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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. #541 – Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub by Darci Pattison & Kitty Harvill

abayomi the brazilian puma.

Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub

by Darci Pattison & Kitty Harvill, illustrator

Mims House           2014

978-1-62944-001-9

Ages 6 to 8       32 pages

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“From the award-winning team that brought you WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, comes a new heart-warming story of an orphaned puma cub. A mother puma, an attempt to steal a chicken, and an angry chicken farmer—the search is on for orphaned cubs. Will the scientists be able to find the cubs before their time runs out?

In this “Biography in Text and Art,” Harvill takes original photos as references to create accurate wildlife illustrations. Pattison’s careful research, vetted by scientists in the field, brings to life this true story of an infant cub that must face a complicated world alone—and find a way to survive.”

Opening

“In the far south, in Brazil, a puma cub was born in the early spring month of October 2012.”

The Story

Brazil, once covered by deep forests, now houses more people in cities and villages. To keep their cars moving more sugar plantations took over much of the remaining forest. Pumas, and other wild animals, must live closer to man and find it more difficult to hunt for food. One night, a female puma spotted some chickens in a farmer’s barn. Their normal diet of armadillos, capybaras, and ring-tailed coatis were getting hard to find. The puma needed to feed her cub and the chickens were easy prey. But she fell victim to a farmer’s trap. Before wildlife officials could get to the farm and safely remove the puma, she died.

Alone, hungry, and no mother to help, her cub had to hunt, but would he know how? Wildlife officials followed the mother puma’s trail trying to find her cubs but came up empty. Twenty-three days after his mom left and never returned, dogs a mile away from home cornered the cub. Dehydration and starvation ravished the cub’s body, stealing the energy he needed to walk. He staggered from place to place. This time wild life officials safely caught the cub, naming him Abayomi, which means happy meeting in the Tupi-Guarni native language. Scientists did what was needed so this little guy could return to the wild. Were they successful?

mom in wildlife officials cage

Review

The team of Darci Pattison and Kitty Harvill have made their second successful wildlife children’s book about a fascinating survivor. The first, Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, garnered starred reviews. Abayomi will undoubtedly do the same. With simple language and thoughtful prose, the story of Abayomi will come to life for schoolchildren, many of whom live in urban areas and have never seen a puma. Though the death of the mother puma was most likely gruesome, Pattison wrote,

“. . . She fought back. Once, she hit her head hard against the side of the cage and was dazed. After hours of struggling, she died.”

The illustrations were just as easy on the subject. You see the puma in a cage and some chickens in a roost, but nothing more. Not one spittle of blood mentioned or seen. Children should not experience nightmares after reading Abayomi. All of the illustrations are soft watercolor renditions of actual locations in this true story, completely vetted by experts. Each image is realistic yet gentle on the eyes. The scrawny cub, shown from the backside, does not noticeably display starvation. The hips are noticeably larger due to a lack of abdominal body fat, yet not so much as to scare even the youngest children.

starving cub

The book concludes with some facts about Abayomi, the Corridor Projects, and urbanization, along with some resources children can look up for more details. Children could write an interesting book report after reading Abayomi the Brazilian Puma. Pattison and Harvill make a splendid team that children, parents, and teachers should not ignore. Conservation and wildlife experts and scientists fact check Pattison’s research. Harvill uses photographs taken on site when painting her illustrations. The pair have made clear choices that make the books assessable to younger children, while still interesting older kids. (Yes, like myself.)

As with Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma should be in school libraries and homeschooling bookshelves that cover wildlife, conservation, or the changing world. As starting points, Abayomi and Wisdom, are great resources for children. While not an expansive missive, these two books will guide students to other resources and further knowledge. The two books also allow younger children to learn about these subjects in a mild, non-scary manner that will peak curiosity, not provoke nightmares.

mom and cub

ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA: THE TRUE STORY OF AN ORPHANED CUB. Text copyright © 2014 by Darci Pattison. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kitty Harvill. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mims House, Little Rock, AK.

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Learn more about Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma HERE.

Get your copy of Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma at AmazonB&NMims Houseask for it at your local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Darci Pattison, at her website:   http://www.darcypattison.com/

Meet the illustrator, Kitty Harvill, at her website:  http://www.kharvillarte.com.br/artist.html

Find more Mims House stories at the publisher’s website:  http://mimshouse.com/

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Also by Darci Pattison

Saucy and Bubba, a Hansel and Gretel Tale

Saucy and Bubba, a Hansel and Gretel Tale

Vagabonds

Vagabonds

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.Also by Kitty Harvill

Up, Up, Up! It’s Apple-Picking Time

Up, Up, Up! It’s Apple-Picking Time

Vida Livre (published in Brazil)

Vida Livre (published in Brazil)

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Also New from Mims House

The Girl, the Gypsy, and the Gargoyle

The Girl, the Gypsy, and the Gargoyle

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abayomi


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: a changing world, Abayomi, Brazil, conservation, Darci Pattison, forest depletion, Kitty Harvill, Mims House, pumas, wildlife, wisdom

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2. #540 – Beneath the Sun by Melissa Stewart & Constance R. Bergum

cover.

Beneath the Sun

by Melissa Stewart & Constance R. Bergum, illustrator

Peachtree Publishers         4/1/2014

978-1-56145-733-5

Age 4 to 8         32 pages

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“When the sun is scorching, you put on sunscreen and run under the sprinkler to stay cool. But how do wild animals survive in the heat? Journey from your neighborhood to a field where an earthworm loops its long body into a ball underground, to a desert where a jackrabbit loses heat through its oversized ears, to a wetland where a siren salamander burrows into the mud, and to a seashore where sea stars hide in the shade of a seaweed mat—and learn of the many ways animals carry on in spite the sun’s sizzling rays.”

Opening

“On the hottest days of the year, the sun rises early. Its bright light shines down on us, hour after hour.”

Review                                                                                                                                                     

Beneath the Sun explains what some of the earth’s creatures do to beat the heat when temperatures rise to unbearable levels. We humans, we get wet. Children enjoy sprinklers, swimming pools, and fire hydrants as three ways to keep cool in the heat of summer day. We also can use sunscreen to avoid burns and air conditioners to keep cool indoors.

Animals are not so lucky. They need to rely on instinctive measures and Mother Nature to survive the blast of the sun’s rays. Divided into four ecosysems, the book gives examples of animals defeating the sun’s effects in a field, on a seashore, in a wetland, and in the desert. For example, in a field, the woodchuck takes advantage of the cooler morning to munch on grass and then beats the heat of the open field’s sunrays by staying in a cool underground cave during the worst of the day’s hot weather. In the wetlands live the osprey. The male osprey stays cool by soaking his feathers in water, and then upon returning to his nest, his children soak the water from his feathers.

desert

The herring gull, who lives on a seashore, fans its wings to protects its young from the sun and then pants like a dog to keep itself cool. Kids will love reading that, as they will the turkey vulture who must protects itself from the treacherous desert sun and harsh heat. It accomplishes this by spraying urine on its legs. The author is good at presenting—in two or three sentences—these odd heat beaters kids will enjoy learning.

The illustrations are realistic, as one would expect in a nature book such as Beneath the Sun. The images take children to each ecosystem with enough detail to be able to turn a page and know where the featured animal lives. The illustrations also frame the animals inside one complete day. Bergum did this by her watercolor end pages. The front depicts the sun rising and the back depicts the cooler end of the day. Returning to children at the end of their day completes a circle of time even the youngest can understand.

Beginning each book with the things children do when it gets too hot and sunny to play outdoors, framing the entire animal kingdom so kids can relate to the other species. The same holds true in When Rain Falls (2008) and Under the Snow (2009),the two former editions of a series comparing children’s activities to those of other species. Similar to At the Same Moment, Around the World (Perrin, Clotilde, 2014), the different environments simultaneously occur during the span of one day, an easy concept children can grasp from this well-written picture book.

.wetland

BENEATH THE SUN. Text copyright © 2014 by Melissa Stewart. Illustrations © 2014 by Constance R. Bergum. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

Learn more about Beneath the Sun HERE.

Purchase Beneath the Sun at AmazonB&NPeachtree Publishersyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Melissa Stewart, at her website:   http://www.melissa-stewart.com/

Meet the illustrator, Constance R. Bergum, at her jacketflap:   http://www.jacketflap.com/constance-rummel-bergum/30188

Find other wonderful books at the Peachtree Publishers website:   http://peachtree-online.com/

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Also by Melissa Stewart & Constance R. Bergum

When Rain Falls

When Rain Falls

Under the Snow

Under the Snow

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New at Peachtree Publishers

Claude at the Beach

Claude at the Beach

 

About Habitats: Forests

About Habitats: Forests

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beneath the sun

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Peachtree Publishers Book Blog Tour

Beneath the Sun

Monday 4/14

Jean Little Library 

Blue Owl

Tuesday 4/15

Geo Librarian

Wednesday 4/16

Kid Lit Reviews

Thursday 4/17

Tolivers to Texas 

Chat with Vera 

Friday 4/18

Sally’s Bookshelf

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Today is NATIONAL BOOKMOBILE DAY!

Support your local Bookmobile.

bookmobile4


Filed under: 5stars, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Series Tagged: blasting heat, children's book reviews, Constance R. Bergum, environments, habitats, Melissa Stewart, nature, Peachtree Publishers, relief from the sun and the heat, the burning sun

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3. #539 – Two Hands to Love You by Diane Adams & Paige Keiser

TWO HANDS TO LOVE YOU.

Two Hands to Love You

by Diane Adams & Paige Keiser, illustrator

Chronicle Books      2014

978-0-8118-7797-8

Age 4 to 8     36 pages

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“With two loving hands, an adoring mother cradles her baby after bath time and a devoted father introduces his toddler to the wonders of he world. Sister, brother, grandma, and grandpa all can’t wait to share what they love best about the world with their newest family member. And when it is time to step ot into the world, this caring family is right there alongside. In simple, heartfelt language, this soothing picture book for the very young will tug at the heartstrings and remind us all of the caring hands that helped us along our way.”

Opening

“When the world is a strange place, unfamiliar and new,

my two hands will hold you, will carry you through.”

The Story

In a nutshell, the story is about a couple who begin a family and the paths they take with their children as they grow and become a family of five—plus two involved grandparents. The first baby is gently cared for, everything new for everyone, not just the baby. As he grows, mom plays outside with her toddler, pulling him in a wagon after an afternoon bath in the sun.

Dad takes over, playing airplane with his son, then cradles the new baby and pledges his love. The first-born cares for the second-born, a girl as curious as her brother. Then the third arrives and the three kids guide and love each other.

Grandparents read to their grandson and blow bubbles for this newest child. The joys of childhood and a mother who races to her crying child. This all is part of this family of five, who love each other.

Review

My loyal readers know what I will write in this space and it will not be that I hated this book. The story is composed of fragments of time, caught like photographs. A mother holds her first-born close, never wanting to let go, but she does. With dad, the toddler continues to grow and this happy family of three thrives. Then enters child number two, a girl. It is daddy’s turn to hold the baby close, his little girl. The images that accompany each frame of time softly plays the scene out for us.

mom

Using watercolors and ink, the artist catches these tender moments, making them precious and tenderer, if that is even possible. Her images could tell this story without the text, which is what a good illustrated picture book should do—words for adults and kids, images for little ones, not yet a reader. I tended to pick up this book and turn its pages carefully, feeling the fragility of family, and the joys of one so close.

Children have real childhoods, playing with each other, guiding each other. Along the way, various hands help the children to grow: mom, dad, grandma and grandpa, and many more not shown.The sweetness is palatable. Two Hands to Love You may well have you thinking about your own little ones, whether they are still little or grown and on their own, maybe starting families. Alternatively, of your own childhood and what that meant to you.

dad

I love the rhyming text. The words fit together perfectly, meaning I did not immediately recognize the rhyme, just the smooth flow of words that belonged together in that precise order. I think this story can help others remember what a family needs to be—a shelter in the storm and a place to learn and grow without ridicule and maybe a little rhyme.

I love the inherent gentleness the illustrations give us. I love the extended family all involved in raising a child. I guess I simply love Two Hands to Love You, which is an ideal baby shower gift. This is also an, “Oh, my, gosh, you’re pregnant” gift. New parents will cherish Two Hands to Love You. It would be the couple’s first, How to Raise Baby book.

For children Two Hands to Love You reinforces that parents will always be there for them, no matter the distance. That home is a shelter from the storm. A place to recharge before heading back into the world. Children want to know their parents will also be there for them. That message rings loudly through the tender pages of Two Hands to Love You.

kids

TWO HANDS TO LOVE YOU. Text copyright © 2014 by Diane Adams. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Paige Keiser. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about Two Hands to Love You, click HERE.

Make Two Hands to Love You yours by going to AmazonB&NChronicle Books—or your local bookstore.

 

Meet the author, Diane Adams at her website:   http://www.dianeadams.net/

Meet the illustrator, Paige Keiser at her website:   http://www.paigekeiser.com/

Find other incredible books at the Chronicle Books website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Paige Keiser

The Little Green Pea

The Little Green Pea

One Night In Bethlehem

One Night In Bethlehem

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. I Love My Hat (October 2014)

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NEW from Chronicle Books

I Didn't Do My Homework Because . . .

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .

 Peek-a Zoo

Peek-a Zoo

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2 hands to love you

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Today is National Library Workers Day

Be extras nice to those who staff your library!


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: children, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Diane Adams, family, family relationships, grandparents, growing up, Paige Keiser, parents, raising children

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4. #538 – Two Little Birds by Mary Newell DePalma

birdcover.

