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1. Caldecott Honor-Winning John Rocco Talks About Blizzard

John Rocco discusses his newest picture book, Blizzard, the companion to your Caldecott Honor-winning Blackout.

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2. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein | Book Review

In Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, author Chris Grabenstein cleverly captures reader’s imaginations by combining the suspense of a thrilling game with the majestic nostalgia of great libraries, librarians, books and authors of past and present.

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3. Creepy short stories: mysteries & thrillers for ages 10-13

I have never liked horror movies. Never. Ever. But I know that scary, frightening stories have a real appeal for many people. So how do I recommend them for my students? It's a challenge -- especially gauging that right balance between spine-tingling-fright and oh-no-way-too-frightening-for-10-year-olds.

Here are four short-story collections I am recommending to students. Please be warned: if they are too scary, stop reading. That's what I've done in many cases.

Cabinet of Curiosities
36 Tales Brief and Sinister
by Stefan Bachmann, Claire Legrand, Katherine Catmull and Emma Trevayne
HarperCollins, 2014
Podcast + Website
Your local library
Amazon
ages 10-13
Four "curators"--Bachmann, Legrand, Catmull and Trevayne--have gathered together ominous tales, organizing them into different themes ranging from tricks to cake, luck to travel. There are ghost stories, monster stories and bizarre stories. Some have direct villains, while others set a creepy tone without letting you exactly see what's menacing the main character.

The curators have a terrific website Enter the Cabinet with many tales, both ones from the cabinet and others freshly added. My current favorite is The Door Downstairs, with a courageous heroine, eerie setting, and psychological themes. For extra creepy fun, check out the podcasts the curators recorded. Katherine Catmull's recording of "Dark Valentine" is enough to haunt my dreams tonight.

Here are some other favorite collections of frightening stories:
Guys Read: Thriller
edited by Jon Scieszka
Walden Pond / Harper Collins, 2011
Your local library
Amazon
ages 9-12
Jon Scieszka's collection has great kid appeal, with contributions from 10 different superb authors. I loved Matt de la Peña's story "Believing in Brooklyn" about a wish-making-machine, with its creepy coincidences and touching ending. What would you wish for if you could have anything you wanted? If you like this, check out all the Guys Reads collections.
On the Day I Died
Stories from the grave
by Candace Fleming
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2012
Your local library
Amazon
ages 11-14
Fleming begins this collection with a version of "The Vanishing Hitchhiker." In her version, the young teen who picks up the hitchhiker is told to take her shoes to the graveyard where she's buried--and he discovers a crowd of ghosts, all wanting to tell him how they died. Fleming sets her story in White Cemetery, an actual graveyard outside Chicago, and each story takes place during a different time period. She deftly weaves in many pieces of historical details, but these never overwhelm the stories.

I found these stories more frightening--certainly too frightening for 4th graders, and probably more suitable for 6th graders. All of the stories center on how a teenager died, and that aspect really got to me. I haven't shared this collection with students yet, so I can't gauge kids' reactions.
Haunted Houses:
Are You Scared Yet?
by Robert San Souci
Henry Holt, 2010
Your local library
Amazon
ages 10-13
The spider story in this collection, "Webs," scared me so much that I couldn't finish reading this collection. As soon as I say that, kids start clamoring for this collection. Here's what I wrote when I originally read this collection:
In one story, a boy’s family is vacationing in a house that is taken over by spiders. Now, these aren’t your typical garden spiders. They are spiders who want revenge for the damages done to their forest and homes. Danny starts to get worried when he finds the rabbit cage filled with spider webs, and then realizes that the bundles in the corner are the dead rabbits encased in spider webs. The story proceeds to even creepier, as Danny discovers more ways the spiders have wrecked damage on previous owners of the house. Needless to say, every time I walk into a spider’s web now, I jump even higher.
The stories in these collections are NOT for everyone, but I know that many of my students clamor for frightening stories. Do you have any favorite short story collections that you hand your 4th, 5th and 6th graders? How do you judge what's too scary?

The review copy of The Cabinet of Curiosities was kindly sent by the publishers, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. The review copy of the other collections came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Creepy short stories: mysteries & thrillers for ages 10-13 as of 10/20/2014 9:06:00 AM
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4. Reaching Reluctant Readers, Poetry Friday, and a CWIM Giveaway!


Happy Poetry Friday, Everyone! Today I'll be sharing a fun, "spooky" poem by David L. Harrison. But first I'll tell you about my latest publication, an article in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (Writer’s Digest Books), edited by Chuck Sambuchino. Then, at the end of this post, you'll find instructions for how to enter to win your very own copy of the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market!


