waggers. Waggers is available for adoption—free—from a litter of five puppies. It always makes me a little suspicious when purebreds are given away free. Waggers is a Razortail Whippet. This may sound like a legitimate breed, yet there is no such breed, but the name fits Waggers perfectly. It would be so much fun if there were. Mom and Dad wonder how much trouble a little pup like Waggers can cause. Their son tries to pick up Waggers and the pup gets so excited his tail twirls the other four puppies into the air.

adoptUnlike his littermates, Waggers has an exceptional tail. An exceptionally long tail. How long is an exceptional tail? Waggers’ four littermates have tails approximately six-times shorter than their bodies. Waggers’ tail is also approximately six-times . . . longer. So when Waggers wags his tail it acts like a whip, mowing down everything in its extensive path. If Waggers were a superhero, his special powers would be inside his tail. It could upturn furniture, fling cookie dough into the air, and take paint right off a car. Oh, wait, Waggers DID do all those things.

Waggers, is a cute dog with a big head, long body, and constantly protruding tongue. He loves to show affection, which makes Waggers happy, and when he is happy Waggers gets excited, and when he gets excited Waggers’ tail starts twirling, and THAT is what gets Waggers into so much trouble. Picture a cat-hating dog determined to get a hissing, clawing, and course-changing feline out of the house. Waggers doesn’t need a cat to cause such a mess, just his tail.

monsster aleretwhoops monsterThe illustrations are by first-time children’s book illustrator and graduate student Tamar Anegόn. I find her art to be a feast for the eyes. She brings Waggers to life with the use of bright colors, expressive eyes, extensively patterned clothing, and lots and lots of details.

Mom and dad have had enough of Waggers’s tail-caused wreckage and decide he needs a new home. On Waggers’s last night the kids camp outside with their soon-to-be-gone dog. Waggers is overcome with an insatiable, interminable, and inaccessible itch. His tail begins to twirl and . . . there goes Mom’s bushes and Dad’s lawn. Waggers tries to be good. He really does try. Still, despite all his destruction, Waggers’s tail, in the end, might just be his salvation.

Waggers is a fun, humorous book young children will love at home or during a story hour at school or the library. Put a bunch of youngsters in one room, read Waggers, and then plug your ears. The laughter will be deafening.

campout

WAGGERS.Text copyright © 2014 by Stacy Nyikos. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Tamara Anegόn. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sky Pony Press , New York, NY.

Purchase Waggers at AmazonBook DepositorySky Pony Press.

Learn more about Waggers HERE.
Meet the author, Stacy Nyikos, at her website:  http://www.stacyanyikos.com/
Meet the illustrator, Tamara Anegόn, at her website:  http://lacajitadetamara.blogspot.com/
Find more picture books at the Sky Pony Press website:  http://www.skyponypress.com/book/

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing

Desi -  the Muse

Desi – the Muse

Desi as Waggers

Desi as Waggers

 

 

A Pretty Good Likeness?

 

 

Review Section: word count = 378

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

waggers


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: 978-1-62914-629-4, adoption, dog rescues, dogs, family, humor, relationships, Sky Pony Press, Stacy Nyikos, Tamara Anegόn, Waggers

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8. # 694 – Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco by Julie Anne Grasso

Ebook cover Lemon Festival Fiasco final 14 March 2015 Hi Res.
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Frankie Dupont And The Lemon Festival Fiasco

Series:  The Frankie Dupont Mysteries
Written by Julie Anne Grasso
Illustrated by Alexander Avellino
Published by Julie Anne Grasso           3/302015
978-0-9873725-8-1
158 pages                 Age 8—12
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“Hot off cracking his first official case Frankie Dupont is on the scene when his new teacher takes ill. The pint-sized detective suspects a classic case of sour grapes, but the evidence leads him to the one placed he wouldn’t mind avoiding for the rest of his natural life. Enderby Manor has a few more secrets up her sleeve, and as Frankie begins to unravel them, he discovers a plot stinkier than a sardine sandwich. In Book 2 of the Frankie Dupont Mysteries, Frankie will make some new friends, upset some old ones, and of course, there will be lemon meringue pie.” [back cover]

Review (491)
It is the start of a new school year for Frankie and his friend Kat. Middle school is a now a combination of two grades in one classroom. Worse, the Appleby triplets—Angus, Archie, and Amy—are in his class and they annoy Frankie like an itch you can’t reach. Day one is short for the head teacher. His assistant, Miss Chestnut, made him a lemon meringue pie and, after one bite, he abruptly leaves for medical help. Frankie swiftly learns one of the pie ingredients is an organic weed killer. This one clue will take Frankie from confronting Miss Chestnut—bad idea—to accusing Merideth De Carlo, the daughter of Evelyn—of Evelyn’s Everlasting Cupcakes—and finally to Enderby Manor and Madame Mercure, a strange woman bent on taking over the hotel.

sick teacher

I enjoy the Frankie Dupont series because of the strange, yet plausible cases and the interesting clues. I love the fully fleshed crazy characters and their well-written stories with unexpected twists. The Lemon Festival Fiasco did not disappoint, though Frankie could be annoying. Unlike the first story, The Mystery of Enderby Manor, where Frankie was eager to show he could solve the case better and faster than Inspector Cluesome, one year later Frankie is arrogant, pushy, and most often wrong. It seems being the only ten-and-three-quarters-year-old to pass the private investigator’s test has gone to his head.

I do like the new character, nine-year-old Amy Appleby, one of the “annoying triplets.” She stays close to Frankie, which irritates the clues right out of him. Frankie does not like that she is smart, possibly smarter than him. It is clear early on that Amy is not trying to outsmart Frankie; she just wants to be close, like any nine-year-old girl with a crush on an older boy. Frankie never picks up on this. Hopefully, that crush will play out in the next edition.

you did it wrong again

The illustrations were done by a new illustrator and are quite good. Personally, I think Frankie looks too old for a 10 ¾ year-old boy and not as cute this time around. I imagine it is difficult to match the work of another illustrator. The Lemon Festival Fiasco can stand on its own, still I recommend reading book 1 first. There is information about the Enderby Manor characters that will help readers understand why Frankie dislikes the manor. Those characters are still a group of, mostly, likable oddballs.

The Mystery of Enderby Manor is an extremely well written mystery with strange, unexpected twists, and thus a difficult case to outshine. The Lemon Festival Fiasco, while a good mystery—that will entertain readers—readers will decipher this lemony mystery much sooner than Frankie. Reluctant readers will like the fast read and may stick with the story because they can solve this case faster than Frankie. Ms. Grasso is a gifted writer who improves with each new story. Her Caramel Cardamom series is a success, as will The Frankie Dupont Mysteries.

ay nd frankie laying in the grass with kat looking on
NEXT UP:  Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage
FRANKIE DUPONT AND THE LEMON FESTIVAL FIASCO. Text copyright © 2015 by Julie Anne Grasso. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Alexander Avellino. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Julie Anne Grasso.

Purchase Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco at AmazonBook DepositoryJulie Anne Grasso Books.

Learn more about Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco HERE.
Educational Activity Booklet HERE
Meet the author, Julie Anne Grasso, at her website: http://www.julieannegrassobooks.com
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

Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor

Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage

Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage

Escape From The Forbidden Planet

Escape From The Forbidden Planet

Return To Cardamom

Return To Cardamom

Stellarcadia

Stellarcadia

 

 

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Review Section: word count = 491

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

frnkie dupont 2 lemon festival fiasco


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Alexander Avellino, Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco, humor, Julie Anne Grasso, lemons, middle school kids, mysteries, relationships, sleuths, The Frankie Dupont Mysteries

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9. #693 – When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Veterinarian by WIGU Publishing

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When I Grow Up I Want To Be…a Veterinarian!: Sofia’s Dream Comes True!

Series: When I Grow Up
Written and illustrated by WIGU Publishing
WIGU Publishing        12/08/2014
978-1-93997314-6
56 pages            Age 7—12
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“Sofia wants to care for all the animals in the world. But Mom does not think Sofia is ready for the responsibility of even one pet. Ready or not, when a hungry and sick-looking cat appears at the family’s back doorstep, Sofia takes action. When Sofia is found feeding the cat, Mom gives in and agrees that a trip to the vet will tell them if the cat is healthy and not someone’s lost pet. As the veterinarian introduces Sofia and readers to the important and wide-ranging work of animal doctors, Sofia learns how she might help all kinds of animals, including a little stray cat!” [back cover]

Review
Like every kid, at some time in his or her life, Sofia desperately wants a pet. Mom sternly responds, “No,” after every plea. I suspect many kids will relate to this situation. Dad tells Sofia gets her love of animals from Mom, which made mom’s stern and resolute rejections surprising to me,

WIGU_VET_FINAL_page32_image8

“. . . the answer was always ‘No. And I mean it, Sofia!’ . . . and she meant it.”

Mom’s reluctance must be due to something she went through as she has some definite opinions about caring for pets. While looking outside at the soaking wet cat, mom says:

WIGU_VET_FINAL_page32_image14

“People should be more responsible about animals.”
“There are too many unwanted animals running around.”

Veterinarian does not delve into the reasons behind the above statements; instead letting Sofia remark that she cannot believe any pet could be unwanted. I agree with Mom and Sofia. Bringing a pet into the family is a big decision, and includes much more than housing and feeding. But Veterinarian is about the career, not the social issues. Continuing with the story, mom finally tells Sofia her reasons for saying no: she does not think the family is ready for a pet. But then it rained.

“It rained cats and dogs.”

WIGU_VET_FINAL_page32_image18

That night it really did rain cats . . . one little, hungry, “sorry-looking,” water-soaked cat. To Sofia’s amazement, her mother was also upset and concerned about the cat. With dad taking the lead, mom agrees to take the cat—now called Samantha—to Dr. Helen, a veterinarian.

Dr. Helen looks for a microchip, listens to Samantha’s heart, weighs her, and then tells Sofia, there are an estimated 10 million different kinds of animal species on Earth . . . that we know of. Much of our planet is unexplored—mostly underwater—and there are animals we have not seen, and some we never will. I did not know this, which is why I love the WIGU series—I learn something with each edition.