Two Little Birds

by Mary Newell DePalma

Eerdmans BfYR         2/14/2014

978-0-8028-5421-6

Age 4 to 8            32 pages

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“Each little bird has a part in nature’s grand scheme: the earth tilts, the seasons change, and songbirds arrive in new places just as insects hatch, fruits ripen, and flowers bloom. In this story, two plucky young birds launch into their first journey, which proves to be full of challenge, peril, and wonder.”

Opening

“After much effort . . . two little birds emerge from their eggs.”

The Story

Two little birds enter the world and learn to do what little birds like them have always been doing: they eat, they play, and they grew up. Then, seeing a flock of birds heading south, the birds decide to join the journey. They flew farther than they ever had. Home was getting farther away and then a thunderstorm struck. The two little birds tumbled and lost their way. The flock is gone. The two little birds need to find their way to the flock or to home. Can they find their way?

Review

A simple story of nature that is more complex than one might think. The birds leave at night, when all songbirds leave for the migration south. The little birds want to go. Something in them must say it is time. They go, but find the flying is harder than they have ever done, but that they are stronger than they thought. The story of Two Little Birds is about two little song birds, yet, kids can find ways to relate to the little birds. It is time to change schools. The family has moved, or it is time for high school. The child’s confidence is less than normal. The situation is new and they wonder if they can make it in this new place, but then, they find that with a little hard work they can make it, just like the little birds. Relating this story to sports is far easier. A new team, will the child make it? A little harder to play at the newer level, but with some extra effort, a bit more hustle, and keeping their eye on the ball, the child fits in just fine, just like the little birds fit into their society.

nest

The story is also cute, one that young children will enjoy. The birds flew and flew and then tumbled. How many times do young kids tumble? Children will relate to the little birds, who muster on until they found their way, just like children bounce up and keep on going. [Not like an energizer bunny, but the analogy works.] Two Little Birds will make a very good story time or bedtime story, and is perfect for the kindergarten or preschool class.

The illustrations are wonderful. Mostly in blues and pastels, the author/illustrator used a mixed-media collage, which is most evident in the first and second spreads, where the birds lay upon the nest in their eggs or just hatched from them. Knowing this is a collage makes it easier to find those layers, such as the map of South Carolina as the birds tumble from the sky, thanks to lightning and thunder booms. Knowing the artist’s process, methods, or materials makes the illustrations more interesting.

flew and flew

Young children will love the two little birds, who are unnamed—at least until the first reading. I imagine kids will have those two birds named in no time. The beautiful books will catch your eye with these two newborn birds leaving the nest. You can read Two Little Birds multiple times without any loss of enthusiasm, perfect for parents with young children who become hooked on one book for an undetermined amount of time. I hear that includes most every child, so it is a good thing the story is interesting and a nice read aloud.

After Two Little Birds, Ms. DePalma writes a little on the migration of songbirds. She explains that songbirds, orioles in particular, migrate at night from the north to the Yucatan Peninsula, which includes an 18-hour nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico. It is no wonder the two little birds became so tired. Your child and you do not need to make this flight to enjoy the migration. Simply read Two Little Birds.

lost

TWO LITTLE BIRDS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Mary Newell DePalma. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

Learn more about Two Little Birds HERE.

Get your copy of Two Little Birds at AmazonB&NEerdmans BfYRyour local bookstore.

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Meet Mary Newell DePalma at her website:   http://www.marynewelldepalma.com/

Find more books that are fascinating at Eerdmans BfYR website:   http://www.eerdmans.com/YoungReaders/Default.aspx

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

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Also by Mary Newell DePalma

Uh-Oh!

Uh-Oh!

Bow-Wow Wiggle-Waggle

Bow-Wow Wiggle-Waggle

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NEW at Eerdmans BfYR

Jesus

Jesus

Thomas the Toadilly Terrible Bully

Thomas the Toadilly Terrible Bully

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2 little birds


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: bird migration, children's book reviews, Eerdmans BfYR, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, finding your way, growing up, Mary Newell DePalma, songbird migration, songbirds, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

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5. #537 – Don’t Turn the Page by Rachelle Burk & Julie Downing

dear

DROP EVERYTHING (YOU’RE DOING) AND READ,

D. E. A. R.

Today is Drop Everything And Read Day celebrating children’s books and reading. The folks at the official website have this to say, “Our assertion around here is that reading, whether you’re on your own or cozied up on the couch with your kids, is so much more fun and rewarding than just about anything else . . .”

So, stop what you are doing and go read with a kid or by yourself. Read and then come right back here . . . you still have this review to read. OR, BETTER YET! Read this review and then go read a book. Reading is reading, right?!

dont turn the page.

Don’t Turn the Page!

by Rachelle Burk & Julie Downing, illustrator

Creston Books               6/10/2014

978-1-939547-06-4

Age 4 to 8              32 pages

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“Like most children, Sami puts off going to bed for as long as possible. But reading a story about Little Bear’s bedtime ritual inspires Sami, just as the young reader will be inspired by this soothing story and clever book-within-a-book conceit. A bedtime book that both parent and child will relish reading one more time, Don’t Turn the Page! features a surprise ending that reinforces the sense that it’s bedtime for everyone.”

Opening

“’How about a bedtime story?” Mama asked. Sami shook her head. “I don’t want to go to bed. I’m not tired yet.’”

The Story

Sami is not tired and not ready for bed. Mama reads her a story, but Sami only wants her to read one page. In the story, the Little Bear is yawning and getting ready for bed. After the first page, Sami said, “Don’t turn the page.” Mama places a bookmarker between the pages and closes the book. Then Sami asks a question about how bears get ready for bed, but Mama doesn’t know. They must read one more page, but only one more. Sami continues to ask questions and Mama reads the bedtime book slowly, page-by-page, and question-by-question. Soon, Sami becomes interested and allows Mama to read one more page, but only one more “don’t turn the page,” while Sami brushes her teeth. In the story, Little Bear gets a goodnight kiss from his mama.  Sami is ready and says, “Don’t turn the page.” Will Sami ever go to sleep?

Review

Don’t Turn the Page! It’s time for the review, so please do not turn the page. Sami and the bear stories are both bedtime stories about going to bed. Sami is not ready, or so she says. Her body language is saying something different. Mama is patient and seems to be letting Sami make the decisions. The story of Sami the hedgehog is simply adorable as is that of Little Bear. The two stories mirror one another. As Little Bear puts on his jammies and fuzzy slippers Sami puts on her jammies and fuzzy slippers.

LB brushing teeth

It is difficult enough to write one publishable story but the author wrote two for this picture book. The story of Little Bear could be a solo book kids would love. I suppose the question to ask is which story do you like best? That of Little Bear or of Sami Hedgehog? Kids and parents might differ but I choose them both. The illustrator did a fantastic job on both stories. Each are different in style and color. I really like the turned up page corner on Little Bear’s right side page. It is just waiting for Sami to tell her Mama to turn that page. The ending is quite a surprise and may have you thinking about reality. At the very least it will give you a huge smile, as will the back of the book.

Young children and parents will love this dual bedtime story. The story of Sami going to bed and the story of Little Bear going to bed, flow well together as you read from one story to the next. For those kids not ready for bed, not yet tired, or simply determined to stay awake, Don’t Turn the Page will send them off to where sweet dreams lay waiting. Mama, or Daddy, will enjoy ready this story in a story. The title, Don’t Turn the Page, is possibly not the best title because all you will want to do is turn the page. I’m betting your little one will want these pages turned as well. However, don’t be surprised if the new stalling tactic in your house is “Don’t Turn the Page!”

Sami brushing teethDON’T TURN THE PAGE! Text copyright © 2014 by Rachelle Burk. Illustrations copyright C) 2014 by Julie Downing. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Creston Books, Berkeley, CA.

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Learn more about Don’t Turn the Page HERE.

Buy your copy of Don’t Turn the Page at AmazonB&NCreston Booksyour local bookstore.

Meet the author Rachelle Burk at her website:   http://www.rachelleburk.blogspot.com/ 

Meet the illustrator, Julie Downing at her website:    http://www.juliedowning.com/

Find more Creston Books at the publisher’s website:    http://www.crestonbooks.co/

 

.Also by Rachelle Burk

Tree House in a Storm

Tree House in a Storm

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Also by Julie Downing

Mozart Tonight

Mozart Tonight.

No Hugs Till Saturday

No Hugs Till Saturday

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.NEW at Creston Books

Mini and Moo: Hooves of Fire

Mini and Moo: Hooves of Fire

Blood Diaries

Blood Diaries

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Both reviewed here soon!

 

dont turn the page


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: bedtome stories, children's book reviews, Creston Books, hedgehogs, Julie Downing, Rachelle Burk, ready for bed, teddy bears

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6. #535 – The Chronicle of Egg, Book 3: Blue Sea Burning by Geoff Rodkey

egg 3The Chronicles of Egg, Book 3:  Blue Sea Burning

by Geoff Rodkey

G. P. Putnam’s Sons               4/03/2014

an imprint of Penguin Group

978-0-399-25787-2

Age 8 to 12        376 pages

“After narrowly escaping the New Lands, Egg is determined to take down ruthless slave trader Roger Pembroke. But war is brewing among the Blue Sea’s pirate gangs—and Egg, Guts, and Kira are running out of time to find the Fire King’s treasure and free the Okalu slaves from the silver mine on Sunrise. Can they save Kira’s people before Sunrise is plundered by Ripper Jones’s pirates? Will Burn Healy save the day, or has the legendary captain finally met his match? And will Egg ever win back Millicent from the annoyingly handsome Cyril?  


“This explosive conclusion to Egg’s journey delivers the ultimate combination of humor, heart, and white-knuckle adventure.”

Opening

“Burn Healy’s pirate ship was sinking. And we were on it.”

The Story

Blue Sea Burning, the third and final installment of The Chronicle of Egg begins where book 2 ended. Roger Pembroke had raided Pella Nonna, making himself governor. His first official act involved Egg and a noose. The people gathered, the “new” army gathered, and Pembroke gave his first official speech justifying why he should, no, why it is imperative that this child should die, despite the mercy to children law everyone, including pirates, followed.

Burn Healy walked up and, using the same law, saved Egg. Egg and his “new” Uncle Burn walk the gangway together onto Healy’s ship. Heading to Deadweather Island for much needed repairs, a little R & R, and dropping off the reformed Adonis. He had plans to take over the ugly fruit plantation—with Egg’s help, but Egg found himself sidetracked and back on the Grift with Guts, Kira, and Quint, the plantation cook, now the ship’s carpenter.

Egg still wants to take down Pembroke and get back into Millicent’s life. Kira wants to avenge her tribe’s devastation and take down Pembroke. Guts, he wants to go wherever Kira goes, and take down Pembroke. Burn Healy wants to fix his ship, appease his crew, avoid Li Homaya and Ripper Jones—both are out to get him. Aboard the Grift, they all took off for Sunrise Island, where Healy will withdraw his ten million and appease his crew. Of course, things do not always go as planned for Egg and those around him. It was time Egg, Guts, and Kira had some good luck, but will they?

Review

I was so thrilled to find Egg on my doorstep. Who would have thunk that one day I would say this and mean it? I loved the first two books and could not wait for the final instalment. Just like the first two, there is action to keep you on the edge of your seat. There are a few “aw” moments when things finally take a turn for the better. The journey is a gloriously long one, which I wish had not ended . . . at least not the way it did. I found it disappointing after all that Egg had been through, but happy endings are not required in middle grade novels. Oh, wait, they really are. Truth is[SM1] , the ending is happy, just not the happy I wanted to read. But, no spoilers here. I can’t say what I didn’t like about the ending, though I wish I could. So, after you read Blue Sea Burning, please send me an email, let me know what you thought and I will reveal what I thought that I wouldn’t say now. I wonder whether there might be a fourth book, or maybe a new tale. One can hope.

Not read book 1 or 2? Want to skip to the third? It’s possible. Egg, a wonderful narrator, fills in enough background that you can read book 3 first and enjoy it. I think you’ll then go to book 1 and 2 then possibly repeat book 3. I don’t recommend it, but it is your choice. However, you want to read the series is up to you, but read it. If you like pirates, those sneaky, sleazy, scoundrels, you will enjoy The Chronicle of Egg. Throw in a secret source of power and greed, and the men who want it more than anything else, and you get a dystopian world that is not far from reality.

There is violence but nothing gruesome or highly detailed that I would not allow a boy, or girl, age 8 read the series. Rodkey knows how to write for middle graders and make it riveting for all levels of reading and maturity. It is difficult at times to believe this is Rodkey’s debut, which he calls a “comedy-adventure.” His world is believable and not far from the lay of the land here. Could this have been how the world once worked? Book 1 is an easier read than 2, and 2 easier than 3, as I think it should be. Kids change a lot from age 8 to 12, as do their reading abilities The Chronicle of Egg grows with them.

If you like good ole’ pirate action, from the pirates and non-pirates, family relationships that grow, and a happy ending (that may or may not lead to a new book), you will love The Chronicle of Egg. The characters will grow on you and you will miss them between books. There are no illustrations—wouldn’t those have been so cool!—but you will see nearly everything in your mind’s eye. It is hard not to see, and sometimes feel, the action. The best thing to hope for, after finishing the series, is a big production movie. I don’t know if the series has been optioned, but The Chronicle of Egg would make a great grand movie. Until then, enjoy your time at sea, at Deadweather Island, at Sunrise, and all the lands in between. Finally, keep your eyes and ears open, I hear tell there are pirates on the loose.

THE CHRONICLE OF EGG, BOOK 3: BLUE SEA BURNING. Text copyright © 2014 by Geoff Rodkey. Reviewed by permission of the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY.

Learn more about The Chronicle of Egg HERE.

Buy the series at AmazonB&NPenguin Group—your local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Geoff Rodkey a his website:  http://geoffrodkey.com/                                                                                 “A Word from Author Geoff Rodkey”

Follow the publisher at the G. P. Putnam’s Sons‘ twitter:  https://twitter.com/PutnamBooks

Find more books at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Group.

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egg 3 

[SM1]


Filed under: 5stars, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: children's book revieews, comedy-adventure, Egg, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Geoff Rodkey, high seas, island kings, Penguin Group, pirates, ruthless villian Roger Pembroke, treasure maps

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7. #534 – You Are My Baby: Garden & You Are My Baby: Ocean By Lorena Siminovich

cover postYou Are My Baby: Garden

You Are My Baby: Ocean

By Lorena Siminovich

Chronicle Books     2014

Age up to 4     10 pages

.“Two books in one! Turn the pages of the little book nestled inside the bigger book to match the baby animals to their parents. La-la-chirp! Buzz-buzz! Swish! Splash! Perfect for learning and playtime fun.”

Openings

“You sing a happy song in our leafy tree. You are my baby little hatchling La-la-chirp!

“You crawl on the sandy ocean floor. You are my baby, little octopus. Fizz!

Review

You Are My Baby:  Garden includes animals you will find in your garden or backyard. Animals such as the answer to the opening line above top: a Blue bird and a baby blue bird. You will also find a spider, snail, squirrel, and a bumblebee, all with their baby.

yamb gardenYou Are My Baby:  Ocean includes animals from the sea. In this board book, you will find an octopus (the answer to its opening lines), a seahorse, goldfish, turtle, and a big wale with water spouting out of its blowhole.

yamb oceanBoth books have soft colors, many in a pattern, such as the bluebird made of blue with a white dotted body and a yellow beak with smaller white dots.Each book is also two books in one. The adult animals and the baby animals move independently giving any possible combination as you please. If you want the whale to raise the baby turtle, simply put the two together. Both are easy to handle. Made of thick cardboard, the books—all four—will withstand the toughest of little hands that grab, pull, and drop.

fish1

I really like the two books together. I like the mix and match of the two without carting out a second book. Kids like to match things up. As a kid, I matched up playing cards. One of these books would have been so much more fun. I could have sat in my grandpa’s lap instead of next to him; I could have practiced on my own. Plus, I know from experience, jelly wipes right off these pages.

Both the Garden, and the Ocean version of You Are My Baby series is adorable and will enchant children and peak their growing curiosity of the world around them. The series is a collection of four including, You Are My Baby: Farm and You Are My Baby: Safari. These You Are My Baby books are one other way of interesting your child in books and reading at an early age. Babies like other babies, making this perfect for the child recognizing his or herself in the world.

missing covers 2

YOU ARE MY BABY: GARDEN and YOU ARE MY BABY:  OCEAN. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lorena Siminovich. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Learn more about the You Are My Baby series go HERE.

To purchase any of the You Are My Baby books go to AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author/illustrator, Lorena Siminovich at her website:  http://www.lorenasiminovich.com/

Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

*all illustrations courtesy of Chronicle Books

Also by Lenora Siminovich

You Know What I Love?

You Know What I Love?

Monkey See, Look at Me!

Monkey See, Look at Me!

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New Chronicle Board Books

We're Going to the Farmers' Market

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

A Tree for All Seasons

A Tree for All Seasons

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you are my baby gardwen and ocean


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Series Tagged: animals, baby animals, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Lorena Siminovich, matching, relationships

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8. #533 – The New Old Truck by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern

cover.

The New Old Truck

by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern, illustrator

Tales from the Farm Publications          2014

978-0-473-27125-1

Abe 4 to 8         38 pages

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“Old truck backfires, graunches gears, won’t start and often has to be towed. Retired, rejected and shut up in the shed, he feels old and useless. Is this the end for Old Truck? Then brother John comes home . . . “

Opening

“Old Truck loved to work. He was happy carting soil. He was excited carting hay. He loved carting children.”

The Story

Old Truck has worked the family farm for many years. Now, he is getting too old to work like it used to, often needing a tow from Blue Truck. Blue Truck was tired of rescuing Old Truck and Dad said it was time to retire Old Truck and get a new one. Despite much opposition from his children, Dad went out looking for a new truck. He came home with nothing new, having gien in to his children. Blue Truck would have to handle the load. Old Truck was retired to the shed, where it sat. One child had been missing. One John came home he asked about Old Truck. Would he be able to help the old, tired, out-of-date truck?

kids riding

Review

Based in a true story, The New Old Truck retells the story of a family’s beloved old-fashioned truck, about to be retired. Old Truck had been a useful truck, but needed replaced with a modern truck. All the kids objected. They loved to ride in Old Truck; one of the first trucks ever built. It had a hand crank, which is not always included in the illustrations. In general, the illustrations are smart, extremely detailed, and are nicely colored. The one-dimensional characters remind me of the thin magnetic “paper dolls” of old that stuck to a special board. Beyond this, the illustrations will entertain young children as the Old Truck goes from a tired, worn-out machine to a crisp sharp machine ready to beat any truck of any age.

Sentences are short and simply structured, making it easy for children to read. There is a lot of dialogue, mostly of the children protesting, which can be fun to read aloud. There is a little confusion with Old Truck’s savior. John is there, protesting with the others, when Old Truck is retired to the shed. An unspecified amount of time passes, Old Truck is a mess and,

“Then one day John came home.”

This sentence implies John had not been around; had not been home. Yet he was. John was around when all the kids, including himself, protested the retirement of Old Truck and the purchasing a new truck. I think this might confuse the children who notice John had been around. How can, “one day John came home?” When did he leave? Where did he go? Why didn’t he rescue the Old Truck earlier? Picky? Maybe, but continuity is important in a story, including knowing where your characters are at all times. If John was there when Old Truck was retired, and he was, then he should know where Old Truck is when he returns.

kidds told of new truck

Young boys will love the story of Old Truck. Old Truck likes carrying around kids, has a nice smile, and often farts, causing black smoke to trail behind it. What little boy wouldn’t love that? Blue Truck is actually rather boring in comparison, though much nicer looking truck. When restored, Old Truck is so beautiful everyone around wants a ride. This shows how much we like our histories and want them to live on. This simple truck spoke of a simpler time; many would like a return to that time.

Parents will appreciate the short history, after the story, including original pictures. Manufactured in Michigan, the 1921 Model 10 Republic truck journeyed to New Zealand, where the author and illustrator’s grandfather bought it in 1938. The truck worked on the family dairy farm until it was retired. The real John restored the truck several times, finally showing the 91-year-old truck at a vintage rally in 2012. There is beautiful photograph of the family farm, showing the snowy Ruahines Mountain Range (New Zealand), in the background. Also included is glossary of words special to Old Truck, such as chassis, crank handle, and graunch (the loud, grating noise of gears not smoothly moving).

old rretired to shed

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THE NEW OLD TRUCK. Text copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Somervell. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Margery Fern. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tales from the farm Publications, Oxford, NZ.

Learn more about The New Old Truck HERE.

.Buy at author / illustrator website.

Meet the author, Jennifer Somervell and illustrator, Margery Fern at her website: Tales from the Farm Productions:   http://www.talesfromthefarm.co.nz/

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Also by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern

The Day Dad Blew up the Cowshed

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new old truck


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books Tagged: 1921 Model 10 Republic, farm life, Jennifer Smervell, Margery Fern, old trucks, relationships, Tales from the farm Publications

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9. #532 – Evil Fairies Love Hair by Mary G. Thompson

evvil fariries kve hair.

Evil Fairies Love Hair

by Mary G. Thompson

Clarion Books       8/5/2014

978-0-547-85903-3

Age 8 to 12       320 pages

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“You could be gorgeous, brilliant, a star athlete, or great singer, or you could put a hex on your worst enemy. And all you have to do is raise a flock of two-inch-tall fairies. Easy, right? Wrong. Ali learns this the hard way when her flock-starter fairies get to work. Raising them means feeding them, and what they eat is hair. Lots and lots of human hair. Where to get the hair is Ali’s first challenge. What about the beauty salon? Easy, right? Before long, Ali’s friends, classmates, teachers, sister, and parents are entangled with the evil fairies, who have their own grandiose and sinister agenda. It’s up to Ali to overcome these magical troublemakers and set things right.”

Opening

“AGREEMENT 1. Alison E. B. Butler in exchange for one wish, hereby agree: . . .”

The Story

Alison is raising a flock of evil fairies in exchange for one wish. She wants to be smarter than her sister, who get s straight A’s and her parent’s attention. She has two problems right away. Michael gave her the two flock-starters and now he insists on checking up on her, constantly. It wouldn’t be so bad if he weren’t the second worst jerk in town. His brother is number one and dating Ali’s sister Hannah—the one who can do no wrong. Second problem, the baby fairies. All the babies want is to eat and they eat human hair, lots if it. Where is Ali going to get all that hair? She can’t use her own, and keeps her hair in a high bun to ensure the fairies don’t get to her hair. The boys shave their head.

Ali spots the beauty salon across from the middle school. They throw hair away every day. Ali tries to grab some of the discarded hair, but Mrs. Hopper, who has cut the Butler family’s hair since forever, catches her. Ali learns that Mrs. Hopper is not who she seems to be and wants to rescue Mrs. Hopper—the real Mrs. Hopper. Hopper is not the only one held captive. Molly and Tyler, who broke the rules while raising their flocks, are now suffering the penalty, and Mrs. Hopper—the fake one—is now holding them captive. Will Ali be able to free all three? Can she be able to get anyone else to help? Most importantly, will Ali raise her full flock and get her wish?

Review

I love Evil Fairies Love Hair. It has some normal teenage angst, a normal family, middle school casts, two flockstarters who may or may not help, and a good dash of magic. The good kids are not always as good as they seem and the bad kids are not as bad as everyone, including parents, believe. Then there are the little evil fairies, who may not be fairies at all. Evil Fairies Love Hair could be a confusing story, but events happen in good time and everything flows nicely from one plot point to the next. In fact, I had read half the book before I thought to check the time. I didn’t want to put the book down.

From the title, Evil Fairies Love Hair, I had no idea what to expect. The fairy on the cover is odd looking with large, bulging eyes that fill up half her face and a baldhead. She looks demanding and she and her fellow fairies are a demanding bunch. Their leader put the fairies in this position and was now trying to get them to where she wanted to be in the first place. Problem is, she easily makes mistakes, mainly due to her enormous ego. I love the humor and the middle school principal who never has a clue what his students are doing. He just wants them back to class. All the adults are clueless.

Middle grade kids will love this story. It will have them thinking about what they would wish for, if they had the opportunity. Kids will also wonder what getting their wish would cause to those around them. Would it be worth it to have everything you want? This is the author’s sophomore novel. (Escape from the Pipe Men! is her debut and will be reviewed here soon.) The writing is excellent. The story pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. Kids looking for a magical tale with a few twists and turns will want to read Evil Fairies Love Hair. You may think you know what a fairy is and what a fairy does, but do you really? To find out, you need to read Evil Fairies Love Hair. Be careful what you wish for—you might just get it!.

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EVIL FAIRIES LOVE HAIR. Text copyright © 2014 by Mary G. Thompson. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Blake Henry. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, Boston MA.

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Learn about Evil Fairies Love Hair HERE.

Buy Evil Fairies Love Hair at AmazonB&NClarion Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet author Mary G. Thompson at her website:  http://www.marygthompson.com/

Find more intriguing books at the Clarion Books website:  http://www.hmhco.com/

Clarion Books is an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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Also by Mary G Thompson

Escape from the Pipe Men!

Escape from the Pipe Men!

Wuftoom

Wuftoom

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NEW from Clarion Books

The Twin Powers

The Twin Powers

 

The Perfect Place

The Perfect Place

evil fairies love hair


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Middle Grade Tagged: children's book reviews, Clarion Books, ego, fairies, hexes, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, imps, Mary G. Thompson, middle grade novel, relationships, wishes

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10. #531 – Peek-a Zoo by Nina Laden

peek a zoo.

Peek-A-Zoo!

by Nina Laden

Chronicle Books        2014

978-1-4521-1175-9

Age 0 to 3    20pages

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“Peek-a mew? Peek-a ‘roo? Peek-a zoo! In this hilarious follow-up to the bestselling board book Peek-a Who, Nina Laden turns her playful eye (and ear) to the animal world. Read the clue . . . guess the animal . . . giggle wildly . . . and repeat!”

Review

Peek-a Zoo. What can I say about this interesting board book? First, when you even open it, you see a pair of eyes encased in blue. What in the world could this be? Check real close. The eyes have long eyelashes. Below the eyes would be a nose, but instead, there are two lines down that have lines moving horizontally from the first line to the second. This cannot be a nose, so what is it? The one big clue is this . . . “Zoo.” It has to be an animal. A blue animal? Well, I give up. I am turning the page . . . oh, my, gosh! It is an elephant! No, not just an elephant, but a kangaroo, a panda, a tiger, and a cockatoo, too.

frame 1 a

Now there is nothing left to do but turn the thick, baby-safe pages and find out what is next in this Peek-a Zoo. The page is orange with black stripes. Maybe it is black with orange stripes. There is also a stripe of orange running down the middle that looks more like a river. What animal has a river of orange running down the middle of . . . what? Its face, its arm, its back, its stomach? Do you know? Me either. I’m turning the page. Whoa! It could be an orange kitty playing with a ball of yarn or a baby tiger. Look at the eyes! They are green and look maniacal. Look at the ears; they are round, not pointy like most kitties. I think this is a baby tiger!