WIGU_VET_FINAL_page32_image490

Dr. Helen gives a short history of cats and dogs. Cats first became household “pets” 3,000 years ago in Egypt, where they were worship (cats kept rodents out of the grain and hunted dangerous snakes, including cobras). Dogs, as pets, began roughly 33,000 years ago. Dogs were valued for their companionship and keen senses—hearing, sight, smell—that helped protect humans. Dr. Helen told Sofia cats are the most popular pet (2:1 dogs), yet veterinarians treat more dogs than they do cats. No explanations are given.

combo

As with the other When I Grow Up editions, Veterinarian is loaded with useful information kids will enjoy reading, can use as a reference, or when exploring possible careers. Teachers can use this series as adjunct texts. In Veterinarian, Dr. Helen describes many areas of specialization and the road to becoming a veterinarian. The illustrations are a combination of actual photographs and digital images. On the cover, I adore Samantha’s contented look on her face as Sofia hugs her.

contented cat samantha

In the end, Sofia decides she wants to become a veterinarian. The family decides to keep Samantha, even with the funny, unexpected twist. Veterinarian’s tone is positive and it highlights the best about being a vet. This is my favorite edition thus far. Wigu Publishing is planning to explore more careers for the When I Grow Up series and is working on Spanish versions. Every school should have this series, keeping room for new editions. The When I Grow Up series might go on forever.

WIGU_VET_FINAL_page32_image24

WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE A . . . VETERINARIAN. Text copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wigu Publishing, Sun Valley, ID.

lg span vet

Purchase WIGU I Want to be a . . . Veterinarian at AmazonBook DepositoryWIGU Publishing.

Learn more about WIGU I Want to be a . . . Veterinarian HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Wigu Publishing, at their website:  http://bit.ly/WIGUTeam
Find more picture books at the Wigu Publishing website:  http://whenigrowupbooks.com/

.Spanish Edition
[Amazon]
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When I Grow Up . . . Books

army

span army

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in the U. S. Army [review here]

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teacher.

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a Teacher [review here]

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firfighter..

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a Firefighter  [review here]

 

.navy

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in the U. S. Navy  [review here]

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nurse.

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a Nurse  [reviewed soon]

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Review Section: word count = 543

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

WIGU- VET


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: adopting pets, animals, care of animals, cats, dogs, relationships, When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Veterinarian, WIGU, Wigu Publishing, wildlife vets

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10. #692 – Building the Golden Gate Bridge: an Interactive Engineering Adventure by Blake Hoena

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Building the Golden Gate Bridge: An Interactive Engineering Adventure

Series: You Choose Books:  Engineering Marvels
Written by Blake Hoena
Capstone Young Readers 2015
978-1-4914-0403-4
112 pages            Age 8—12
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‘People living in San Francisco during the 1920s and 1930s are fascinated by the project to build the Golden Gate Bridge—the world’s longest suspension bridge yet. Will you [1] Be a designer of the bridge, working to solve the many challenges created by such an enormous project [or 2]Work as a crew member, accepting the dangers of laboring hundreds of feet in the air above the cold, swirling currents pf the San Francisco Bay? Everything in this book happened to real people. And YOU CHOOSE what to do next. The choices you make either lead you and the project to success—or to failure.” [back cover]

Review
I really like these interactive books that let you decide what happens in the story. Every possibility is true and happened to someone during the planning and building of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can be engineer, John Strauss, who designs the bridge and must decide which of three design choices available in 1919 will work best: a cantilever bridge, a suspension bridge, or a cantilever-suspension  hybrid bridge made up of parts of the former two types (pictures and description of each included); or a construction laborer (a catcher or a skywalker).

Building the Golden Gate Bridge

I began with the engineer route . . . and failed. I fared better as a laborer, first as a catcher. I catch hot rivets (heated to 1900 degrees Fahrenheit), flung to me from above, which I catch in a funnel shaped cup and hand, using tongs, to the next guy, who uses it to connect two beams. Missing even one red-hot rivet can be catastrophic. Someone could get hurt, especially someone—or thing—in the water below. Objects also tend to fall from men working higher up, mainly due to wind gusts knocking tin cups out of hands and safety helmets off heads. Looking up to see what is falling your way can get you badly hurt, if not killed. I looked up, ending my short career. Safety measures, the few used, are an interesting part of the story.

Building the Golden Gate Bridge2

Finally, I tried my hand at the last job option: a skywalker spinning cables. Standing 756 feet up at the top of the bridge, men—sorry, no women—skywalkers wait for three wheels, carrying coils of wire, to race down a guide rope. Once the wheels pass, they grab the strands of wire, gather, tighten, and keep them from twisting around one another. The supporting cables on the Golden Gate Bridge are made of hundreds of thousands of wires. The job is dangerous thanks to the heavy fog that occurs so often in the Bay area. A cowbell hung from each wheel so the wheels could be heard when the fog was thick.

Building the Golden Gate Bridge3

What is cool about the You Choose Books is the amount of history readers will learn, often without realizing they are learning. Based on true stories from the building the Golden Gate Bridge, what you will face on each path actually happened to someone. While trying to make decisions to build the bridge, stay employed, and alive, history becomes part of your story. You need to understand some part of the Golden Gate Bridge’s beginning—its history—to make your choices.

I never could get excited about something that happened years before I was born—or even yesterday’s news. I knew nothing about building the Golden Gate Bridge it was just always there. Now, I know part of the history and so will kids who read these interesting stories. For this reason, the You Choose Books series are perfect as adjunct texts for teachers. And perfect for boys, who will love the action and the ability to wipe themselves off and try another path. Girls will, too, but if there is a book made for the minds of boys, the You Choose Books are those books.

© bernard-gagnon-own-work-gfdl

© bernard-gagnon-own-work-gfdl

The Building of the Golden Gate Bridge has 2 story paths (engineer or laborer), 33 choices, and 9 possible story endings, as do all of the You Choose Books. There is also a Timeline beginning in 1872 when Charles Crooker proposed building a bridge over Golden Gate (and 61 before actual construction on the bridge began). After reading and rereading each path and its nine different endings, it is all but impossible not to know something about the history of The Building of the Golden Gate Bridge.

BUILDING THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE: AN INTERACTIVE ENGINEERING ADVENTURE (YOU CHOOSE BOOKS: ENGINEERING MARVELS). Text copyright © 2015 by Blake Hoena. Images copyright from various sources, as noted. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Children’s Books, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Building the Golden Gate Bridge at AmazonBook DepositoryCapstonePub.

Learn more about Building the Golden Gate Bridge HERE.
Meet the author, Blake Hoena, at his website:  http://bahoena.com/
Find more picture books at the Capstone Young Readers website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/
.    .     .    .Capstone Young Readers is an imprint of Capstone

YOU CHOOSE BOOKS: ENGINEERING MARVELS

Building the Empire State Building: An Interactive Engineering Adventure by Allison Lassieur

Building the Empire State Building by Allison Lassieur

Building the Great Wall of China by Allison Lassieur

Building the Great Wall of China by Allison Lassieur

Building the Transcontinental Railroad by Steven Otfinoski

Building the Transcontinental Railroad by Steven Otfinoski

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review Section: word count = 614

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

building the golden gate bridge you choose book series 2015


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, You Choose Series Tagged: Blake Hoena, bridges, Building the Golden Gate Bridge: an Interactive Engineering Adventure, Capstone Young Readers, design and construction, Golden Gate Bridge, history, San Francisco Bay Area, You Choose Books, You Choose Books: Engineering Marvels

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11. #691 – FRED by Kaila Eunhye Seo and TWO–2–GIVEAWAYS!

CBW-email-childrens_2015

 

Welcome to TGIF

Thank Goodness It’s FRED!
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FRED

Written by Kaila Eunhye Seotop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Kaila Eunhye Seo
Peter Pauper Press          5/01/20`15
978-1-4413-1731-5
40 pages                Age 4—8
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“Fred’s world is filled with fantastical friends that make
his days so much fun he hardly notices that no one else can see them. But one day Fred goes off to school, and things start to change. As Fred grows up, his childhood friends slowly fade away and seem to disappear, taking some of life’s sparkle with them. But a chance meeting with a special young girl reminds Fred—and readers young and old alike—that magic and wonder never really disappear . . . they live forever in our hearts.” [book jacket]

Review
Fred’s imaginary friends have the people in his small town thinking he is different—a polite way of saying the boy is odd. Fred has the ability to see and hear things other people cannot. Fred also believes in things the other townsfolk either cannot, or simply will not, believe. Despite the townsfolk’s’ inability to see, hear, or care about Fred’s creatures, the creatures cared about the townsfolk.

“Sometimes they acted like the wind and moved branches out of the way for people.
And sometimes they acted like shade and kept people cool on hot summer days”

What is Fred seeing and hearing that make the others consider the young boy an oddity? Fred sees creatures . . . imaginary creatures . . . imaginary friends. He never cares about making other friends—he already has the best friends a young boy could hope to have.

PPP - Fredstreet

When the day arrives for Fred to begin school, he makes new friends . . . real, alive friends. His imaginary friends wait, no longer part of Fred’s day. One day becomes two, then three, and each school year blends into the next. One-by-one the creatures Fred adored disappear, losing their color, and fading into the background.  By the time he reaches adulthood, all the imaginary creatures are lost from Fred’s memory.

The real world takes too much of Fred’s attention and time. Fred’s days run together as he does the same things day after day. This monotony leaves Fred feeling empty, friendless, and all alone, even in the park where he played so joyfully with . . . with . . . he doesn’t remember with whom he played with, or even what his playmates look liked. Where did his childhood friends go?

looking in on school

FRED will have you wondering when your imaginary friends left you. When these old friends leave, they take with them a very precious commodity: your imagination. Can you imagine doing anything other than your daily routine? Not just a dream vacation, but something that will cheer you up, daily make you implausibly happy, and has the synapses on the right-side of your brain sizzling with ideas, as they jump from neuron to neuron. Neither can Fred, poor guy. Then he gets lucky. A small child comes to the park while Fred sits reading—always a delightful detail in a children’s book. The young girl, with a pocket full of lollipops, asks Fred if he and his friends would like a lollipop. His friends anxiously watch Fred, who says,

“Excuse me?”