Time to turn the page again. Then again, and again. Each new set of two pages has a new zoo animal for you and your child to guess. Add some ferocious sounds and you will have your child roaring along in laughter. I’ve not seen the first by Nina Laden, titled Peek-a Who, but if it is anything like Peek-a Zoo, I understand why it was a bestseller.

frame 2 a

The illustrations are bright, colorful images kids will instantly recognize. Plus, little ones love animals. I think one reason they like animals is because it gives mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, aunt or uncle, or maybe even big brother or sister, the opportunity to not only read the book, but to add voices as well. Animal voices. What could be better than that? “Roooaar!” How about each page having an “oo” sound one might find in a z-oo, as in a kangar-oo, bamb-oo, and cockat-oo. The “oo” sound is one of those that you can elongate and exaggerate, which is usually good for a smile, if not a laugh. One word of caution: be careful of the last animal, it is the most ferocious of them all.

PEEK-A ZOO! Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Nina Laden. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Learn more about Peek-a Zoo Here.

Buy Peek-a Zoo at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author / illustrator, Nina Laden, at her website: http://www.ninaladen.com/

Find more wonderful board books at the Chronicle Books website:  https://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Nina Laden

daddy wrong legs

Once  Upon a Memory

Once  Upon a Memory .

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Also by Chronicle Books

We're Going to the Farmers' Market

We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

You Are My Baby: Safari

You Are My Baby: Safari

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Peek a Zoo.

 

 


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Chronicle Books, Nina Laden, peek-a-boo, zoo animals

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11. #530 – My Friend Suhana by Aanyah Abdullah & Shaila Abdullah

suhana.

My Friend Suhana

by Aanyah Abdullah & Shaila Abdullah

Loving Healing Press      1/1/2014

978-1-61599-211-9

Age 6 to 8    30 pages

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 “A simple tale of love and friendship to warm your heart. This is the tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy. The girl finds that through her art, she can reach her special friend Suhana.”

Opening

“My friend Suhana is like no other girl I know.”

The Story

Suhana has Cerebral Palsy or CP for short. She is a quiet girl who moves little and depends upon others for all her needs. Despite all her limitations, Suhana can communicate. It takes someone special to understand all of Suhana and her needs. The narrator, an unnamed little girl, is trying to be that someone special for Suhana. The young girl, a budding artist, tries to use her art with Suhana. She uses different colors to symbolize Suhana’s various moods. Red equates being upset, blue is calm and pink is love. The young girl rocks Suhana in her arms and shows her the pictures she draws. Both girls are seven-years-old, which is not lost on the young girl.

Review

My Friend Suhana is a sweet homage to a young girl with cerebral palsy from a young girl who tries to be her friend. As narrator, the young girl tells us about Suhana and their relationship. The young narrator displays a great deal of empathy for Suhana, a girl her own age. Suhana’s mother tries to help the young girl understand her daughter. The young narrator volunteers with Suhana each week–

“But for one hour each week I get a chance to rock her in my arms and imagine that she is my special friend!”

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What the young girl fails to realize is that she needs not imagine. Suhana is her special friend and she is Suhana’s special friend. Volunteering at the special needs class, the young narrator begins to understand Suhana through her own art, probably more than Suhana understands what the young artist is trying to say. The young volunteer does not say if she has helped Suhana make her own art, but that would be a great step to take.

As a story, My Friend Suhana falls quite short. The protagonist is the young narrator, telling her own story, but there is no antagonist, unless you consider CP. A teacher tells the narrator that her art can help ease anxiety in others, so the girl starts giving her art to her friends. What changes does this make? Do these kids find relief and does this help the protagonist grow? The narrator is seven-years-old, as was the author when she co-authored this book. She relates her experiences well, but for what reason. What is the story? Where is the conflict that will change her? Who is the protagonist?

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Rather than go into craft, conflicts, and all that stuff the young writer may not grasp, but a story needs, I would rather say this is a fine attempt for a first book. Putting oneself out there with kids who are so extremely different from yourself is difficult. Then telling the world about it, trying to relate what a great kid Suhana is, turns a hill into a mountain and this young author climbs that mountain gracefully and with much empathy. Aanyah is a great kid.

She realistically explains Suhana’s reactions to things she does not like, “she clenches her fists,” and when happy, “she waves her legs and arms wildly.” When Suhana bumps her head she, “screams unhappily . . . tired from crying, she fell asleep.” For seven years of age, this young girl is extremely observant and insightful. Everything the young narrator mentions about Suhana, I have seen repeated many times by kids with CP I have worked with. It takes a special individual with great empathy and patience to help these kids, even more to be a friend. Which is why I would rather exult the young author’s ability to work with others, her empathy, her patience, and her art, which she uses to help others.

3

My Friend Suhana is not a story. It is a loving tribute to a special friend and as such can be very helpful for other kids to read. Mainstreamed schools are a great place for this work to be available. Volunteer centers that allow kids to help, is another. Obviously, places with cerebral palsy patients are great places for this work, but any place with young children as clients that allows children to volunteer can benefit from having the volunteers read this young writer’s first work. My Friend Suhana may not be a “story,” but it has a lot of heart.

MY FRIEND SUHANA. Text copyright © 2014 by Aanyah & Shaia Abdullah. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Shaila Abdullah. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Loving Healing Press, Ann Arbor, MI.

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Learn more about My Friend Suhana HERE.

Buy My Friend Suhana at AmazonB&NLoving Healing Pressyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Aanyah Abdullah at her website: http://myfriendsuhana.com/

Meet author, Shaila Abdullah at their website:  http://www.shailaabdullah.com/

Find other interesting books at the Loving Healing Press  website: http://www.lovinghealing.com/ 

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.my friends suhana


Filed under: 3stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Aanyah Abdullah & Shaila Abdullah, art, cerebral palsy, children's book reviews, CP, friendship, hardships, Loving Healing Press, relationaships, volunteerism

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12. #529 – The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff & Eliza Wheeler

grudge keeper.

The Grudge Keeper

by Mara Rockliff & Eliza Wheeler

Peachtree Publishers     4/1/2014

978-1-56145-729-8

Age 4 to 8         32 pages

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“No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. No one, that is, except old Cornelius the Grudge Keeper. Ruffled feathers, petty snits, minor tiffs, and major huffs, insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios—the Grudge Keeper received them all, large and small, tucking each one carefully away in his ramshackle cottage. But when a storm flings the people together and their grudges to the wind, will the Grudge Keeper be out of a job?”

Opening

“No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. No one, that is, except old Cornelius the Grudge Keeper.”

The Story

The citizens of Bonnyripple do not hold grudges. Nope, not one grudge. Anyone new to town would wonder how everyone kept from holding a grudge. They all had Cornelius. Elvira ran a grudge up to Cornelius against the darned goat—the one that supped on her prize zinnias—and Cornelius has held that grudge for her ever since. All the townsfolk run their grudges up to Cornelius and then go about their happy lives. Poor Cornelius was so inundated with grudges his house could find little room for more, yet more came.

Sylvester loves to prank his schoolmaster. One day he plucked the man’s toupee right off his baldhead. The schoolmaster took great offense to this . . . but he never held a grudge against Sylvester, no matter how many times Sylvester pranked the man. A huge storm came in with gusty winds strong enough to knock Minnie’s fresh-made lemon pie off the windowsill, where it had sat cooling off. That pie landed right on top of Elvira’s cat, surely bringing home a mess.

1c

The moment the winds died down and the sun once again shined upon the people of Bonnyripple, Elvira walked up to Cornelius, ready with her grudge. If she had looked behind herself, she would have seen everyone from town with grudges for Cornelius to store. When the townsfolk made it to Cornelius’s house, they could not believe the sight. Poor Cornelius lay buried beneath a huge pile of decades-old grudges and no way out. Can they get Cornelius out from under the weight of all those grudges before it bears down upon him?

Review

The ending to The Grudge Keeper not only satisfies a wonderful story, it teaches a lesson in civility. The people of Bonnyripple did not like holding a grudge, but a grudge unsatisfied will always be a grudge. Therefore, they gave the grudge to someone else to handle—Cornelius. Eventually, those grudges landed everywhere, thanks to a storm, but Cornelius was nowhere. What the townspeople did next would change the entire atmosphere of Bonnyripple.

Younger children, without help from an adult, may not understand this picture book. At age four, kids do not know what a grudge is even if they have heard the word. They do understand how to apologize and to forgive. By age six or seven, kids understand what holding a grudge means and may hold one or two themselves. If only the people of Bonnyripple had known how to say, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.”

2

Reading The Grudge Keeper was easy, without a tongue tie-up from start to finished, no matter how hard the word or the wind swirled around Bonnyripple. The writing uses word play and humor, even in the naming of characters. I love the way the author describes action.

“Laundry fluttered on the line. Lily Belle’s best flowered bonnet skipped away. Big Otto captured it and brought it back, but Lily Belle just grumbled that the petals were all out of place.”

The illustrations seem perfect for the story, as if both text and illustrations were completed side-by-side. With its sophisticated look, parents will appreciate The Grudge Keeper as much as, if not more than, their children. Kids will love the oft-comical illustrations.

Every wrong is a grudge to the townsfolk and you can see this in their eyes and in their postures.  How do you settle a grudge? No revenge is needed, only a simple and heartfelt apology and forgiveness. Will the people of Bonnyripple ever understand this? If they do—or don’t—what will they and their town become?

3

THE GRUDGE KEEPER. Text copyright © 2014 by Mara Rockliff. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Eliza Wheeler. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

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Learn more about The Grudge Keeper HERE.

Buy The Grudge Keeper at AmazonB&NPeachtree Publishingyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Mara Rockliff, at her website:  http://mararockliff.com/

Meet the illustrator, Eliza Wheeler, at her website:  http://wheelerstudio.com/

Find more great books at the Peachtree Publisher website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

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Also by Mara Rockliff

Me and Momma and Big John

Me and Momma and Big John

My Heart Will Not Sit Down

My Heart Will Not Sit Down

 

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Also by Elia Wheeler

Miss Maple's Seeds

Miss Maple’s Seeds

Doll Bones

Doll Bones

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.New at Peachtree Publisher

Beneath the Son

Beneath the Son

Claude at the Beach

Claude at the Beach

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.Read a shortened version of The Grudge Keeper‘s journey from manuscript to publication HERE.

grudge keeper

Peachtree Book Blog Tour

The Grudge Keeper

 Monday

A Word’s Worth

Tuesday

Reading to Know

Wednesday

Chat with Vera

 Thursday

Tolivers to Texas

Kid Lit Reviews    You Made it Here! Now Please Check Out the Others.

 Friday

Geo Librarian


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: children's book reviews, Eliza Wheeler, forgiveness, grudges, Mara Rockliff, Peachtree Publishers, spats, tiffs

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13. #528 – When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Firefighter! by WIGU Publishing

WIGU firefighter.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be…a Firefighter!

by WIGU Publishing

978-1-939973-11-5

2014

Age 6 to 10       60 pages

.IN PROCESS OF ADDING ILLUSTRATIONS

“Will was excited to go on his class field trip, until he learned they would be touring the local firehouse. Now, he is dreading the trip. For as long as he can remember, Will has been afraid of fire and, worse than that, firefighters! Though he knows firefighters are heroes who do dangerous work, to him they are giants in heavy coats and masks. Can Will overcome his fears and maybe even learn something surprising about himself?”

Opening

“Will was sitting in his classroom at school when his teacher, Miss Elyse, made the announcement.”

The Story

Will’s class is going on a field trip to a firehouse. Will is afraid of fire and firefighters. Firefighters are right up there with monsters, even though he knows firefighters are heroes who protect our stuff and us. Still, firefighters are “huge” plus “they run out of the smoke and fire swinging axes.” On the bus, Will still worries about the trip. His friend Tommy is all excited, ready for anything.

A fireman wearing a baseball cap and a t-shirt, not a mask and a giant coat, greet the kids. Will tries to convince himself the fireman is not scary, but this one is the Captain. The Captain tells the kids the firefighters train hard, and that the six firefighters at this firehouse are “First Responders.” Will sees that the firehouse is also the firefighter’s home while on duty. As he begins to relax, Will imagines himself as “Captain Will,” the firefighter with the biggest office. The firefighters also have some cool stuff, like a shiny fire pole and two Dalmatians. Who knew they could have pets?

Out of nowhere, a firefighter slides down the gold fire pole, in full firefighter gear. Captain Kirby said, “Did you know that a lot of kids are frightened of firefighters?” Will understands. The firefighter crawls toward the kids, as if saving them in a fire, making at least one jump back. When the mask finally comes off, Will decides the firefighter is not at all scary-looking. Before the kids climb back in their school bus, Will helps aim the fire hose, receives a Junior Firefighter Badge, and hops up onto the fire engine—in the driver’s seat!

Review

When I Grow Up I Want to be . . . a Firefighter stands up to its predecessors—be in the Army and be a Teacher. If anything, the series is getting better. Will is a believable character. He gradually lets down his guard as he learns more about firefighters. Will’s fear of the GIANT firefighter was shattered as the firefighter, who suddenly slides down the fire pole, and crawls toward the kids, scaring a few, turns out to be . . . a girl! Even the Captain, wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap, looked normal. Will shares many of his thoughts along the way, yet I am guessing one thought he doesn’t share is, “why was I scared to come here today?” It is evident in his posture and his face that he is finally having fun.

Packed with career details, I Want to be . . . a Firefighter brings the firefighter down to kid level, erasing any fear that can be induce when they wear their full gear. From the contents of the typical firehouse, to various emergency response vehicles, Will, and the reader, learns what it takes to be a firefighter and what the job entails. As a take-away, there is s Home Safety Check List and a sample Home Escape Plan in the back of the book.

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Learn more about When I Grow Up I Want to be . . .  series HERE.

Buy I Want to be . . . a Firefighter at AmazonB&NWIGU Publishersyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about the uthor, illustrator and publisher WIGU Publishing at their website:  http://whenigrowupbooks.com/

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WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE  . . . FIREFIGHTER. Text and illuostration copyright © 2014 by WIGU Publishing. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, WIGU Publishing, Laguna each, CA.

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Coming Soon from WIGU Publishing

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wigu firefighter


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: children's book reviews, female firefighters, firefighters, firehouse, firemen, Wigu Publishing

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14. #527 – E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen by Judy Sierra & Matthew Myers

cover.

EIEIO: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen

by Judy Sierra & Matthew Myers, illustrator

Candlewick Press      2/25/2014

978-0-7636-6043-7

Age 4 to 8     32 pages

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“Once upon a time, Old MacDonald didn’t have a farm. He just had a yard—a yard he didn’t want to mow. But then, under the direction of the wise (and ecologically sensitive) Little Red Hen, Mac learns to look at the environment in a very different way, and whole new worlds start to bloom.”

Opening

“Old MacDonald had a house, E-I-E-I-O!”

The Story

Old MacDonald had a house with a big backyard he didn’t like to mow. In fact, he waited so long to mow it that Old MacDonald would sweat after just a short push of his power mower. There had to be a better way. So Old MacDonald got a goat. E-I-E-I-O! There were problems with the goat. MacDonald knew there had to be a better way, so he searched the Internet for help. He got that help from the Little Red Hen, the smartest hen in the world. But could she help Old MacDonald with his backyard lawn mowing aversion?

Review

A fun story that will have kids and adults laughing from the beginning, E-I-E-I-O puts Old MacDonald in the middle of suburbia. He has a house with a large backyard and Old MacDonald doesn’t like to mow. He gets a goat but the goat eats the hedges, putting a window between MacDonald and his neighbor. But MacDonald’s real trouble—and fame—doesn’t begin until he hires the Little Red Hen. I love bringing in a character from another story. It adds more flavor to the story and most kids will instantly recognize the Little Red Hen. Plus, this wise hen has an agricultural diploma—perfect for Old MacDonald.

First, Little Red Hen gets rid of the grass. At first, I didn’t get what she was doing—nor will most kids—but soon it became clear. Until that could happen, the neighbors join and form a protest, insisting, as one sign put it, “A LAWN in every YARD.” I love the signs. One says the neighbors formed a mud watch group. But the sign stating, “Change is BAD” pretty much sums up the problem: no one like change. Though there is one little guy who may like change. His sign says, “No More Mud,” but he put a line through one of those words. Not until Old MacDonald has a workable farm, producing organic veggies, does the neighborhood change their feelings toward the smell of Old MacDonald’s backyard farm.

The illustrations are fantastic. They tell the story as well as the text tells it. The details are terrific and sometimes surprising, but you must look carefully to appreciate all the effort that went into these spreads. Colorful, informative, and humorous are but three words that immediately come to mind when looking at E-I-E-I-O. I love the part when Little Red Hen has Old MacDonald throw his trash onto his backyard, well, actually, his back-mud. Old MacDonald looks like he has given up when he tosses his corncob out the window onto his back-mud.

Kids inherently think the word “poop” is funny. Well, Little Red Hen cannot make her compost without it, or worms, so kids will love these spreads. Of course, Little Red Hen stays out of the muck, calling directions out from atop her hen house. Yes, she is one wise hen. Eventually, Old MacDonald gains the neighbors’ favor and a new career in one of the most entertaining, yet informative, picture books this year.

E-I-E-I-O: HOW OLD MACDONALD GOT HIS FARM. Text copyright © 2014 by Judy Sierra. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Matthew Myers. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

E-I-E-I-O- POSTER

Learn more about E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help From a Hen HERE.

Get your copy of E-I-E-I-O at AmazonB&NCandlewick Pressyour local bookstore.

.Meet the author, Judy Sierra at her website:   http://www.judysierra.net/

Meet the illustrator, Matthew Myers at his website:  http://www.myerspaints.com/

Find other great books at Candlewick Press’ website:   http://www.candlewick.com/

Also by Judy Sierra

Wild About You!

Wild About You!

ZooZical  

ZooZical

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur

Suppose You Meet a Dinosaur

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Also by Matthew Myers 

Battle Bunny

Battle Bunny

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind  

Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind

The World According to Musk Ox  9/2014  

The World According to Musk Ox  9/2014

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.New from Candlewick Press

Ocean Creatures: A 3D Pocket Guide

Ocean Creatures: A 3D Pocket Guide

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: Doggie Duties  

FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman: Doggie Duties

Peppa Pig and the Great Vacation

Peppa Pig and the Great Vacation

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eieio how old macdonald got his farm


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Candlewick Press, children's book reviews, ecology, eieio, environmentlism, gardens, judy sierra, matthew Myers, old macdonald had a farm, organic frming, sustainability

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15. guest post – Children’s Book Categories by Diane Mae Robinson

Today’s post is a guest post by Diane Mae Robinson, award-winning author of the Pen Pie Yu Series with Sir Princess Petra and her trusty steed, Snarls. I appreciate Diane filling in at the last moment after I awoke with the yuckies. Diane is reviewing genres in children’s writing.

NOW, with a cough and a wheeze), I present Ms. Diane Robinson!  yeah! yeah! cough. yeah.

Book Categories in Children’s Books

There are several different types of children book categories and sub-categories. The writing style and word count is different in each type of category. The following list is a general guideline of the categories, and these guidelines may vary by publisher.

Board books/ Toy books:  Ages newborn to 3 years. These books are for the youngest of listeners and are meant to engage their minds in learning with textures, pop ups, flaps, noise makers, and lively illustrations. The words in these books are more about the sound they make when spoken by the reader. These books can have one word or just a few words per page.

Toddler books/ Concept books: Ages 3 – 5 years. Introducing basic learning through shapes, colors, alphabets, animals, and people, these books have a stronger emphasis on the words than the previous category.  The images and interaction of the book are still the main focus for the child. These books average 200 – 300 words and are often in the form of the board book format.

Early picture books:  Ages 4 – 6 years. Often referred to as picture story books,these are books written to be read to preschool and kindergarten children. The words are still simple but more intriguing with their sounds.  The word count is between 200 – 1000 words with just a few lines per page and a simple plot. The color illustrations on every page are still the main focus for telling of the story. Pages vary as per content–usually less than 32 pages.

Picture books/Easy readers:  Ages 5 -7 years.  Early picture book are books written for children just starting to read on their own. These books have between 500- 1500 simple words (1000 words being the average) and have a stronger focus on an entertaining story through the story’s action and dialogue. Color illustrations are still on every page or every other page. These books are usually 32 pages.

Early chapter books:  Age 6 – 9 or 7 – 10 years. The story is divided into chapter of 2 – 3 pages per chapter.  The plotting and characters become more complex than a picture book, but not too much that the child loses interest.  Theme and style of writing grab the child’s attention. Most chapter books for this age group still include some illustrations, usually black and white, but not on every page. The word count can be up to 10,000 words and up to 65 pages.

Middle grade chapter books: Written for children 8 – 12 years of age, the characters and plotting of the story becomes more complex as the topics have a wider range and the writer has more leeway to include some narration and descriptive setting, introduce more characters, and add dramatic effects to the theme and style of writing.  Chapters are 3 -4 pages each with few illustrations or no illustrations. Kid get hooked on character at this stage of reading. Word count can be up to 20,000 words within 65 – 200 pages.

Young adult books: Often referred to as YA books or  juvenille novels, are written for readers 12 and up, 14 and up, and 17 – 18 years.Topics and language vary greatly. Most YA books have an adolescent protagonist where the focus is on plotting, character and setting, while theme and style often take second place. Plotting can have subplots with several major characters, although, one character should still emerge as the focus of the story. Harry Potter books are consider YA novels.

Whatever age group your intended audience, the main character of your story should be a little older than the intended audience.

feather penVisit my author’s website to learn more about my dragon books for children:  http://www.dragonsbook.com
And Diane’s Homemade Blog http://www.dianemaerobinson.com/

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If anyone would like to guest post, please send it to my using my email address, if you know it, and the Contact Form.  (Navigation bar to the right). Thanks.

 


Filed under: Author Spotlight, Guest Post, NonFiction Tagged: All About Children (blog), Award-Winning, children's author, children's book genres, Diane Mae Robinson, Dragon's Book (website), great friend

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16. #525-6 – bunnies near and far & orange triangle fox by sarah jones

Today we start with a question. Two questions, to be exact.

  1. Can you count to ten?

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10”

Good!

 2. Do you know your colors?

Red, blue, yellow, green, orange— ”

—Okay, that’s great!

“. . . pink, purple, brown, black . . .”

Let’s get started. Debut Author Sarah Jones.

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bunnies near and far.

Bunnies Near and Far

by Sarah Jones

Blue Manatee Press      4/01/2014

978-1-936669-22-6

Age 1 to 4      10 pages

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“Colors. Shapes. Critters! Three concepts in one make learning fun! Inspire bedtime or story time, with this fun and educational concept book! Watch colorful native forest animals including red square owl and yellow star frog take shape, teaching basic concepts simultaneously. Rich, sweet watercolor illustrations are a delight for sharing over and over again.”

Opening 

1 bunny near. 2 bunnies far.”

Review

1

Farmer Bo has lost track of his bunnies. Where could they have gone? We know 1 bunny is nearby and 2 bunnies are far off. Where did 3 bunnies go, and 4 bunnies? I saw 5 bunnies going up and 6 bunnies going down—they were on a teeter-totter. Wherever 7 and 8 bunnies went in opposite directions. Then I heard 9 bunnies singing to 10 bunnies playing an instrument. Farmer Bo does not know where any of his bunnies are. Oh, look! Farmer Bo counts as the bunnies return home. 1-one, 2-two, 3-three . . . all the way to his 10-ten musical bunnies. Wow! How many bunnies is that?2

There are bunnies everywhere in Bunnies Near and Far. The situations the bunnies get into are common and recognizable by little kids. This is a fun way to learn how to count. The bunnies are cute though a tad plump and do some goofy stuff. Little kids will giggle at these bunnies on an apparent day off. I love the color of the book, which is predominately green with a few other colors tossed in on a few pages. The car is carrot orange and is somewhat shaped like a carrot. There even looks to be a smidge of green at the back of the car. I love details like this; things you would never expect. The theme of Bunnies Near and Far is more modern than most simple counting books and maybe that is what makes it so utterly charming.

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Still remember your colors. (Please do not tell me, I remember.) Let’s look at colors.

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orangr triangle fox.

Orange, Triangle, Fox

by Sarah Jones

Blue Manatee Press     4/01/2014

978-1-936669-21-9

Age 1 to 4     10 pages

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“Farmer Bo wants to know where his bunnies are. Some are near, some are far, some walking some in a car, and all are as cute as can be! Little ones will learn counting and opposites in this fun tale of bunnies on the go. Perfect for sharing: read and count along to find out what they’ll do next!”

Opening  

brown circle hedgehog”

Review

3

Orange, Triangle, Fox is about colors, shapes, and animals. What could be more perfect than all of these concepts in one book for the youngest children? Interestingly, the shape and color become the shape of the animal and its color. The title page is orange and the shape is a triangle. The fox is an orange triangle. I think this will delight kids. The forest animals include an owl, a fox, frog, and a turtle among others. Young children will simultaneously learn about three concepts—shapes, colors, and animals—learning to process multiple stimuli. They may start looking at the world around them for animals or other objects in a certain shape. The forest animals are adorable, maybe more so because of the shape they have become.

4

As a set, Orange, Triangle, Fox and Bunnies Near and Far help young children learn, or reinforce, their numbers, colors, and forest animals. The books are kid shaped, just the size for little hands to hold. The pages are thick to stand up to kids excitedly turning the page. Spilt milk and blobs of jelly should wipe right off the heavy, glossy pages. At ten pages, bedtime reading of Orange, Triangle, Fox and Bunnies Near and Far can start a tradition of reading and a lifelong love of books. Both of these books are nontraditional in form, but very much traditional in content. Little ones can learn about the numbers one through ten, and about colors, shapes, and animals. Four important elements your child needs to learn, packed into two adorable books with designs by Sarah Jones. Beautiful and functional, child-sized and childproof.

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Learn more about Sarah Jones books for young children HERE.

Buy Bunnies Near and Far at AmazonB&Nyour local bookstore.

Buy Orange, Triangle, Fox at AmazonB&Nyour local bookstore.

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Meet Sarah Jones at her profile at scbwi:  http://www.scbwi.org/members-public/sarah-jones

Find more board books at the website of Blue Manatee Press:  http://bluemanateepress.com/

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ORANGE TRIANGLE FOX and BUNNIES NEAR AND FAR. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Sarah Jones. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Blue Manatee Press, Cincinnati, OH.

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NEW FROM BLUE MANATEE PRESS.

Water, Baby Unplugged

Water, Baby Unplugged

Toast to Family

Toast to Family

Your Red Shoes

Your Red Shoes

 

 

 

 

saraah jones


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, NonFiction Tagged: animals, baby, basic concepts, bedtime, Blue Manatee Press, children's book reviews, colors, counting 1 to 10, home learning, Sarah Jones, shapes, story time, toddler

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17. #524 – PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. by M. J. Bronstein

photoplayPhotoPlay!: Doodle. Design. Draw.

by M. J. Bronstein

978-1-4521-2341-7

Chronicle Books     3/04/2014

Age 5 and up     128 pages

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“Wondrous and wacky photographs paired with quirky, clever prompts make PhotoPlay!a delightful invitation to imaginative exploration! Design an upside-down world, a passing parade, and an underwater garden. Draw a tasty birthday cake for Bob, a pet for Grace, and Ravi’s imaginary friend. This offbeat photo-based doodle book invites creative minds of all ages to draw outside the lens.”