Someone can see his friends. They are all still with him. A synapse POPS! Another SIZZLES! Fred’s heart no longer feels weighed down, and instead, he feels free. Fred’s imaginary friends—and his imagination—return. Adult Fred finally realizes he . . . wait, I cannot tell you what Fred realized. Fred would like to tell you himself. This is his story. FRED surprised me, in a very wonderful way. Imagination, and the magical journeys it can create, is not the sole domain of childhood, but we tell ourselves there is no time for such “silliness,” yet without retaining our child-like selves, we lose much of our creativity.

PPP- Fredpark

I love Ms. Seo’s direct lines in the pen and ink illustrations. Each spread overflows with artistic detail and the color remains only with the story and its characters. I think Ms. Seo’s attention to detail and using color to focus readers’ eyes on the story shows she cares about making a terrific sensory experience for children. The monsters are hilarious and kid-friendly. Not one creature will cause nightmares, as none is even a wee-bit scary. They walk among the unsuspecting—and unbelieving—in town without any commotion. I do wonder how the non-believers (who possess little to no imagination), would think if they saw what Fred could see. The story and all the eye-catching illustrations are a definite sign that this debut author/illustrator has not lost her childhood imagination, inspiration, or her imaginary friends.

FRED. Text copyright © 2015 by Kaila Eunhye Seo. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Kaila Eunhye Seo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peter Pauper Press, White Plains, NY.

Purchase FRED at AmazonBook DepositoryPeter Pauper Press.

Learn more about FRED HERE.

TEACHERS:  Common Core Teaching Guide for FRED.

Meet the author/illustrator, Kaila Eunhye Seo, at her website:  http://www.eunhyeseo.com/
Find more picture books at the Peter Pauper Press website:  http://www.peterpauper.com/

**NOTE: Through the month of May, 20% off at Peter Pauper Press. Use Code: MAY 20

Review Section: word count = 663

Huntington Press Best Picture Books 2015

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

FRED  FTC   correct box

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Set of all TEN of our Critically Acclaimed Picture Books

For a Chance to WIN Click the Rafflecopter Link Below

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Fred by Kaila Eunhye Seo

An EARLY COPY of

All the Lost Things by Kelly Canby,

All the Lost Things by Kelly Canby

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Elephantastic by Michael Engler

THE ZOO IS CLOSED TODAY!

The Zoo Is Closed Today! by Evelyn Beilenson

SIMPSON'S SHEEP WON'T GO TO SLEEP!

Simpson’s Sheep Won’t Go to Sleep! by Bruce Arant

HANK FINDS AN EGG

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

HANK HAS A DREAM

Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley

CELIA

Celia by Cristelle Vallat

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Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth

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Digby Differs by Miriam Koch!

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Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: adult picture books, creativity, FRED, FRED by Kaila Eunhye Seo, friendship, imaginary friends, imagination, Kaila Eunhye Seo, loneliness, losing child-like qualities, Peter Pauper Press

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12. #690 – Fork-Tongue Charmers (Luck Uglies #2) by Paul Durham

CBW-email-childrens_2015

 

cover 2X
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Fork-Tongue Charmers

Series: The Luck Uglies (#2)
Written by Paul Durhamtop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Pétur Antonsson
HarperCollins Children’s Books             3/17/2015
978-0-06-227153-2
416 pages                     Age 9—14
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“It’s not easy being the daughter of the High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies. Now an insidious new lawman in Drowning has declared Rye an outlaw from her own village, and she’s been exiled to the strange and remote Isle of Pest. But the island quickly feels much less remote when the battle to control the future of the Luck Uglies moves to its shores. To defeat the Luck Uglies’ bitterest rivals, Rye must defy a deranged earl, survive a test meant to judge the grit of the fiercest of men—and uncover some long-buried family secrets. And when Rye leads the charge to defend t island, she and her friends will meet an eerily familiar enemy . . . “ [book jacket]

Review
In The Luck Uglies, Rye O’Chanter came to realize her family had been lying to her all her life. Nothing has changed. Rye learns there are many more family secrets. Rye also learned in The Luck Uglies that those she lives with, and around, are not who they appear to be. This, too, continues as new people enter Rye’s life. And the classic theme of good versus evil continues with a slight variation. This time, it’s good versus evil and evil versus evil, making the lines blurrier than ever.

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The Luck Uglies

 

At the start of Fork-Tongue Charmers, Rye and her friends are anxiously awaiting Silvermas, and anticipating shoes overflowing with candy. On the eve of Silvermas, three strange, masked men knock on the O’Chanter door with a message: Harmless wants Rye to join him posthaste. Soon, the magical Silvermas Mud Sleigh arrives for Rye, but something is amiss. Meanwhile, Earl Longchance hires a new constable, Valant, who has a violent, vindictive reputation and fears no one. He immediately implements new rules and laws. Villagers who seemingly violate Valant’s strict and often unfair laws receive public humiliation and severe punishment at the Shaming Pole. Abby and Lottie move out of their home (and into the notorious Dead Fish Inn), after Valant burns down the Willow’s Wares. Once the Mud Sleigh is ravaged on Silvermas—with Rye aboard—Valant posts a new decree.

“PROCLAMATION
OF EARL MORNINGWIG LONGCHANCE!
Generous Rewards Offered for the Capture of
Abigail O’Chanter and her Two Offspring!
Wanted for Crimes Against the Shale!”

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Constable Valant

Once more, the relatively peaceful lives of Abby, Rye, and Lottie O’Chanter are disrupted as they, Folly, and Quinn are thrust into situations few could survive. Sent to the Isle of Pest—Abby’s childhood home—via the Slumgullion, a rickety pirating vessel navigated by an over-the-top Captain Dent, calm returns but questions continue. Refusing to cease when so close to victory, Earl Longchance follows the Slumgullion to Pest, and wages a surprise war against a group of peaceful people.

Where is Harmless? How far will Valant and Earl Longchance push the people of Drowning? What new secrets will Rye uncover? Will she ever get off the small Isle of Grit? OH, I’ve forgotten one important thing, who are the Fork-Tongue Charmers? These men are easy to identify, if they will open their mouths. They have willingly split their tongues like a snake. Slinister, the group’s aptly named leader, seeks revenge against Harmless, having no qualms about using a child in his scheme. One last piece of vital information; these Fork-Tongue Charmers are Luck Uglies.

Rye Crossing Barnacle-Covered Rocks

Rye Crossing Barnacle-Covered Rocks

Durham’s second novel will lull you on a nice countryside filled with sheep and eccentric personalities. He gets you all snug and cozy then, just as you are enjoying the oddness, BAM, the worlds of Drowning and Pest collide, tossing you like the sea back into an adventurous fantasy only Durham could handle with such precision. The Fork-Tongue Charmers are not so charming, but Dunham’s story will keep you glued, wondering whom these men really are and what Slinister really wants. He (Slinister), abandons Rye, alone, on the Isle of Grit, in the open sea, doomed. The final chapter gripped me tight as I waited for the impossible to occur. But can all end well that starts badly?

Dunham’s writing has improved. Pushing the envelope in children’s literature while taking kids—and adults—into an unforgiving medieval world, where princes dress like commoners and heroes are villains, each book of The Luck Uglies series amazingly can stand on its own. Fork-Tongue Charmers belts readers into the first car of a roller-coaster ride with intriguing, often eccentric, characters with unlikely stories belted in behind them. The lure of impressive and imaginative writing made me a loyal fan who believes in Dunham’s brilliant creativity. If his writing continues to improve, as I suspect it will, book 3 (as yet un-named), will shoot readers into the stratosphere of kidlit, glad to remain there as long as Dunham will have us.

Silvermas Mud Sleigh

Silvermas Mud Sleigh

FORK-TONGUE CHARMERS (LUCK UGLIES, BOOK #2). Text copyright © 2015 by Paul Durham. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Pétur Antonsson. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

Purchase Fork-Tongue Charmers at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHarperCollins C. B.

Learn more about Fork-Tongue Charmers HERE.
Meet the author, Paul Durham, at his website:  http://www.pauldurhambooks.com/
Meet the illustrator, Pétur Antonsson, at his website:  http://paacart.tumblr.com/
Find more middle grade novels at the HarperCollins Children’s Books website:  http://www.harpercollins.com/

HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Review word count = 661

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews.

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Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: action-adventure, eccentric characters, fantasy, Fork-Tongue Charmers, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Publishers, Luck Uglies #2, magic, Paul Dunham, Pétur Antonsson, spell-binding

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13. #689 – Dress Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy

CBW-email-childrens_2015

 

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Dress Me!

Written by Sarah Frances Hardy
Illustrated by Sarah Frances Hardy
Sky Pony Press           5/05/2015
978-1-63220-823-3
20 pages               Age 3—7
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“This little girl can be a lawyer, doctor, superhero, or plumber. She can be graceful, creative, brave, caring, silly, and even scary. She can wear braids or glasses, a crown or a beret. There are infinite, limitless possibilities, and this little girl gets to choose who and what she wants to be. And there’s always the option for her to be ‘just me.’ From the author/illustrator of Paint Me! comes a delightful, imaginative story about a little girl with some incredible aspirations.” [book jacket]

Review
The nameless young girl, along with her loyal puppy, take readers through part of their day as they move from room-to-room, outfit-to-outfit, and activity-to-activity. They start their day deciding what to wear. Deciding to start with some exercise, the girl pulls down her pink tutu, matching top, a violet sash, and . . . wait, what about her feet? No worries, pup has fetched the girl’s pink ballet slippers, dutifully waiting for his friend to slip them on her feet. With a high twirl and a long leap the pair dance, never out of step. The young girl and her dog take on a gamut of outfits (tutu, smock, scrubs, dresses, and masks), and identities (artist, teacher, lawyer, diva, builder, or plumber), as they dance, paint, fly through the air, and take lunch orders.