Instructions

“What might you do with this book? Draw right on top of the photographs? Yes! Design something that seems goofy or impossible? Yes! Color outside the lines? Yes! Laugh out loud at my photographs? Yes! Laugh out loud at your drawings? Why not? With your pencils, crayons, markers, and your wide-open imagination, it’s your turn to step, jump, run, or dive right in!”

Review

PhotoPlay! is a coloring book for kids too old to color in a coloring book with fat ducks, round apples, and the number 4. If you think you’re too old, then PhotoPlay! is the doodle, design, and –YES—the coloring book for you.  (You are also wrong. You are never too old to color in any coloring book, even if it contains the number 8!)

Inside PhotoPlay! are interesting photographs for you to complete as you see fit. The back cover is a picture of a lake or maybe the ocean, with a few people standing in the water, a kid walking in the sand, followed by a dog, and one white empty sky. As an example, the author—who probably thought this scene was a bit dull—added a sailboat, giving those just standing in the water something to look at. She also added a big bright yellow sun with an equally big smile. And, my favorite, a dolphin jumping out of the water close to shore, with a great smile and raised dolphin eyebrow. This dolphin must be what caught the attention of the kid walking on shore. Easy, right?

back on ARC

Now it is your turn. What page do you go to next? How about somewhere you can draw yourself and all your friends or relatives looking out from fancy windows with old-fashioned shutters. Or, right next to that, two large Vintage Wedgewood-style frames. A family of four fits perfectly in the windows and two BFF’s in the two frames. You can always go a bit wild and make the windows a family of dinosaurs or aliens. These are yours to do with as you please. The entire book is yours to do with as you please.

You can write a story, illustrate a comic book, sketch a self-portrait, start a list, draw a song. The pictures range from ordinary cats and dogs, basketball hoops and gym equipment, to a lone seal in the middle of nowhere and a camera looking back at you. I think of these as unusual art or writing prompts. Every page is waiting for guidance, wanting to blossom and grow, needing to be completed—all by you and your imagination and willing hand. This is not your little sister’s coloring book. PhotoPlay! really cannot be adequately described. Everyone will start with the same photographs and then end with a book of unusual photographic art. There are no rules, no right or wrong, they just are. (This is when you say, “Oh, deep.”)

window

 

PhotoPlay! must be the unusual book of the year and will win awards. That stuff is all nice, but what do you care? As long as you have a copy of PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. your world is all set—or will be once you get out your art supplies and get to work building your own personal photographic art journal. Absolutely no one will have a PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. like your unique, one-of-a-kind photographic journal. Do I think this is a cool, original, stupendous, idea? You bet I do. Have I started my own personal one-of-a kind journal? You can make your PhotoPlay! journal a group effort, a school class contest, a personal journey, a family event. Make it whatever you want.

FREE! Pages from the book.   Check out the Gallery.  All this and More at THE PLAYGROUND.

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Check out PhotoPlay! Doodle. Design. Draw. HERE.

Buy your copy at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the photographer, M. J. Bronstein at her website:  http://www.marciejanbronstein.com/

Find more NEW Chronicle Books at the company website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/titles/kids-teens

.PHOTOPLAY! DOODLE. DESIGN. DRAW. Copyright © 2014 by M. J. Bronstein. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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NEW FROM CHRONICLE BOOKS

Cat Says Meow

Cat Says Meow

Daddy Wrong Legs

Daddy Wrong Legs

Peek-a Zoo!

Peek-a Zoo!

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All to be reviewed at KLR soon.

 

photoplay

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, NonFiction Tagged: art, art for kids, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, creativity prompts for kids, drawing, iimagination, M. J. Bronstein, photography

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18. #523 – Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis

dont dangle participle.

Don’t Dangle Your Participle

by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis, illustrator

Vanita Books       5/01/2014

978-1-938164-02-6

Age 4 to 8         24 pages

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“Words and pictures show children what a dangling participle is all about. Young readers are shown an incorrect sentence that has in it a dangling participle. They are then taught how to make the sentence read correctly. It is done in a cute and humorous way. The dangling participle loses its way and the children learn how to help it find its way back to the correct spot in the sentence. This is followed by some comical examples of sentences with dangling participles and their funny illustrations, followed by an illustration of the corrected sentence. Young readers will have fun recognizing this problem in sentence construction and learning how to fix it.”

Opening

“What on earth is a participle and how does it dangle? Okay. Okay. Let’s start from the beginning.”

Review

In Don’t Dangle Your Participle Vanita explains what a dangling participle is and explains how to fix the sentence so that the participle no longer dangles and mangles the sentence’s meaning. The participle comes before the noun to clarify it, but Vanita shows how easy it is for the modifier to get lost, ending up in the wrong place in the sentence. If you still don’t get it from that explanation, well, this is because explanations are easier to understand when Vanita adds in pictures to make her point.

And it works!

I know this because dangling participles (and dangling modifiers, but that is another story) have always confused me, BUT honest, after reading Don’t Dangle Your Participle, I understand what a dangling participle is and how to correct the sentence and send the raskly participle on its way to bother someone else’s sentence. Don’t Dangle Your Participle belongs in every school library and language arts classrooms. Using humorous illustrations, Vanita shows how the participle, when left to dangle, changes the meaning of the sentences often with disastrous consequences. Try this one.

  1. While riding his skateboard in the park, a deer almost ran into Lester.

1

What this sentence is saying is this:  When the deer rode his skateboard in the park, it almost ran into Lester. This is not what the sentence was supposed to mean. The dangling Participle—riding—changed the meaning of the sentence to something unintended and, as shown by the illustration, often something unintentionally funny. Vanita clearly shows kids how to fix these sentences.

Did you get the correct sentence? Maybe another illustration will help.

1a

Correct: While riding his skateboard in the park, Lester was almost hit by a deer.

Vanita has a canny way of helping kids understand English and its many rules. She effectively uses humor, which can help a child remember a concept. The more senses involved in learning, the better the material will be remembered. Vanita easily explains a subject, breaking it down so that kids can get the concept quickly. Don’t Dangle Your Participle may be her best language arts book yet.

Don’t Dangle Your Participle can help teachers explain sentence structure in general and the dangling participle. Many of Vanita’s books make great adjunct texts, especially in a homeschooling situation. For those kids that like to learn, Vanita Books make learning loads of fun. Don’t Dangle Your Participle helps the teacher and student, and charitable organizations—all net profits go to select charities. Try one more. Are you ready?

  1. Melting in the hot sun, Ida rushed to finish her ice cream.

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This sentence says, As Ida was melting, she rushed to finish her ice cream. The dangling participle—melting—changed the meaning of this sentence. The writer is trying to say, the ice cream was melting, but darn it, he dangled the participle!

I bet you figured out the correct sentence.  Just in case, here it is with a visual aide.

3a

Correct: Melting in the hot sun, the ice cream had to be finished quickly

English is a difficult language. The rules are numerous and onerous. Kids need all the help they can get in understanding how to write English. Don’t Dangle Your Participle can be that help and should be available to every school child by way of the classroom and the library. Vanita explains the participle—a verb that acts like an adjective—and what happens when the participle no longer comes before the proper noun—it dangles. Her use of fun and funny illustrations help drive home her explanations. If I can finally understand these dangerous dangling participles, kids will be able to and probably faster. Use Don’t Dangle Your Participle can be used at home and at school to increase your child’s ability to write English properly. A skill that will help children their entire life.

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Learn more about Don’t Dangle Your Participle HERE.

Buy Don’t Dangle Your Participle at AmazonB&NVanita Booksyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Vanita Oelschlager at her website:  http://vanitabooks.com/MeetVanita.html

Meet the illustrator, Mike DeSantis at his website:  http://www.mikedesantis.com/picblog/

Find more wonderful Vanita Books at the publisher’s website:  http://vanitabooks.com/index.html

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DON’T DANGLE YOUR PARTICIPLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Vanita Oelschlager. Illustrations copyright © 014 by Mike DeSantis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Vanita Books, Akron, OH.

. ALSO BY VANITA BOOKS

 

The Pullman Porter

The Pullman Porter

Knees

Knees

Farfalla

Farfalla

Ariel Bradley

Ariel Bradley

Magic Words

Magic Words

 

 

 

.

.

 

Reviews: The Pullmn PorterKneesFarfallaAriel BradleyMagic Words

dangle participle


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: children's book reviews, dangling participles, English language, language arts for kids, Mike DeSantis, sentence structure, vanita books, Vanita Oelschlager

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19. #515 – Nate Rocks the City by Karen Pokras Toz

Today is a rather long post. Eleven-year-old Nate Rockledge, his older sister Abby, and his once best friend Lisa Crane are here for a short interview followed by a review of the new–and the final–Nate Rocks book: Nate Rocks the City.        Let’s get started.

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Today Kid Lit Reviews welcomes Nathan Rockledge (aka Nate Rocks), his older sister, Abby, and his know-it-all classmate, Lisa Crane. They are all characters in the Nate Rocks series, the newest being Nate Rocks the CitySince this is the last book, I thought it would be fun if you each talked about your favorite moment from the series. Who wants to go first?

Lisa Crane :  Oh!! Me! Me!

Yes of course, Lisa, go ahead.

Lisa : Well … In Nate Rocks the Boat, there was this scene where Nathan was leaving for summer camp and his parents were giving him a going away party…

Nathan: Oh no! Really? Do we have to bring that up here?

Lisa: Hey! She said I could talk about my favorite moment from any of the books, right?

Nathan, please, Lisa, cont–

Lisa: So anyway, we were playing horseshoes – Nathan and me – and of course Nathan was missing them all, while I was getting them all. So I kindly offered to show Nathan how it’s done, only he got a little too close to me, and BAM the next thing you know, he’s on the ground crying like a big old baby. He says it’s because I hit him, but I think it’s because I beat him at horseshoes.

Nathan: You gave me a black eye!!

 Abby: It was awesome.

 Nathan: Can we move on?

Sure, Nathan. How abou–

 Abby: Ooh – I have one!

 You characters sure are, um, ready. Abby?

 Abby: So in Nate Rocks the World, Nathan was trying to get back at me for – well that really doesn’t matter – anyway, he put food coloring in my shampoo bottle, but Dad wound up using it instead of me, and he wound up with PURPLE hair! HAHAHAHA! It was so funny, and Nathan got in so much trouble.

 Nathan: You got in trouble, too.

 Abby: Not as much as you though – it was classic.

 Nathan: So far, this interview isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it was going to be.

 I’m sorry, Nathan. You’re the star, so what is your favorite moment?

 Nathan: Hmmm, that’s such a hard question because I had so many great moments in every book! I really did love going to New York City in this last book though. I got to save the city from aliens, I jousted with knights in the museum, and the last scene – well let’s just say if you’ve read Nate Rocks the World, I had a chance to go full circle. I don’t really want to give anymore away than that. Overall though, the entire series was a blast. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did – even the parts with Abby and Lisa.

 Lisa: “Hey!”

Abby: “Not funny, Nate.”

Nathan: Thanks for reading and thanks for having us on your blog today!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

rocks city.

Nate Rocks the City

by Karen Pokras Toz

Grand Daisy Press    2/14/2014

978-0-9848608-9- 0

Age 7 to 12     142 pages

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Hey New York! Are you ready for Nate Rocks? Fifth grader Nathan Rockledge has been counting down the days—and meals—until his class trip to New York City. Now that the big event is finally here, he can barely stand the excitement. After all, isn’t this what being a fifth grader is all about? Oh sure, his Mom is one of the chaperones, his annoying sister Abby is tagging along, and that know-it-all classmate, Lisa, will be there as well. However, none of that matters. Not when he’ll be with his best friends, Tommy and Sam.

While seeing the sights, his teacher wants his class to take notes, but Nathan has other ideas. With paper and pencil in hand, Nathan prefers to doodle, transforming himself into Nate Rocks, boy hero. Amid ninja pigeons to fend off, aliens to attack, and the baseball game of the century to save, will Nate Rocks be able to save the day one more time?

Opening

“The piercing sound of the house alarm rips through the neighborhood as our car pulls into the driveway. ‘Nate! Come quick!’ Mrs. Jensen screams over the sound of the siren.”

The Story

Nate’s fifth grade class heads to New York City for their class trip. The chaperones include Nate’s mom and her best friend, Mrs. Crane, mother of the most annoying girl in the entire world—Lisa. Thanks to a Philadelphia Philly baseball player, the kids are getting two extra days and tickets the Phillies versus Yankees baseball game at the end of their trip. Nate counts his days by meals, starting with eleven meals. Nate savors every New York meal, even in the hotel cafeteria.

The group goes to Central Park, The City Zoo, the Statue of Liberty, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art before the final trip to Yankee Stadium. The last two days of the trip, Nate’s dad and older sister join the group. Mrs. Cogin, Nate’s teacher, gives each middle grader a journal to write notes about their trip as reference for an essay they will write later. Not much for words, Nate tends to draw his notes. Several times during the trip, Nate envisions himself as Nate Rocks, a hero to those around him. As Nate begins drawing the area around him changes. People are gone or settings change. Always, someone grabs him and an exchange like this occurs,

“Nate! Thank goodness we found you!”

“Me? Why me?”

“Why because you’re Nate Rocks, of course!”

Nate does whatever needs done, such as stop robotic birds from destroying New York City. The urgent task that only Nate Rocks can accomplished is competed and then this same adoring thanks occurs,

“You did it, Nate! You saved me/us!”

Finally, someone sharply brings Nate back to reality, reminding him that he is holding up the group or just annoying his mother. The last day of Nate’s trip to New York City culminates with a baseball game, the Philadelphia Phillies against the New York Yankees. Nate Rockledge goes out in Nate Rocks fashion one last time.