Dress Me! interior 1pass JAM_page19_image17

Older children have books such as WIGU Publishing’s When I Grow Up I Want to be a . . . series to help them decide what they might like to become. Dress Me does the same for younger children, in terms they y understand. More than that, Dress Me is about being yourself while enjoying who you are, right now. The illustrations tell the majority of the story. I like that Dress Me leaves much of the narration to the reader—or he young listener. While the young girl teaches a couch full of attentive stuffed animals (and one real puppy), the text reads,

“Teacher me.”

I like that kids can decide why the girl is teaching, what she is teaching, and to whom she, dong a great job of blending in to the scene. Pup does the same in this scene. Dress Me will appeal to young girls more than boys, even though Hardy includes male-oriented careers and activities boys enjoy. The illustrations are delightful. Each spread is loaded with detail, adding continuity by carrying items from one spread to the next. For example, the puppy pulls a blue-striped tie from the laundry basket. In the next image he wears the tie while pretending to be in court, on the wrong side of the young girl’s law. She has pushed a pair of glasses atop her head while waitressing and worn correctly as a teacher.

Dress Me is the perfect book for preschoolers beginning to self-explore their world and their place in it. Parents will appreciate the creativity Dress Me can inspire in young girls, who will begin to think out of their prescribed female roles. More importantly, Dress Me encourages young girls to enthusiastically be themselves.

Dress Me! interior 1pass JAM_page19_image14

A final note: the illustrations are the best yet from Hardy who improves with each book. Dress Me! is Hardy’s third book. Her others are Paint Me! and Puzzled by Pink (reviewed HERE).

DRESS ME! Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Sarah Frances Hardy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sky Pony Press, New York, NY.

Purchase Dress Me! at AmazonBook DepositorySky Pony Press.

Learn more about Dress Me! HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Sarah Frances Hardy:
Website:  http://www.sfhardy.com/
Blog:  http://sfhardy.blogspot.com/
Facebook:  http://bit.ly/SarahFrancesHardyFacebook
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sfhardy2
Find more picture books at the Sky Pony Press website:  http://www.skyponypress.com/

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing

Also by Sarah Frances Hardy

Paint Me!

Paint Me!

Puzzled by Pink

Puzzled by Pink

 

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Review word count = 455

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews.

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Filed under: 4stars, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: aspirations, be yourself, Dress Me!, enjoy being yourself, inspiration, little girls books, make-believe, puppies, Sarah Frances Hardy, self esteem, Sky Pony Press

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14. Image Reveal: BUTTERFLY PARK by Award-Winning Author/Illustrator Elly MacKay and GIVEAWAY!

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Coming May 26th, from Running Press Kids:
Butterfly Park
by Award-Winning Author/Illustrator Elly MacKay

Running Press Kids is teaming up with select blogs to promote a very special picture book artist, Elly MacKay. Elly MacKay creates paper worlds inside a miniature lightbox theater, and turns those worlds into picture books. The images in her upcoming picture book, BUTTERFLY PARK, are nothing short of breathtaking. Let others know about Elly MacKay and her tour @Twitter: #ButterflyTrail

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“Once there was a girl who loved butterflies. And when she moved to a new town, she felt lucky to find a place nearby called Butterfly Park! But when she opened the gate, there were no butterflies to be found.

“The girl tried to catch some butterflies and asked neighborhood children to help bring them to Butterfly Park. But to their disappointment, the butterflies didn’t stay. As the entire town got involved, they finally realized what they needed to do. Together, the girl and her community planted flowers in Butterfly Park, and in time, the butterflies came.” [publisher]

Running Press Kids has put together a special illustration tour, each Tuesday, leading up to the late May release date of Butterfly Park. Why an illustration tour, and not a “normal” book tour? MacKay used her acclaimed paper-cut artwork, giving each spread a 3-dimensional look. While knocking on neighbors’ doors, looking for help, the kids look like they could dance right off the page. Paper-cut art must be a tedious labor of love. The result is a magnificent picture book, with a final 4-page spread worthy of framing. The book jacket is also a poster of flowers that entice butterflies. To WIN YOUR OWN COPY of Butterfly Park, all it takes is a comment. Winner announced on Monday, May 11th.

Well, this is an image reveal, so here it is, the left half of spread number ten:

 

It took them up and down through the town. Curiosity grew. Windows and doors began to open.

It took them up and down through the town.
Curiosity grew. Windows and doors began to open.

“Centered on the park’s elaborate art nouveau gateway, MacKay’s lyrical paper collage and diorama constructs feature layered details and out-of-focus backgrounds for a sense of depth. Brightly patterned butterflies, delicate flowers, and human figures pose like gracefully off-balance dancers…. Worthy of theme and equally pleasing to the eye and the spirit.”
~~Kirkus Reviews

“MacKay’s artwork recreates the feel and pleasure of Edwardian-era illustration, and lovers of picture book fantasy will embrace it.”
~~Publishers Weekly

Butterfly Park
Written and Illustrated by Elly MacKay
Published by Running Press Kids
978-0-7624-5339-9
May 26, 2015
38 pages             Age 3 +

Also by Elly MacKay

If You Hold a Seed

If You Hold a Seed

Shadow Chasers

Shadow Chasers

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..AWARDS

If You Hold a Seed

2014 Blue Spruce™ Award Nominee – Ontario Library Association
2013 Best Bets Top 10 Picture Books – Ontario Library Association
2013 Best Books List (preschool—early elementary) – Atlanta Parent Magazine

Shadow Chasers

2014 Best Books of the Year (children—teens) – Amazon Canada

About Elly MacKay
Elly MacKay is the author and illustrator of If You Hold a Seed and Shadow Chasers. She attends Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and now her artwork is sold around the world, including her Etsy.com shop, Theater Clouds.

Website: http://ellymackay.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/theaterclouds
Twitter: @TheaterClouds

Here is the schedule for Ms. MacKay’s tour:

Butterfly Trail Blog Tour Page

4/07  The Unconventional Librarian  http://bit.ly/TheUnconventionalLibrarian

4/14  The Geo Librarian   http://bit.ly/TheGeoLibrarian

4/21  Mom Read It   http://bit.ly/MomReadIt

4/28  Mother Daughter Book Reviews  http://bit.ly/MotherDaughterBookReviews

5/05  Kid Lit Reviews   ♥ YOU ARE HERE

5/12  Unleashing Readers     http://bit.ly/UnleashingReaders

5/19  The Childrens Book Review  http://bit.ly/TheChildrensBookReview

5/26  RELEASE DAY!  Click to purchase Butterfly Park early 

 

Pass this post on. Help Award-Winning-Author Elly MacKay get the word out about Butterfly Park:  TWEET:  #ButterflyTrail

 

 

Running Press is a member of the Perseus Books Group.

 

Twitter:  @rp_kids


Filed under: Book Blast, Children's Books, Contests-Giveaways, Illustrator Spotlight, Picture Book Tagged: adjusting to a move, butterflies, Butterfly Park, community, flowers, friendship, Perseus Books Group, Rlly MacKay, Running Press Kids

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15. #688 – The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham & Pétur Antonsson

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The Luck Uglies

Written by Paul Durham
Illustrated by Pétur Antonsson
HarperCollins Children’s Books      4/29/2014
978-0-06-227150-1
390 pages                    Age 8—13
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“Rye O’Chanter has seen a lot of strange things happen in Village Drowning: children are chased through the streets. Families are fined for breaking laws that don’t even exist. Girls aren’t allowed to read anymore, and certain books—books that hold secrets about Drowning’s past—have been outlawed altogether.

“Now a terrifying encounter has eleven-year-old Rye convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Before the monsters disappeared, there was only one way to defeat them—the Luck Uglies. But the Luck Uglies have long since been exiled, and there’s nobody left who can protect the village.

“As Rye dives into Downing’s treacherous maze of streets, rules, and lies, she begins to question everything she’s been told about the village’s legend of outlaws and beasts . . . and what she’ll discover is that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.” [book jacket]

Review
The protagonist—in a story filled with creative, well-developed, essential characters—is eleven-year-old Rye O’Chanter. Rye and younger sister, Lottie, live with their mother, Abby, and Nightshade Fur Bottom O’Chanter (nickname: Shady), the family pet, on Mud Puddle Lane. Muddle Puddle Lane runs close to the salty Bog, which lies near Beyond the Shale (a forest few would dare enter). Rye’s best friend, Quinn Quartermast, and his widowed, blacksmith father, also live on Mud Puddle Lane.

PT2 7 MAP BASED ON AUTHORS CONCEPT WALL

At the opposite edge of town, again beyond the protective village walls, is the River Drowning and, on its coast, The Shambles, an area so lawless, corrupt, and dangerous that even the Earl, his soldiers, and his constable (Boil “the enforcer”), are afraid of its inhabitants and frequently inebriated guests. Rye’s other best friend, Folly Flood, lives here, in The Dead Fish Inn, with her parents and nine older brothers (the toughest men/boys in Village Drowning—toughest of the tough being the conjoined twins).

Now here’s an oxymoron to make this story exciting and relatable. These three kids are good kids.

They listen to their parents—except when they sneak out, use Abby O’Chanter’s (no longer) secret room, or travel by rooftop.

Each obeys the Laws of Longchance—except when running from soldiers, Quinn teaches Rye how to read, or, together, they read a precious (and stolen), banned book.

And, the kids stay put, when told not to stray—so many examples.

Rye O'Chanter

Rye O’Chanter

Last week I mentioned that there was one more middle grade novel that was a WOW! The Luck Uglies is that wow novel. The story cannot be put down. It’s as if the pages turn on their own, keeping you captive, though a willing captive. Rye, Folly, and Quinn are a terrific threesome. They are smart. They are heroes. They are flawed. Rye’s father, Harmless, plays a major role in the magical-action-adventure story, (he is High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies), but not without Rye close by. Rye has her friends, no matter the danger. The Luck Uglies is one of those rare books whose story and characters stick with you long after the back cover closes.

I love the names of people and places. Each—possibly only in my mind—is somehow appropriate. The Village Drowning is always drowning in the Laws of Longchance, fearful of a Bog Noblin or Luck Ugly return, or literally in the River Drowning.  Earl Longchance has a long chance in deed of ever coming out of this story smelling like a rose.

The O’Chanter family live by a code called House Rules.
003_Shady -- make sure they are credited to Pétur Antonson.

House Rule #2:
“He may run and he may hide, but Shady must never go outside.”

This refers to Shady, the family pet. It was imperative that Shady not go outside unless with someone. Why? You will love the answer.

This refers to Shady, the family pet. It was imperative that Shady not go outside unless with someone. Why?   You will love the answer. Another animal, a monkey named Shortstraw, is in the habit of reaching for what it wants. Shortstraw wants Mona Monster,  Lottie’s pink hobgoblin doll. Lottie and Mona are inseparable, so when Shortstick makes a move for Mona, Lottie is right there ready to save her.  Swearing occurs on occasion, especially from the smallest mouth in the house. Little Lottie breaks up the intense action with her comedic action words—nothing for parents to fret.
015_LottieTugofWar

The biggest problem in Village Drowning is Earl Morningwig Longchance. When his father was still alive and ruling, monsters called Bog Noblins were terrifying the village and the village soldiers could not defeat them. The father made a pact—in blood—with the only group capable of defeating the Bog Noblins. This group, a secret society many called criminals, villains, and outlaws (mainly because they were) defeated the Bog Noblins, but not before the father died, passing his authority on to his son, Morningwig. Not a single Bog Noblin has been seen or has terrorized Village Drowning since, yet Earl Morningwig Longchance promptly ignored the blood pact, branded the group outlaws, and banished them from Village Drowning. That group is the infamous Luck Uglies, now disbanded throughout the shale and beyond.

The narcissistic Earl also decreed the Laws of Longchance—keeping villagers poor and the Earl rich. He is an oppressive ruler (women and girls may not learn to read or write, among other things), and the father of one spoilt daughter and one blind, banished, son. Truth be told, Earl Longchance is nothing more than a bully who remains in the safety of Constable Boil’s shadow.

The gigantic, hairy monster Bog Noblins were said to eat inattentive villagers, especially the delicious children, and then make necklaces strung with the feet of their feast. The villagers, believe Bog Noblins are now extinct—are they?—and nothing more than a joke to the secure villagers.

“What has bad breath, one eye, and likes to eat children?
“A Bog Noblin with a stick in its eye.” 

Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Pétur Antonsson.

Can you guess what happens next? Yep, a malnourished baby Bog Noblin (Leatherleaf), returns to the village. Rye encounters it first, but escapes unharmed. She also finally meets her father, Harmless, the High . . . the once High Chieftain of the Luck Uglies. Earl Longchance puts the entire village in extreme danger when he captures Leatherneck, to pretentiously show-off his ability to protect the people. When Leatherleaf’s family—three, larger than Leatherleaf, Bog Noblins, with attitudes—demand their kin be returned, Longchance refuses. What happens next is much too exciting to explain. My fingers could not type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.

The Luck Uglies is about family and community working together. The line between right and wrong blurs, which might concern parents, but this mirrors real life. No one is all good or all bad. I loved all the intense action, the unexpected surprises, the exciting twists I didn’t see coming, and the end that never completely arrives.

Durham is an awesome writer who knows how to spin an intriguing tale with intelligent humor and characters so believable the reader will immediately relate to them. The world he has built is at once believable and fantastical. Is there anything to complain about The Luck Uglies? I have not found anything. Maybe in Book #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers, but I am not expecting anything to ruin this delicious, not-to-be missed trilogy.

I did mention that The Luck Uglies is a series? Thank your lucky stars. The Luck Uglies series is the one, and only series* that kids who enjoy action and adventure, monsters and mayhem, plus a little bit of magic, should devour this year and every year, until the trilogy unfortunately ends.

THE LUCK UGLIES. Text copyright © 2014 by Paul Durham. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Pétur Antonsson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books, New York, NY.

Purchase The Luck Uglies at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesHarperCollins C. B.

Learn more about The Luck Uglies HERE.
Meet the author, Paul Durham, at his website:  http://pauldurhambooks.tumblr.com/

Cybils Interview with author Paul Durham click HERE.

Meet the illustrator, Pétur Antonsson, at his website:  http://paacart.tumblr.com/
Author Paul Durham Interviews Pétur Antonsson click PART#1   PART#2    PART#3

Find more middle grade novels at te HarperCollins Children’s Books website:  http://www.harpercollins.com/

HarperCollins Children’s Books is a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

*The Guardian Herd Series by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez

AWARDS
Booklist’s Top 10 First Novels for Youth for 2014

BOOK #2

The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers

The Luck Uglies #2: Fork-Tongue Charmers

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Review word count = 950 (Oops! Honest, I did cut . . . and cut . . .)

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. 

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Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: action-adventure-fantasy, debut, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins Publisher, humorous, magical, Paul Durham, Pétur Antonsson, The Luck Uglies, The Village Drowning, trilogy hard to beat. Forked-Tongued Charmers

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16. #687 – The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin Newman & Deborah Zemke

Quick note: Not surprisingly, the motherboard died one last time, just days after arriving home from its last death. I am at the library and running out of time. Please excuse the unfinished post. I will get all images and links up as son as I can. I hope you enjoy the review, such as it is. ~Sue
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The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
Written by Robin Newman
Illustrated by Deborah Zemke
Creston Books          2015
978-1-939547-17-0
40 pages            Age 7—9
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“When food goes missing on Ed’s farm, Detectives Wilcox and Griswold do what it takes to track down the thieves. In this case, Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake has disappeared. Has it been stolen? Or eaten? Or both? Who dunnit?” [publisher]

Review
Oh, my, a carrot cake has gone missing and Miss Rabbit, besides being crumbed by cake from head to toe (she did bake the now missing carrot cake), is hopping mad. Good thing the MFI’s are on the case, with Captain Griswold and Detective Wilcox as lead investigators. These two small Missing Food Investigator mice may have experience, but the layered Case of the Missing Carrot Cake just might be unsolvable.

I know detectives do not want to be viewed as cute, but cute is an apt word. From their gruff-looking MFI badge pictures, to their droll 1950’s cop-speech—think Friday of Dragnet—Griswold and Wilcox are all business, but adorable. The two made me laugh each time they spoke. Kids may not know who Sargent Friday was, but if a parent were to channel Sargent Friday while reading Detective Wilcox’s story, their children will at least get part of the joke.

“It was 10:00 Monday morning. The captain and I were working the day shift when we got our first call . . . Every day food goes missing from the farm. Sometimes it’s lost. Sometimes it’s stolen. Sometimes it just runs away.”

The first four chapters introduce the usual suspects: Fowler, the Owl (Alibi. He was picking up his dinner in the field); Porcini, the Pig (a convicted corn robber, he was with Miss Rabbit—she refused a refreshing hot cup of slop); Hot Dog, a dog (evidence is found! Hot Dog is, according to Wilcox, “in as pickle”); and . . . uh, oh. Where did suspect number four hide? I know there is a fourth, but, unlike Detective Wilcox, I am no missing food investigator.

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake will delight readers. Kids will love the goofy characters, the illustrations, and the oft-used humor. Adults will also laugh, and sometimes groan, but always appreciate the humor and Wilcox’s Dragnet performance.

“Just give us the facts and nothing but the facts . . . “

The illustrations enhance the story on every page. The short chapters, just right for readers learning to read on their own, and illustrations that make each page come alive, kids will begin viewing reading as entertainment, rather than something one only does in school. Each of the seven characters is well-developed with distinctive personalities. I love Hot Dog, who towers over the detectives, yet gives them all due respect. Twists do occur, so do not get cozy with your solution to this case.

Will the MFI solve The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake? Will the residents of Ed’s Farm ever be safe from bakery thieves? To find out, check out Newman’s debut chapter book. I hope there are more cases to solve. The MFI detectives can delight readers again and again . . . they just need missing food to find.

THE CASE OF THE MISSING CARROT CAKE. Text copyright © 2015 by Robin Newman. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Deborah Zemke. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Creston Books,

Purchase The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake at Amazon—Book Depository—iTunes—Creston Books.

Learn more about The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake HERE.
Meet the author, Robin Newman, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Deborah Zemke, at her website:
Find more chapter books at publisher, Creston Books, website: http://www.crestonbooks.com

Review Section: word count = 473

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Chapter Book, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Reluctant Readers Tagged: beginning to read on your own, book for boys, Creston Books, Deborah Zemke, Dragnet, mystery, Robin Newman, The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake, whimsical, witty

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17. #686 – Dragon and Captain by P. R. Allabach & Lucas Turnbloom – Flashlight Press

I cannot recall so many 6-star reviews in such a short period of time (5 of 7 current titles). I didn’t hand-pick them, it was simply their turn. I hope you have a chance to read each of these books, and any other that might make the list this year. Today, another winner arrives today. Debut author Allabach and award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom blend the picture book with the graphic novel for a unique experience.
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Dragon and Captain

Written by P. R. Allabach
Illustrated by Lucas Turnbloomtop book of 2015 general
Flashlight Press            4/01/2015
978-1-9362613-3-8
32 pages               Age 5—7
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“What is Captain doing in Dragon’s sandbox? He’s moping over his lost ship. Dragon is a boy in a robe and pajamas. Captain is a boy with a three-sided hat. But when they set off on a backyard adventure to find the lost ship, they become . . . DRAGON AND CAPTAIN, FEARLESS EXPLORERS! Together they trek through a dark forest, climb down a cliff, and hike all the way to the sea to outsmart a band of evil pirates! Can dragon and Captain rescue the missing ship . . . before lunch?” [book jacket]

Review
Imagine a picture book partially written as a graphic novel. That image is Dragon and Captain, the story of two little boys who wake up one morning to confront a mystery—where is the Captain’s ship. Did the sea grab hold, dragging it far away, or did something more nefarious occur?