Review

Nate Rocks the City ends the Nate Rocks series. At age ten, Nate rocked the world and the boat and at age eleven, he rocked the school and now the city. In each one Nate envisions himself a hero, his current surroundings melting into a different scene and situations only an imaginative eleven-year-old boy can outwit. Nate’s biggest problem is fifth grader Lisa Crane. Lisa and Nate have spent a lot of time together as they grew up, thanks to their mothers being best friends. Nate sees Lisa as annoying and he is correct.

Ms. Toz writes like a pro. Punctuation errors, capitalization, spelling, and typos are all missing from Nate Rocks the City. One look at the credit page explains why the text is clean. Ms. Toz hired an editor from a company called There for You. Nate’s last story flows well from one scene to the next. His creativeness shines and makes his drawings come alive in his mind, on his pad, and for the reader. Ms. Toz thoroughly researched New York City and its sites before writing Nate Rocks the City. From the exhibits at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to the shops in Times Square, she has the details.

It is odd that both dad and Abby, Nick’s fifteen-year-old sister, would join the group midway through the fifth grade trip, like it were actually a family vacation. I suppose it was a way of getting all the usual characters into the story and for that, it is hard to place blame. Dad working as another chaperone at least fit nicely into the story, when he wasn’t getting the boys lost in the city, but Abby really made no sense.

All through the story—and in every Nate Rocks series—Nate envisions himself the hero of one situation or another. It is easy to know when Nick goes off on one of his tangents! You will find an exclamation point at the end of nearly every sentence! Nick sees these adventures as something exciting! At Yankee Stadium, Nate finally becomes that hero, exclamations not needed. I like the idea of Nate behind what happened, but the scene did not stand up. I would love to explain why, but it is the ending and I have no right to ruin it for anyone.

Nate Rocks the City is an enjoyable story with terrific imagination, too perfect annoying mom behavior, and a giant sense of fun kids will enjoy. The story is a fast read. Not wanting to leave the story helps this along. Kids will love Nate Rocks the City, whether as a fan of the series or a first time reader. Nate knows how to put on a show. Like the others, Nate Rocks the City can stand on its own, but read in order is more fun as Nate gets better with each book. The series is perfect for boys. Even young reluctant readers will find the Nate Rocks series worth keeping. I am sorry to see Nick leave us, but he does so in fine Nate fashion. Nate does indeed Rock the City!

Check out the Nate Rocks Series HERE.

Buy Nate Rocks the City at AmazonB&Nauthor websiteyour neighborhood bookstore.

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Meet the author, Karen Pokras Toz at her website:  www.karentoz.com

Find other great books at Grand Daisy Press website: http://www.granddaisypress.com/ 

You can also find Karen Pokras Toz here:

Blog: http://kptoz.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenptoz

Twitter: www.twitter.com/karentoz

Amazon: http://bit.ly/amznNRTC

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/bnNRTCity

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5009570.Karen_Pokras_Toz

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NATE ROCKS THE CITY. Test copyright © 2014 by Karen Pokras Toz.

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ALSO BY KAREN POKRAS TO

#1 Nate Rocks the World

#1 Nate Rocks the World

#2 Nate Rocks the Boat

#2 Nate Rocks the Boat

#3 Nate Rocks the School

#3 Nate Rocks the School

 

 

on sale! 99¢ through March 21, 2014

 

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

Millicent Marie Is Not My Name

Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

Pie and Other Brilliant Ideas

 

 

 

 

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nate rocks city

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Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Digital Book, Series Tagged: chapter books, children's book reviews, fifth grade school trip, Grand Daisy Press, Karen Pokras Toz, Lady Liberty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, reluctant readers, Times Square

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20. #516 – About Habitats: Forests by Cathryn Sills & John Sills

About Crustaceans Jkt/PLCAbout Habitats: Forests

by Cathryn Sills & John Sills

Peachtree Publishers     3/01/2-14

978-1-56145-734-2

Age 3 to 7        50 pages

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“With the help of beautifully detailed paintings by noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, the author describes the characteristics of different types of forests—from the cold boreal forests of the northern hemisphere to the warm tropical forests near the equator—and shows how various species of animals and plants have adapted to life in these habitats.”

Opening

“Forests are large areas of land covered with many trees.”

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Review

Forests, filled with trees and animals, are the life force of our world. Trees protect fresh water, keeping it clean, pure, and drinkable. Trees also give us oxygen. A map shown just before the text and illustrations shows the type of forests and the area where each forest can be found. A forest has many large areas of trees, some tall and some small, but all are important.

The beautifully detailed illustrations show children what those trees look like. Included are the animals that live in the trees and the forest floors, all so children who may never see a tropical forest, or a boreal forest, can envision one with the help of About Habitats: Forests. Colorful birds and flowers accent the many different trees in the 17 full-pages of paintings. Simple sentences with simplified information bring the subject of forests to the understanding of young children.

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Older children need more complex sentences and detailed information. Turning to the back, these children, and teachers, will find information younger children may not yet be able to comprehend. Each numbered plate, accompanied by a smaller print of the illustrations, includes additional information. For example, here is the second spread followed by the back information for this plate (#2).

“Tall trees make up the top layer, which is called the canopy.”

“Different kinds of plants grow in each layer. The three main layers are the forest floor, the understory, and the canopy. Tropical forests often have a fourth one called the emergent layer. It is made up of the tallest trees that grow above the canopy.”

The Sills have produced another winner in their wildlife series for children of all ages. Six books currently make up the About Habitats series. In addition to Forests are the following five subjects: Deserts, Grasslands, Mountains, Wetlands, and Oceans. About Habitats should be sitting on the shelf of every elementary school library as reference materials for both students and teachers. Esthetically, About Habitats are beautiful illustrations with bright detailed birds and flowers in some, and exact details in all.

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Information on the About Habitats series books HERE.

Buy About Habitats: Forests or any of the series at AmazonB&NPeachtree Publishersyour neighborhood bookstore.

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Meet author Cathryn Sills at Jacketflap:  http://www.jacketflap.com/cathryn-sill/24246

Meet illustrator John Sills at his website:  http://www.johnsill.com/

Check out more great boos at Peachtree Publishers website:  http://peachtree-online.com/index.php/about.html

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ABOUT HABITATS:  FORESTS. Text copyright © 2014 by Cathryn Sills. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by John Sills. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

 

ABOUT HABITATS series

Mountains

Mountains

Deserts

Deserts

Grasslands

Grasslands

 

 

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Wetlands

Wetlands

Oceans

Oceans

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about habitats forests

Peachtree Book Blog Tour

About Habitats:  Forests

Monday, 3/17/14
Jean Little Library

Tuesday, 3/18/14
Tolivers to Texas

Wednesday, 3/19/14
Chat with Vera

Thursday, 3/20/14

Kid Lit Reviews    ME, ME, ME!

Friday, 3/21/14
Archimedes Notebook

Geo Librarian


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: boreal forests, Cathryn Sills, children's book reviews, forests, habitats, John Sills, Peachtree Publishers, tropical forests

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21. #517 & 518 – The Sugary Sherburts by Heather Ellis, age 10 AND The Thing about Things by Cheryl Chen, age 17

CaptureThe Sugary Sherburts

by Heather Ellis, age 10

illustrated by James Ellis

978-1-48950776-1

Age 5 to 8   28 pages

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“Herbert Sugary-Sherburt has just finished his magnificent chocolate rock masterpiece. When he gets home from work, there is a big disaster at the chocolate factory. How did it start raining hundreds and thousands in Thornton? And how on earth did the Sugary-Sherburts get involved? Kit and Kat are on the case. Will they be able to save the families and their homes in time?”

Opening

“A long time ago in a very frosty village called Thornton, there lived a family called the Sugary-Sherburts.”

The Story

The Sherburt family lived in a small village supported by one industry, chocolate. Herbert Sherburt worked at the chocolate factory in the village. One day, after constructing a gigantic ball of chocolate, Hebert strolled home. Later that evening, a commotion started outdoors and ended with the huge chocolate ball Herbert had made at work ramming through the front of his house. With half of the house was gone, Mom Charlotte needed to think of a solution because the kids (Kit, 6 and Kat, 7), could not get to sleep until the house was fixed. She sent her children out to collect as much candy as they could carry, which Charlotte used the candy to rebuild their home. Everything was fantastic . . . until cold Thornton became unexpectedly warm.

Review  [continue reading]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

thing about things coverThe Thing About Things

by Cheryl Chen, age 17

978-1-49440746-9

Age 7 to 9   30 pages

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“There is nothing worse than being ordinary. At least, according to seven-year-old Joey Jones. When Joey gets picked not first, not last, but right in the middle for playing dodgeball at school, he feels unspecial and unwanted. But through an encounter with a certain monster who has been hiding in his bedroom all along, Joey learns that everyone, including Thing, is special in their own way.”

Opening

“The kids of Mrs. Larson’s second grade class were splitting up into dodgeball teams that day on the playground.”

The Story

Seven-year-old Joey finds himself picked just before Sheldon—“Smell-don” chosen last—for a game of dodgeball at school. Joey wanted to be first choice and that thought had him tossing and turning in his hammock that night. Joey loved his new hammock. He could see everywhere, even under. Then came the noises.

“Thump. Thump. Thump.”

As Joey watches, the moonlight turned into The Thing. Thing is not a scary monster despite his seven eyes and extra-large fangs, but Joey doesn’t yet know this. He runs for the door tripping on a toy instead. Thing tells Joey he had a bloody knee and then scoops him up. Joey bites down hard on Thing’s arm upsetting the monster, who was afraid Joey wanted to eat him. Joey tells Thing to go home tp his family. Thing tells Joey Things do not have families.

“As a Thing, you are just like every other Thing.”

Thing sadly says he is nothing special but Joey protests saying Thing was the only Thing living in his bedroom.

Review [continue reading]


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Picture Book Tagged: Cheryl Chen, chocolate factories, Heather Ellis, James Ellis, monsters

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22. #519 – At the Same Time Around the World by Clotilde Perrin

same time aaround world.

At the Same Moment, Around the World

by Clotilde Perrin

Chronicle Books    3/11/2014

9778-1-4521-2208-3

Age 4 to 8      36 pages

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“Discover Benedict drinking hot chocolate in Paris, France, Mitko chasing the school bus in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Khanh having a little nap in Hanoi, Vietnam. With each turn of the page, learn what people around the world are doing at the same exact moment.”

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Opening

“It is six o’clock in the morning in Dakar, Senegal. Keita wakes up early to help his father count the fish count during the night.”

The Story

At the Same Moment, Around the World takes the reader around the world—time zone by time zone—to see what people around the world are doing at the same time. What the world is doing at 6 o’clock in the morning, Greenwich Time, connects us in a way many never consider. Each turn of the page takes the reader into a new time zone—one hour later, yet the same time as when the story began—traveling eastward from Dakar, Senegal.

As Keita counts fish in Dakar, Senegal, Nadia watches the construction of a new building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Allen and Kiana watch the sun set in Hawaii, and a baby is born at 1 o’clock in the morning in Lima, Peru. Finally, bringing the reader full circle, a cruise ship sails mid-Atlantic Ocean at 5 o’clock in the morning. In Dakar, Senegal, Keita is counting fish with his father.

Review

Originally published in France (2011), At the Same Moment, Around the World is a gorgeous book with the illustrations picturing early morning to early morning. The left side of each spread flows into the right side. Time gradually moves on, or does it? Time is abstract. What is moving is the Earth and though 6 o’clock in one country is 7 o’clock in another, they are really the same moment in time. This is an abstract concept that may be difficult for kids to grasp right away. Some will ask, “Why isn’t it just the same time?” That is a good question. Teachers in science classes, what is the answer? I think At the Same Moment, Around the World could help explain this phenomenon.

new

Kids will marvel at this book. The illustrations flow from morning to night with ease. The details in each time zone are fascinating. They give a clue to the country. In Dubai, where construction has never really stopped, the image is of a construction site. In Hawaii, where the sunsets are amazing, that is what we see there. The author also includes a world map that marks each child’s location. What are missing are the time zones on this beautiful pastel map.

The illustrations have enough detail that without the text it would be easy to understand the time of day. The book’s large rectangular shape, allowing for the sky’s inclusion, also helps. At the Same Moment, Around the World shows kids—and adults—that the world has solidarity. One thing to note:  there is a white bird with an orange beak in nearly every illustration, as if following the author as artist from place to place

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I love the illustrations showing what people are doing at the same moment in time, depending on where they are living. While I write this review at 9 o’clock in the evening, someone in Paris, France is tossing and turning in bed (2 o’clock), and in Hawaii, the early dinner crowd is sitting down to eat (4 o’clock). All these things are happening At the Same Moment, Around the World.  There is one last note: in looking at the author’s website, she has the book, folded by page but not torn apart. Placed end-to-end, Ms. Perrin makes a circle.  I think this is terrific and couldn’t let the review pass without mentioning it–or showing you.

© Clotilde Perrin  http://www.clotildeperrin.net/livres/livre1.html

© Clotilde Perrin
http://www.clotildeperrin.net/For a young view, read Erik’s review HERE!

Read a younger review by Erik, age 11.

Learn more about At the Same Moment, Around the World HERE.

Buy the book at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksyour neighborhood bookstore.

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Meet Clotilde Perrin at her website: http://www.clotildeperrin.net/ 

Find more great books at Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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AT THE SAME MOMENT, AROUND THE WORLD. Text and illustrations copyright (2011) by Clotilde Perrin. Translation copyright © 2014 by Chronicle Books. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Chronicle Books, San Francisco CA.

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Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Clotilde Perrin, Greenwich Mean Time, picture book, time zones

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23. #520 – Elephants at the Airport: Once Upon a Time in Zimbabwe by Steve Wolfson & Heleen Brulot

EA Frnt Cover-1sm.

Elephants At The Airport: Once Upon a Time in Zimbabwe

by Steve Wolfson & Heleen Brulot

Argami Productions     11/25/2013

978-0-9798324-5-1

Age 4 to 8   32 pages

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“Nicki is not so happy about having to move to Zimbabwe, Africa. She is not sure what to expect and is truly surprised when one of the first things she sees is an elephant at the airport.”

Opening

“Nikki thought she was waking up, but maybe it was a dream. Why else were her parents sleeping in her bedroom and why she was sleeping sitting up in a chair.”

The Story

Nikki’s mother gets a job that takes the family to Zimbabwe, Africa. Like most young kids, Nikki does not want to leave her home and her friends. She wonders how she will hang her posters on a mud wall. She is also fearful of all the wild animals that she believes will be everywhere. Nikki might be right. At the airport an elephant—a green elephant with red and yellow spots—takes her suitcase off the belt and walks away with it. Dad insists there are no elephants in the city.

In her new home, Nikki sees a menagerie of animals come through the bushes defining her backyard. Rhinos, lions, zebras, baboons, and an ostrich run and play in front of Nikki’s bedroom window. Dad sternly insists there are no wild animals in the city. Nikki spends all her time playing with the elephant from the airport, much to her parent’s dismay. They never see any of the animals that hide in the bushes until Nikki is alone.

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Review

The first reading of Elephants at the Airport was confusing. Why could only Nikki see the animals that were real enough to play with her? The title on the cover states, Elephants at the Airport and nothing more, not even the author and illustrator’s name (that is perfectly okay). A closer look at the credit and title pages shows a subtitle: Once Upon a Time in Zimbabwe. Now I get it. The story is a fable. Nikki has no desire to move to Africa and is terrified of the unknown. To make things worse, a green elephant—with red and yellow dots—grabs her suitcase. Dad refuses to believe his child.

Zimbabwe is not a place to fear, but a magical place for kids where the animals entertain Nikki in front of her bedroom window. The story lacks development. Mainly Nikki and her father are in a stalemate over wild animals in the city in which they live. Dad even takes Nikki to a game park—actually a mechanism to end the story. Nikki declares the elephants were great, but her favorite is still the airport elephant, which causes her dad to yell,

“There are NO elephants at the airport!”

Nikki replies that he is right; the elephant is now at their home. She then runs out to play with Airport. Nikki happily skips out of the house and her parents look out to see their daughter with something green and wonder . . . could it be? An acceptable ending I suppose. Kids will laugh and so might their parents.

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To me, the ending just tells me the inevitable. An easy ending that does not develop the protagonist. Nikki should change by story’s end, but she changes on the first morning. It seems the character that might change is dad, a secondary character. Does he now believe wild animals are in the city? Does he now believe a green elephant with red and yellow spots plays with his daughter? Nikki folded her fears and her lack of enthusiasm for living in a new country too soon in the story.

Young children will like the imaginary playmate aspect of the story. They will like Airport, maybe even more so because of his coloring. They will most likely not care that the story is poorly constructed and in need of a good edit. Though they might want to know where the other elephants are at the airport.
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I love the cover and really like the elephant. The artist draws a nice, realistic elephant. The illustrations are good. A few have what looks like paint smeared across the paper, making the image difficult to see. I think this is supposed to indicate speed—of the animals as they play. A few other images are mostly shades of brown with a bit of color, making it difficult to see what the image represents. That very well could be a printing problem, but in the end, whatever the problem, these spreads are not good. It really is a shame because the illustrations are extremely good.

[After watching the trailer, it is clear that the problem is with printing. The illustrations, every one of them, are gorgeous and detailed clearly in the trailer, but muddled on the page.]

Elephants at the Airport: Once Upon a Time in Zimbabwe takes a young girl out of her familiar surroundings and places her into a strange land of wild animals. Nikki quickly recovers from her fears and plays with the elephant from the airport. Dad is not happy, thinking his girl is isolating herself. She has a great time playing with what might or might not be an imaginary friendly elephant. I like the premise of the story. Elephants at the Airport has wonderful story potential but it needs work before I would purchase this adorable green elephant.

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Learn more about Elephants at the Airport: Once Upon a Time in Zimbabwe HERE.

Get a copy of Elephants at the Airport at AmazonB&Nbook’s websiteask for it at your neighborhood bookstore.

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Meet the author, Steve Wolfson at his website: http://www.wolfsonsworld.com/ 

Meet the illustrator, Heleen Brulot at her website:  http://www.brulot.net/

Check out other books by Argami Productions at its website:  http://www.argamiproductions.com/

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ELEPHANTS AT THE AIRPORT: ONCE UPON A TIME IN ZIMBABWE, Text copyright © 2013 by Steve Wolfson. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Heleen Brulot. Reproduced by permission of Argami Productions, Weston, FL.

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elephant at airport


Filed under: Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Africa, Argami Productions, children's book reviews, creativity, elephants, family, Heleen Brulot, imagination, relationships, Steve Wolfson, wild animals, Zimbabwe

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24. #521 – The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story by Gerald Hausman & Ramon Shiloh

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The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood: A Creek Indian Story

by Gerald Hausman &  Ramon Shiloh, illustrator

Wisdom Tales Press       10/01/2013

978-1-937786-12-0

Age 4 to 8       36 pages

“Based on a traditional story from the Creek Indians of northern Florida and Georgia, ‘The Otter, the Spotted Frog, & the Great Flood’ tells the tale of Listener the Otter, the only animal that heeds the warnings of Spotted Frog. Ridiculed by the other animals, Listener begins to build a raft to try and survive the impending disaster. But will his effort be enough?”                                                                     

Opening

“There were two animal people who lived in the long ago. One was Listener, a river otter. The other was Honors Himself, a buffalo chief.”

The Story

In the span of four days, Listener and Honors Himself would take different actions upon hearing the prophecy of Spotted Frog. Listener was the only one who had the ability to understand the frogs’ singing. Spotted Frog sang,

“A Great Flood is coming.

Soon it will cover the land.

I sing so that you can save yourselves.”

Honors Himself, who claims to hate frogs, throws Spotted Frog into the fire, but no matter how many times he does this, Spotted Frog remains unharmed. Honors Himself refuses to believe the prophecy though Other Woman tries to understand but can see no sign of rain. Listener reacted differently. He ass Spotted Frog to repeat the prophecy and then does exactly what Spotted Frog tells him to do—build a raft.

Honors Himself calls Listener a fool and the other animals laugh at Listener. Through it all, Listener continues to build his raft and follows all of what Spotted Frog tells him. Soon it starts to rain, lightly at first and then heavier. The ground swells with water and the swamp becomes a great lake. Water covers the land and rises. What becomes of  the other animals, Listener, Honors Himself, and Other Woman?

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

Review

The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood:  A Creek Indian Story tells the story of the flood and Noah’s Ark. It is an original story from the Creek Indians. Other Native Indian tribes have similar stories. Listener follows the prophet Spotted Frog, just as Noah followed God’s orders to build an ark. Honors Himself is the perfect name for those that followed only what they could see or knew, rejecting everything else. Honors Himself becomes so upset he tries to kill the prophet Spotted Frog. That reminds me of a saying, from who I do not know, that says not to kill the messenger.

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

The story also explains how man—the two-leggeds—came to exist. There is so much symbolism in The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood that this book is best for middle grades and above. I think younger children will understand the straightforward story of the Great Flood but not that of the birth of people—the two-leggeds. The transformation of Listener to a man might even test middle grade students. The Great Flood is the majority of the story and it is interesting. Listener ties his raft to a strong tree and rises up to the dome of the sky, safe from passing through it and never returning. With the rope, Listener connects to the tall, mighty oak—a  higher spirit, who in turn protects Listener

Teachers might find The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood a good book when teaching Native Indian traditions and teachings. This book also lends itself to the study of symbolism. The illustrations visually interpret the story giving the book an unmistakable folktale style. With the text, The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood will entertain the reader while instructing on the power of Mother Nature and of listening to her, to those more knowledgeable than oneself, and to a Higher Power. Animal stories have a way of capturing a child’s attention, so it is no surprise the Creek Indians used animals in this story.

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Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

I found The Otter, the Spotted Frog & the Great Flood to be an interesting story that required a slower, more thoughtful reading, and even a second reading to fully comprehend all of the symbolism used. This is a beautiful book. The bright illustrations that will catch a child’s eye, just as the use of animals will hold their attention. The heavier pages will withstand grabbing by little hands.

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Learn more about The Otter, the Spotted Frog, & the Great Flood HERE.

Buy The Otter, the Spotted Frog, &the Great Flood at AmazonB&NWisdom TalesiTunesyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Gerald Hausman at his website:  http://www.geraldhausman.com/

Meet the illustrator, Ramon Shiloh at his website:  http://www.ramonshiloh.com/

Find other great children’s books at the Wisdom Tales Press website:  http://wisdomtalespress.com/

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THE OTTER, THE SPOTTED FROG & THE GREAT FLOOD: A CREEK INDIAN STORY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gerald Hausman. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Ramon Shiloh. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Wisdom Tales Press, Bloomington, IN.

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otter spotted frog and great flood

 


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Middle Grade, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, Creek Indians, folktales, Gerald Hausman, Great Flood, Native Indians, Ramon Shiloh, Wisdom Tales Press

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25. #522 – Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome by Bill Harley

charlie bumpers nice gnome.

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome

by Bill Harley & Adam Gustavson, illustrator

Peachtree Publishers     3/01/2014

978-1-56145-740-3

Age 7 to 10   167 pages

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“Charlie Bumpers has his heart set on playing the role of the evil Sorcerer in the fourth grade play. He’s even got the laugh down pat: Mwa-ha-ha-ha! But his dreams of villainous stardom go up in smoke when he finds out that Mrs. Burke has cast him as the Nice Gnome! Determined to rectify this terrible injustice, Charlie concocts one plan after another, but nothing seems to work.

“To make matters worse, his dad has assigned chores to all the kids in the family and Charlie’s job is walking Ginger – the diggiest, sniffiest, and poopiest dog in the universe. Can Charlie deal with these challenges without causing havoc all around him?”

Opening

“Are you ready, thespians?” Mrs. Burke asked. “Are your desks cleared?”

The Story

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome is the second book in this early reader series. The first was Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year, who happened to be Mrs. Burke. This time around Mrs. Burke’s Empire—her term—will be acting out a play for parents and others . . . at night! Since Mrs. aaa use2Burke read The Sorcerer’s Castle t the class, Charlie has been set on playing Kragon, the evil sorcerer. Kragon has the best line in the whole play.

“You horrible people! My plans are ruined! My dreams are ruined! I am ruined!”

Mrs. Burke handed out the scripts. At the top was your role. Charlie couldn’t believe his eyes. Mrs. Burke gave him the role of The Nice Gnome. Charlie would rather be on the stage crew and move sets around than be The Nice Gnome. The problem, as Charlie saw it, The Nice Gnome was ridiculously nice and Charlie does not want to be a nice guy. He did not want anyone laughing at him. He had to get out of this role.

Review

Charlie has a dilemma. Playing The Nice Gnome in Mrs. Burke’s fourth grade class play would be horrible. He tries to ask for a new part. Charlie even tries rewriting his role. Just as in book one, Charlie must somehow make it through Mrs. Burke. Last time he was afraid she would remember the shoe that almost hit her. Now, he must face her about a terrible part. Mrs. Burke is the perfect character to deal with Charlie’s angst. She is stern, maybe a little too s21tern, but tempers this with kindness that the kids rarely see. Mrs. Burke is a good teacher and a good role model. She also reminds me of most every elementary teacher I ever had. Except for maybe her exploding fingers that get everyone’s immediate attention.

Charlie also has some aggravation at home. Charlie thinks it is unfair that his job means walking Ginger first thing after school, while older brother Matt can read a video game magazine. Little sister Mabel—AKA Squid—wants to walk Ginger but is too young and unable to control the dog. Matt refuses to help or switch jobs with Charlie, but he does make a point of reminding him to walk the dog. The three siblings are realistic in their attitudes toward one another. They pick on and at each other, but run to the rescue if someone else picks on them.

The actual play is the best part of the story, as it should be. At times silly and then hilarious, Charlie comaaa use doges to an understanding about The Nice Gnome and Mrs. Burke. Charlie’s part has him on stage as Samantha Grunsky’s helper. Samantha is bossy and a know-it-all, and she sits in the chair behind Charlie. Charlie’s best friend, Tommy, has the other fourth grade teacher.

I enjoyed Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome. The story is a fast read, due mainly to my refusing to stop turning pages. Getting to the play was worth the wait. Kids will enjoy Charlie and will be able to identify with him. Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome has several scenes kids will find hilarious such as Charlie dealing with a neighbor woman whose lawn Ginger prefers to use for “his business.” The illustrations wonderfully capture Charlie’s fourth grade frustrations. Included are the first six pages to the next book in the series: Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull.

.Learn more about Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome HERE.

Buy Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome orCharlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year at AmazonB&NPeachtreeyour local bookstore.

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Meet the author, Bill Harley at his website:  http://www.billharley.com/

Meet the illustrator, Adam Gustavson at his website:   http://www.adamgustavson.com/

Find other early readers at the Peachtree Publisher website:   http://peachtree-online.com/

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE REALLY NICE GNOME. Text copyright © 2014 by Bill Harley. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam Gustavson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

COMING FALL 2014
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charlie bumpers nice gnome

 Peachtree Publisher’s Book Blog Tour

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome

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Monday, 3/24 

Sally’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, 3/25

 The World of Peachtree Publishers
Wednesday, 3/26 

Shelf Media Group
Thursday, 3/27

 Kid Lit Reviews     YOU ARE HERE!
Friday, 3/28 

Geo Librarian


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Early Reader, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Series Tagged: Adam Gustavson, Bill Harley, children's book reviews, family, Fourth grade, gnomes, Peachtree Publishers, relationships, school plays

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