While enjoying his breakfast, a blue-hued Dragon spies a red-haired pirate trespassing in his sandbox. Rushing out, Dragon confronts the intruder,

“Hey, pirate. What are you doing in my sandbox?”
“I’m not a pirate, good sir. I’m the captain of a ship.”
“You look like a pirate.”

Thus begins the wonderfully witty and whimsical, fantasy-filled, backyard adventure. Turnbloom’s graphite, ink, and digitally painted illustrations alternate between the boys’ imagination—told as a comic strip—and their reality—seen in traditional picture book spreads. The process enhances the story with vivid action, and gives the reader direct access to the young boy’s right-brained imagination and creativity.

Bear

Captain and Dragon’s world is void of technology. A crayon drawing, a paper-towel tube, and a toy watch respectively become a map, a telescope, and a compass. What would your imagination do with green bushes, a water sprinkler, and a stone walkway? How would your creativity re-claim the Captain’s ship using only toy sandbox shovels, paper, and a bicycle? Why must the duo sneak past the one-eyed teddy bear? Captain, and his new friend Dragon, trek through a dangerously dark forest and scale a cliff to reach the sea, never leaving the backyard and finding all the above items valuable to their journey.

I love that Dragon and Captain could ignite a child’s innate imagination, sans technology. I love that after reading Dragon and Captain, kids might see their surroundings as an adventure; everyday objects as imaginatively malleable; and reading as exciting and essential. Parents will enjoy reading Dragon and Captain to their children, especially after hearing their cries of,

“I’m bored. There’s nothing to do around here.”

Yes, there is something to do and Dragon and Captain will show the way. Kids will love the brightly colored illustrations by award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom, and the backyard fantasy-adventure, smartly written by debut author Allabach. Dragon and Captain is a terrific book for any “Books for Boys” list, yet girls will love it, too. Aye, matey, this girl adores both the Dragon and the Captain.

DRAGON AND CAPTAIN. Text copyright © 2015 by P. R. Allabach. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lucas Turnbloom. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Flashlight Press, Brooklyn, NY.

Purchase Dragon and Captain at AmazonBook DepositoryFlashlight Press.

Learn more about Dragon and Captain HERE.
Dragon and Captain Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/DragonandCaptain
Meet the author, P. R. Allabach, at his/her website:  http://prallabach.blogspot.com/
Meet the illustrator, Lucas Turnbloom, at his/her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/lucas.turnbloom
Find more picture books at the Flashlight Press website:  http://www.flashlightpress.com/

AWARDS
2015 Literary Classics Seal of Approval

Review Section: word count = 389

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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dragon and captain allabach and turnbloom - flashlight press 2015


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Graphic Novel, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: backyard adventure, creativity, Dragon and Captain, dragons, fantasy-adventure, Flashlight Press, imagination, Lucas Turnbloom, P. R. Allabach, pirates

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18. IT’S BOARD BOOK DAY!

IT’S (still) BOARD BOOK DAY!

Here are three new board books perfect for the littlest hands in your family. Each are made with thick, difficult to tear pages that will clean off everything from baby drool to grape jelly.

From Chronicle Books: Hop, Hop Bunny (A Follow-Along Book), by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin, with illustrations by Neiko Ng.

Hop, Hop Bunny cover

“Bunny is secured to a sturdy ribbon as young readers help them hop through the die-cut holes to explore the garden. Where will she go? What will she see? Warm illustrations and a tactile, interactive adventure teach little ones hand-eye coordination and introduce them to reading fun.” [publisher]

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.

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Also from Chronicle Books: On My Beach (Felt Finger Puppet Board Books) by Sarah Gillingham, with illustrations by Lorena Siminovich.

On My Beach

“Turn the colorful die-cut pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little crab’s beach so cozy.” [publisher]

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.

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And from yesterday:
From Blue Manatee Press: Black and White Nighty-Night by Sarah Jones.

cover USE

“This unique concept book combines the ever-popular bedtime nursery rhyme with contemporary high-contrast illustrations, specifically designed with babies in mind. The youngest readers and their families will delight in the gentle story of an owl-saying goodnight to barnyard friends as they snuggle into bed. Bold black-and-white illustrations will capture babies’ interest, as the soothing rhymes lull them to sleep.”

Continue reading for review and a spread . . . HERE.
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved


Filed under: Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series Tagged: Betty Schwartz, Black and White Nighty-Night, Blue Manatee Press, Chronicle Books, Hop, Hop Bunny (A Follow-Along Book), Lorena Siminovich, Lynn Seresin, Neiko Ng, On My Beach (Felt Finger Puppet Board Books), Sarah Gillingham, Sarah Jones

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19. #673 – Nickerbacher by Terry Jon Barto & Kim Sponaugle

nickerbacherx

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Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon

Written by Terry John Barto
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle
AuthorHouse                 3/23/2015
978-1-4969-5454-1
34 pages             Age 5—8
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“Nickerbacher is a sweet-tempered, bushy-browed beast who spends his days guarding Princess Gwendolyn and dreaming of being a stand-up comic—not exactly a profession for a dragon! He’s true to his duty as dragon—as dictated by his Papa—but wants only to make the world laugh. Gwendolyn is supportive and encouraging, telling his he needs to do what makes him happy. It isn’t until the dashing Prince Happenstance comes along, ready for a fight, that they realize that instead of battling each other, they should do what’s in their hearts and pursue their true desires (the Prince wants to e a baseball pitchwer). With a winning set at The Comedy Castle and his family’s newfound support and pride, it’s all laughter, happiness, and dreams come true for the good-natured dragon!” [press release]
Review
The sign by Nickerbacher’s station below Princess Gwendolyn’s tower window states,

“BEWARE OF DRAGON”

Maybe at one time, but Nickerbacher is no threat to any Prince or enemy. The softhearted dragon loves the princess, but he would rather be doing something else—telling jokes—on stage, on the road, or just about any place he might land. Nickerbacher’s papa is not one for tomfoolery. The gigantic orange and red-spotted dragon strictly obeys one commandment,

“Every dragon has a duty to guard princesses.”

4yt

Nickerbacher is to be no exception and quickly stands guard—fearfully—whenever Papa checks up on him. Poor Nickerbacher, he tries to explain, but Papa will not budge. Nickerbacher may display his angst but will not disobey Papa. Kids will feel for him, but they will identify more with Prince Happenstance, who would rather be a baseball pitcher than a knight. (Did baseball exist at the time of knights and dragons?) The story is cute and the illustrations are captivating, nicely enhancing Barto’s story. I love the spread where Prince Happenstance flips a coin, which bounces off Nickerbacher’s nose.

Though he looks young for a knight (maybe eleven or twelve), Prince Happenstance is a tad full of himself, which fits his knightly role. Once the prince decides to follow his dream his attitudes takes a major shift. Nickerbacher’s family finally accepts his true self, encouraging him to pursue his comedic dreams. The story does not end there. We see Nickerbacher signing his book How to be Funny with modern appearing people waiting in a long line for his signature. Nickerbacher no longer looks like a dragon as he dons a red hat and an Hawaiian-styled shirt.

5yt

Being a tad fussy,]]] I notice out-of-place details: baseball, Hawaiian shirts, and modern looking people in the era of knights and dragons. I doubt kids will care and may appreciate the reference to a game most have played. Those details side, Nickerbacher is a good story about standing up for your true self. Barto gets his message across without hammering them by using kid humor. It is a shame the book is in paperback (eBook is available). Kids may well wear out the pages with repeat readings. They will love the goofy jokes. Parents who like read using different voices will have loads of fun with Nickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon. Barto’s first foray into children’s book was Gollywood (review here).

NICKERBACHER. Text copyright © 2015 by Terry John Barto. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Kim Sponaugle. Reproduced by permission of the AuthorHouse, Bloomington, IN.

Purchase Nickerbacher at AmazonBook DepositoryAuthorHouse.

Learn more about Nickerbacher HERE.

Book’s website:  http://www.nickerbacher.com/
Meet the author, Terry John Barto, at his website:  http://www.tjbkids.com/
Meet the illustrator, Kim Sponaugle, at her website:  http://www.picturekitchenstudio.com/
Find more picture books at the AuthorHouse website:  http://www.authorhouse.com/

AWARDS
2015 Beverly Hills Book Awards Finalist: Picture Books
Mom’s Choice Award Gold

 Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

nickerbacher by Barto - authorhouse 2015


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: AuthorHouse, baseeball, be yourself, comedy, dragons, follow your dreams, Kim Sponaugle, Nickerbacher, Terry John Barto, the Funniest Dragon

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20. #685 – Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

9781623701703x
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Juneteenth for Mazie

Written by Floyd Cooper
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Capstone Young Readers 2/01/2015
978-1-62370-170-3
40 pages Age 6—9
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“Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history—the day her ancestors were no onger slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth. This beautiful story by award-winning author and illustrator Floyd Cooper will captivate both children and adults.”

Review
Juneteenth for Mazie made me think. I read it, slowly, three times, enjoying the story more with each read. Being a children’s historical fiction and a diversity book makes Juneteenth for Mazie a picture book that deserves more than a quick glance. Young Mazie is not having one of her better days. She wants to play outside, but it is too late in the day; and eat a cookie, but it is nearly bedtime; and stay up late, but she is too young. Dad asks why his “Sugar Bear” is grumpy.

9781623701703_int4

“I can’t go where I want, have what I want, or do what I want.”

Tomorrow, Dad tells his daughter, is a day of celebrating—Juneteenth. Though not understanding, Mazie’s above frustrations mirror those of her not-so-distant relatives. What is Juneteenth? How is it rooted in early American history? Juneteenth is a celebration, much like the Fourth of July or Independence Day. In fact, another name for this celebration is Juneteenth Independence Day. Most of us know this day as Emancipation Day; some as Freedom Day. On the final page, author/illustrator Floyd Cooper explains what happened.¹

150-years-ago this year, Mazie’s fictional Great, Great, Great Grandpa Mose became a free man. Dad relates Grandpa Mose’s life beginning with working long days in cotton fields as a slave—all the time thinking of and praying for freedom and a better life—to running for the northern United States and freedom, where life would be difficult but his own; to the day Mose’s first heard President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and then celebrating the first Juneteenth. The newly free never forgot the huge significance of that day, even as they continued to struggle with inequality. My favorite sentences are these:

“They learned and grew . . .
“They forgave . . .
“They excelled and accomplished . . .
“They became heroes . . .”

The brown and yellow oil painting illustrations are wonderful, but I do not like the grainy-look (more pronounced in print). Cooper’s technique does give the spreads the look and feel of a time long ago that has aged, but never lost its details, despite repeat readings. 

9781623701703_int6

Rooted firmly in history, Juneteenth for Mazie relates the most important details in kid-friendly language. Cooper, while forgoing chunks of detail, keeps the story and history lesson interesting, thoughtful, and accessible to young children. His writing style and story will engage kids in history more than any textbook ever could. Teachers should find no trouble integrating Juneteenth for Mazie into their lesson plans. Juneteenth for Mazie is both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

A side note: 2015 marks not only the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, but also the 50th anniversary of the the Voting Rights Act of 1965.²

JUNETEENTH FOR MAZIE. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Floyd Cooper. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Juneteenth for Mazie at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesCapstone.

Learn more about Juneteenth for Mazie HERE.
Meet award-winning author/illustrator, Floyd Cooper, at his website:  http://www.floydcooper.com/
Find more nonfiction/ historical fiction picture books at the Capstone website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Young Readers is a Capstone imprint.

Review Section: word count = 401³

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
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¹“On June 19, 1865, soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery in the United States. It was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Celebrated every year on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of African-American citizens throughout the United States.”

²Thanks to Capstone for mentioning the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the Juneteenth for Mazie press release.

³Trying to keep the review portion between a 400—600 word count. Hoping that by noting this, it will keep me focused on this goal. Chide me if I miss this range (unless it is a “great review,” of course :))

FTC - Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper – Capstone 2015


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Picture Book Tagged: abolition, Black History Month, Capstone, Capstone Young Readers, celebrations, emancipation proclamation, Floyd Cooper, Freedom Day, Juneteenth for Mazie, Juneteenth Independence Day, President Lincoln, slavery

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21. #682 – Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper

9781623701703x
x
Juneteenth for Mazie

Written by Floyd Cooper
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Capstone Young Readers 2/01/2015
978-1-62370-170-3
40 pages Age 6—9
x
x
“Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history—the day her ancestors were no onger slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth. This beautiful story by award-winning author and illustrator Floyd Cooper will captivate both children and adults.”

Review
Juneteenth for Mazie made me think. I read it, slowly, three times, enjoying the story more with each read. Being a children’s historical fiction and a diversity book makes Juneteenth for Mazie a picture book that deserves more than a quick glance. Young Mazie is not having one of her better days. She wants to play outside, but it is too late in the day; and eat a cookie, but it is nearly bedtime; and stay up late, but she is too young. Dad asks why his “Sugar Bear” is grumpy.

9781623701703_int4

“I can’t go where I want, have what I want, or do what I want.”

Tomorrow, Dad tells his daughter, is a day of celebrating—Juneteenth. Though not understanding, Mazie’s above frustrations mirror those of her not-so-distant relatives. What is Juneteenth? How is it rooted in early American history? Juneteenth is a celebration, much like the Fourth of July or Independence Day. In fact, another name for this celebration is Juneteenth Independence Day. Most of us know this day as Emancipation Day; some as Freedom Day. On the final page, author/illustrator Floyd Cooper explains what happened.¹

150-years-ago this year, Mazie’s fictional Great, Great, Great Grandpa Mose became a free man. Dad relates Grandpa Mose’s life beginning with working long days in cotton fields as a slave—all the time thinking of and praying for freedom and a better life—to running for the northern United States and freedom, where life would be difficult but his own; to the day Mose’s first heard President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and then celebrating the first Juneteenth. The newly free never forgot the huge significance of that day, even as they continued to struggle with inequality. My favorite sentences are these:

“They learned and grew . . .
“They forgave . . .
“They excelled and accomplished . . .
“They became heroes . . .”

The brown and yellow oil painting illustrations are wonderful, but I do not like the grainy-look (more pronounced in print). Cooper’s technique does give the spreads the look and feel of a time long ago that has aged, but never lost its details, despite repeat readings. 

9781623701703_int6

Rooted firmly in history, Juneteenth for Mazie relates the most important details in kid-friendly language. Cooper, while forgoing chunks of detail, keeps the story and history lesson interesting, thoughtful, and accessible to young children. His writing style and story will engage kids in history more than any textbook ever could. Teachers should find no trouble integrating Juneteenth for Mazie into their lesson plans. Juneteenth for Mazie is both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

A side note: 2015 marks not only the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, but also the 50th anniversary of the the Voting Rights Act of 1965.²

JUNETEENTH FOR MAZIE. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Floyd Cooper. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Juneteenth for Mazie at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesCapstone.

Learn more about Juneteenth for Mazie HERE.
Meet award-winning author/illustrator, Floyd Cooper, at his website:  http://www.floydcooper.com/
Find more nonfiction/ historical fiction picture books at the Capstone website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Young Readers is a Capstone imprint.

Review Section: word count = 401³

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
x
¹“On June 19, 1865, soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, announcing the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery in the United States. It was more than two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Celebrated every year on June 19, Juneteenth commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of African-American citizens throughout the United States.”

²Thanks to Capstone for mentioning the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in the Juneteenth for Mazie press release.

³Trying to keep the review portion between a 400—600 word count. Hoping that by noting this, it will keep me focused on this goal. Chide me if I miss this range (unless it is a “great review,” of course :))

FTC - Juneteenth for Mazie by Floyd Cooper – Capstone 2015


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Picture Book Tagged: abolition, Black History Month, Capstone, Capstone Young Readers, celebrations, emancipation proclamation, Floyd Cooper, Freedom Day, Juneteenth for Mazie, Juneteenth Independence Day, President Lincoln, slavery

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22. To Attack the Stack . . .

To Attack the Stack . . .

puppy stack booksMonths of health problems, of which rehabilitation and recovery have finally begun—”YEAH!”—a knee  injury, and now gout in the large (large and red) knuckle of my big toe—yep, all on the same leg—(conservatively) stopped 130 book reviews, not that the current TBR stack has anywhere near that number of books.

kids-sitting-on-booksNeeding—wanting—to get these books to local school kids, honor my commitments to several wonderful publicity/marketing directors, and give myself a smidge of breathing room, most non-publisher review and tour requests—meaning predominantly self-published authors—have been turned down or asked to request again at a later date. This means not helping deserving writers, and robbing my loyal readers—yes, you—of some excellent stories from these creative, on-their-own writers. Even though reviews are Robot_Dog-33currently free, I feel increasing guilt with each “request denied” reply written.

That said, whenever themes emerge or similar genres can be grouped, one post may contain two or, less often (except the next post), three reviews. My lower word count* goal is still my goal. The shared post, really a summary of my thoughts, will not devalue any title’s review simply because it must share the
stars. Each title will have its own post and you can choose which complete review(s) to read.

I hope you will also choose to leave your own thoughts, opinions, and humorously crazy comments. puppy pencilEach one is much appreciated, read, and will receive a reply. Mr. This-Kid-Reviews-Books is fantastic at replying that same day (a goal I cannot seem to reach), but honestly, each comment is read and I promise, each will receive a reply . . . though not at the speed of James Patterson’s pen.

Therefore, please, I beg you, er, don’t make me beg!? Leave your legacy! Write thy witty words. Post perplexing prose. Rooaar, hisssss, or SNAP if dis-grrrrunt-tled. Like everyone who writes, I wait with baited breath for your comments; your review of my work; your words of wisdom; your ona . . . onomate . . . onomatopeaa . . . onomatopoeia.

Tank you and take care,

concentradoestudiosox

Sue

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(Dang it! I know, this salutation needs twicked; dare I admit, needin you’re assistance. Many of you wonderfully loyal and precise, uh, preshous—oh heck, you, reader are a much better writers than I, I meant, me? . . . I? . . . . wee? . . . . . (Ugh, does I need a superhero!)

Cute_Dog_Robot-13Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

*Word count = 392.


Filed under: Guest Post, HELP!, Review Blogs Tagged: appreciation, children's book reviews, commenting, Erik from ThisKidReviewsBooks, Kid Lit Reviews, reviews, Sue Morris, TBR, You the Loyal Reader

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23. #683 – Black & White Nighty-Night by Sarah Jones

cover USEx

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Black & White Nighty-Night

Written by Sarah Jones
Illustrated by Sarah Jonestop book of 2015 general
Blue Manatee Press        4/01/2015
978-1-936669-31-8
12 pages           Age 0—3
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“This unique concept book combines the ever-popular bedtime nursery rhyme with contemporary high-contrast illustrations, specifically designed with babies in mind. The youngest readers and their families will delight in the gentle story of an owl saying goodnight to barnyard friends as they snuggle into bed. Bold black-and-white illustrations will capture babies’ interest, as the soothing rhymes lull them to sleep.” [publisher]

Review
Which word do you use to tell a friend goodnight? Little Owlet has quite the repertoire: nighty-night, sweet dreams, sleep tight, doze, sleep soundly, and, of course, goodnight; six heartfelt bedtime-salutations, for six diurnal farm friends.  After hearing Little Owlet’s goodnights to her critter friends, and before closing their tired eyes and dreaming, young children will be ready to wish their own goodnights, “Nighty-night Mom. Night, Dad.”  

The simple rhymes in Black & White Nighty-Night are perfect for young children, as is the book’s size and shape. The thick and sturdy glossy pages are perfect for chubby little fingers to turn without tearing. Even a wet mess, after a plea of “One more drink, please,” will wipe off quickly. I would mention how fast blobs of fallen jelly and smears of peanut butter clean away, but Black & White Nighty-Night is most definitely a bedtime story.

Black & White Nighty—Night

As stars light the night, Little Owlet stretches her feathery wings and, with mom waving goodbye, flies off into the twinkling night sky. Not far away is the barnyard. Wherever Little Owlet is heading, she takes the time to say nighty-night to her friends.

“Sleep tight hen and chickies, lying in your nest.
“Doze, fluffy kitty cat, purring as you rest.”

The seemingly simply black and white illustrations are adorable. With a little effort and imagination, form meets function (Ms. Jones’ specialty), and a lifelong love of learning and books can take root. Help your child find objects by locating Little Owlet in each spread. Use different voices, such as a hardy “Moooo,” a squeaky “Oink-oink,” and a soft “Meow,” to familiarize your child with common farm animals (a cow, lamb, pig, chicken, cat, and . . . nope, not telling). Get those little fingers learning shapes by tracing the black-and-white outlined objects and animals. And, if all that is not enough, the momma animals have from one to five babies; a good start on counting to ten. Black & White Nighty-Night will be a hit with both toddlers and parents. (Reviewers, too.)

BLACK AND WHITE NIGHTY NIGHT. Text and Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Sarah Jones. Copyright © 2015 by Blue Manatee Press. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Blue Manatee Press, Cincinnati, OH.

Purchase Black & White Nighty-Night at AmazonBook DepositoryIPGBlue Manatee Press.

Learn more about Black & White Nighty-Night HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Sarah Jones, at her website:  http://www.sarahluciajones.com/
Find more creative board books at the Blue Manatee Press website:  http://www.bluemanateepress.com/

Sarah Jones, artist, author, teacher, storyteller, and fellow Ohioan and holds an MFA from the University of Cincinnati and a BFA in Painting and Art Education from Miami University (Ohio). Go Bucks! Ms. Jones also wrote and illustrated the award-winning board books Orange, Triangle, Fox and Bunnies Near and Far (both reviewed HERE) Her second 2015 release, Lloyd Llama, will be reviewed soon.

AWARDS
2015 Mom’s Choice Awards – Black & White Nighty-Night
2015 Mom’s Choice Awards – Lloyd Llama
2014 Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year – Baby Unplugged: Play
2014 Mom’s Choice Awards – Baby Unplugged: Play
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Review Section: word count = 339

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

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Black & White Nighty-Night by Sarah Jones - Blue Manatee Press 2015

 


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Board Book, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: 2015 Mom's Choice Awards, barnyard animals, bedtime books, bedtime nursery rhyme, Black & White Nighty-Night, Blue Manatee Press, learning to count, little owlet, parent-child relationships, Sarah Jones, shapes, white-outlined animals

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24. #685 – On My Beach by Sarah Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich

On My Beachx

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On My Beach

Series: Felt Finger Puppet Board Books
Written by Sarah Gillinghamtop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Lorena Siminovich
Chronicle Books           5/01/2015
978-1-4521-0640
10 pages       7” x 7”      Age 0—2
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“Turn the colorful pages of this irresistible board book to discover just what makes little crab’s beach so cozy. Is it the warm tide pool? Is it the soft sand? No, it’s little crab’s family! Bright pictures, a sweet, reassuring message, and an adorable finger puppet fi this book with reading and playtime fun!” [back cover]

Review
On his beach, Little Crab relates a day of fun activities for readers. Ah, before you turn the cover, turn the book over. In the center of the back cover is an opening—a die-cut circle—waiting for you to bring Little Crab to life! He is actually a finger puppet crab.

“On my beach, I race over sand with my friends,
“I hide between the treasures in the warm tide pool . . . “

Beginning with the first spread, each die-cut opening decreases in size (5” diameter on the cover down to 2 ½” diameter on the next-to-last spread—perfect for the 2” oval Little Crab. The circles might sound bland; they are not. Smooth circles alternate with wavy circles, much like the pattern waves leave as they return to sea. I really love this eye-pleasing, 3-dimensional pattern. I think young children will also like the different textures.

Little Crab decides to race over his beach with his sea creature friends. Helping him navigate the beach puts children into the story. Without them, Little Crab could not navigate his way through the sand and water. Upon reaching his destination, Little Crab enjoys a nap with . . . sorry, only Little Crab can reveal his companions.

On My Beach_int 1

I think young children will enjoy becoming Little Crab and wiggling him through seaweed and splashing the orange crab in a wave pool. One caveat: little hands might find holding the book, while playing with the finger puppet, awkward. On My Beach is a good size for a board book story, with traditionally thick, glossy—difficult to tear, easy to clean—cardboard pages. The 7” x 7” book is a perfect fit for my hands, enabling me to navigate Little Crab through his story while easily turning the pages. Young children might need to adjust—every confidence they will—using problem solving, imagination, and dexterity.

The varying seascapes and critters, rendered in collage, are bright and inviting, working perfectly with the cover. Young children will love the combination of story and an interesting puppet. The stuff that interest young children and their enjoyment of books include a good story, an interesting character, including play, and becoming part of the adventure are all found in On My Beach. The latest title in the (first published in 2009), will entertain young children. From a barn to a pond and patch, the Felt Finger Puppet Board Books series introduces young children to a variety of places and things (see list of titles below).

ON MY BEACH (FELT FINGER PUPPET BOARD BOOKS). Text copyright © 2015 by Sarah Gillingham. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Lorena Siminovich. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase On My Beach at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about On My Beach HERE.
Meet the author, Sarah Gillingham, at her website:  http://www.saragillingham.com/
Meet the illustrator, Lorena Siminovich, at her website:  http://www.lorenasiminovich.com/
Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Felt Finger Puppet Board Books

 In My Barn  978-1-4521-0641-0

In My Barn
978-1-4521-0641-0

In My Den  978-0-8118-7053-5

In My Den
978-0-8118-7053-5

In My Flower  978-0-8118-7339-0

In My Flower
978-0-8118-7339-0

In My Forest  978-0-8118-7566-0

In My Forest
978-0-8118-7566-0

 

 
 
 

 

In My Jungle  978-0-8118-7716-9

In My Jungle
978-0-8118-7716-9

 On My Leaf  978-1-4521-0813-1

On My Leaf
978-1-4521-0813-1

In My Meadow  978-0-8118-7338-3

In My Meadow
978-0-8118-7338-3

In My Nest  978-0-8118-6555-5

In My Nest
978-0-8118-6555-5

 

 

 

 

In My Ocean  978-0-8118-7717-6

In My Ocean
978-0-8118-7717-6

In My Patch  978-0-8118-7567-7

In My Patch
978-0-8118-7567-7

In My Pond  978-0-8118-6556-2

In My Pond
978-0-8118-6556-2

In My Tree  978-0-8118-7052-8

In My Tree
978-0-8118-7052-8

 

 

 

 

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Review Section: word count = 394

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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On My Beach by Sarah Gillingham & Lorena Siminovich - Chronicle Books 2015


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Board Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: Chronicle Books, dexterity, die-cut children’s books, Felt Finger Puppet Board Books Series, imagination, Lorena Siminovich, On My Beach, problem solving, Sarah Gillingham

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25. #684 – Hop, Hop Bunny by Betty Schwartz, Lynn Seresin & Neiko Ng

Hop, Hop Bunny coverx

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Hop, Hop Bunny

Series: Follow-Along Book
Written by Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresintop book of 2015 general
Illustrated by Neiko Ng
Chronicle Books          3/01/2015
978-1-4521-2464-3
10 pages           7″ x 7”          Age 0—2
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“Help bunny hop through the die-cut holes as she explores the garden. Where will she go? How many colors will she see? Warm illustrations and a playful adventure teach little ones hand-eye coordination and introduce them to reading fun. Punch out the piece and follow along!” [back cover]

Review
Before reading and hopping through the die-cut hole, Bunny must be released from his stationary spot on the cover. Adults, this is your first job. All done? Good. Let’s open the book and begin.

“Bunny likes to play in the garden.
“Hop, hip Bunny. Hop between the red flowers.”

Now help your little one help Bunny hop from his home in the tree stump through a garden of red roses—look out for the snail! Bunny continues to explore, hopping up and over rocks, under a green bush, and other garden spots along the way. Bunny never gives away where her journey will lead her, how long the adventure will last, or if she has a goal.

am snap

Not only will children continue developing hand-eye coordination, but they will also learn patience and concentration. To guide Bunny through each bunny-shaped die-cut hole, none of which line up with the hole before or after it, children must first lift the right-side page, then hop Bunny—paws on the ground, please—to her next destination. A sturdy ⅛th inch ribbon, strung through each hole and then embedded into the front and back covers, keeps Bunny from losing her way.

Hop, Hop Bunny’s digital illustrations are colorful and have delightful details. Each spread contains additional critters for children to find, identify, and count. Young children will enjoy the inclusive nature of Hop, Hop Bunny, and its companion Run, Run Piglet . Children will have Bunny repeating her journey until her paws ache and her tummy growls. A terrific activity-story that will increase a child’s interest in books and the many ways they entertain us.

Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin also collaborated on Ten Playful Tigers: A Back-and-Forth Counting Book (reviewed coming soon).

HOP, HOP BUNNY (A FOLLOW-ALONG BOOK). Text copyright © 2015 by Betty Schwartz & Lynn Seresin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Neiko Ng. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Hop, Hop Bunny at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Learn more about Hop, Hop Bunny HERE.
Meet the author, Betty Schwartz, at her website:  
Meet the author, Lynn Seresin, at linkedin:  http://bit.ly/LynnSeresin  
Meet the illustrator, Neiko Ng, at her website:  http://www.neikoart.com/
Find more Board Books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Follow-Along Books

Run, Run Piglet 978-1-4521-2467-4

Run, Run Piglet
978-1-4521-2467-4

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Review Section: word count = 269

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

Hop, Hop Bunny by Betty Schwartz and Lynn Seresin - Neiko Ng -


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series, Top 10 of 2015 Tagged: a follow-along book, activity-story, Betty Schwartz, Chronicle Books, concentration, hand-eye coordination, Hop, Hop Bunny, Lynn Seresin, Neiko Ng, patience

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