If you're not familiar with the Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market (also known as the CWIM), here's an excerpt from the book's blurb.
"If you write or illustrate for young readers with the hope of getting published, the '2015 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market' is the trusted resource you need. Now in its 27th edition, 'CWIM' is the definitive publishing guide for anyone who seeks to write or illustrate for kids and young adults. Inside you'll find more than 500 listings for children's book markets (publishers, agents, magazines, and more)--including a point of contact, how to properly submit your work, and what categories each market accepts." 
In addition to the market listing, the CWIM includes great articles, interviews, and success stories. This year's edition features my interview roundup article, "Writing for Boys (and other 'Reluctant Readers')." The piece contains advice and insights from four award-winning authors known for writing books that appeal to reluctant readers: Matt de la Peña, Lenore Look, David Lubar, and Steve Sheinkin

Although  these authors write a wide variety of books, and everything from picture books to young adult novels, there was one bit of advice they all agreed on: If you want your writing to appeal to boys and other reluctant readers, don't try to target this particular audience. That's right, DON'T target them. Instead, write what moves, excites, or interests YOU. Then, "revise it over and over until it hums," as Matt de la Peña said. All four of the authors shared additional, specific advice on how to reach reluctant readers, especially boys. So be sure to enter our giveaway below for a chance to win your own copy of the CWIM!  

In researching "Writing for Boys (and other 'Reluctant Readers')," I discovered some very discouraging statistics about boys and reading. Not only do girls, on average, score higher on reading tests than boys, but the gender gap is widening. Fortunately, the news isn't all dire. As Jon Scieszka, the first National Ambassador of Young People's Literature and founder of Guys Read points out on the GuysRead website
". . . the good news is that research also shows that boys will read—if they are given reading that interests them."
Poetry can be a great way to hook boys (and other reluctant readers), especially if it's short, funny, and/or focuses on boy-friendly topics, such as sports, adventure, animals, and the supernatural. You'll find some wonderful books that fit this bill on the GuysRead list of poetry books. I also recommend just about anything written by David L. Harrison. His book Bugs: Poems about Creeping Things (Wordsong), illustrated by Rob Shepperson, is chock-full of poems with lots of boy-appeal. Here's one example: 

              cicada ghosts

              Haunted skins
              cling
              emptily
              to the rough bark
             of the hackberry
             tree,

             and farther up
             where I can't 
             see,
             ghosts are 
             buzzing 
             eerily:
             zz-zz-zz-zz
             zeeeeee!

          © David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

If you'd like to see the wonderful illustration that accompanies this poem in Bugs: Poems about Creeping Things, visit this page on David's blog (after you enter our drawing below!).

For additional resources on poetry and reluctant readers, see the Poetry Foundation article "Against Slogging: Engaging Poetry in the Classroomon" and the WBEZ piece, "Writing Poetry Improves Reluctant Readers." If you're a parent or teacher, you may also be interested in Literacy Connects compilation of activities to use with reluctant reader

Finally, before you head over to check out these resources or the other great poems in this week's Poetry Friday round-up at Today's Little Ditty, you'll want to enter to win your own copy of the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market. You can do that via the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post. You may enter via 1, 2, or all 3 options. For option 2, "Leave a Blog Post Comment," you must share a comment to TODAY'S blog post and include your name!
(If you prefer, you may submit your comment via email to: teachingauthors [at] gmail [dot] com. )

The giveaway ends on Oct. 31. 

Good luck and happy writing!
Carmela

P.S. If you've never entered a Rafflecopter giveaway, here's info on how to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway and the difference between signing in with Facebook vs. with an email address. Email subscribers: if you received this post via email, you can click on the Rafflecopter link at the end of this message to access the entry form.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

0 Comments on Reaching Reluctant Readers, Poetry Friday, and a CWIM Giveaway! as of 10/17/2014 3:13:00 AM
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5. Tristan Hunt Series Brings Ocean Science to Young Fiction Audience

Ellen Prager, PhD, ocean scientist and author, brings ocean science to the young fiction audience with her Tristan Hunt and the Sea guardian series.

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6. Houdini’s Tricks and How He Might Have Learnt Them

Simon Nicholson, author of YOUNG HOUDINI: THE MAGICIAN'S FIRE, discusses how he came up with the idea for his thrilling new series.

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7. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | October 2014

This month we've seen some changes on the best selling middle grade books list due to the well timed releases of Jason Segel's Nightmares!—a great choice for the upcoming spooky season—and Mike Lupica's Fantasy League (Did somebody say football?).

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8. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, by Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen (ages 5-9)

Our first and second graders are crazy about Mercy Watson, the adorable, butter-loving pig from Kate DiCamillo's series of early chapter books. And they're going to love, love, love Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, the first in DiCamillo's companion series Tales from Deckawoo Drive. Sequels and spinoffs are no sure thing; but DiCamillo had me smiling and laughing all the way through this new adventure.
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick, 2014
Google Books preview
Your local library
Amazonages 5-9
*best new book*
Leroy may be a small man, but he has big dreams of being a cowboy--a real cowboy like he sees in the movies. But--as his coworker at the drive-in movie theater tells him--every cowboy needs a horse. He's got to "take fate in (his) hands and wrestle it to the ground." And with this inspiration, Leroy sets out to find himself a horse and a loyal friend.
When Leroy finds Maybelline, we wonder if she's the right horse for him. We can certainly see in Van Dusen's drawings that she doesn't look like an ideal horse. And yet, Leroy understands exactly what she wants: plenty of compliments, lots of food and loyal companionship. That isn't too much for anyone to ask, is it?

Leroy and Maybelline's mishaps, from a tiny apartment balcony to a rain-sodden chase scene, will bring lots of laughter from listeners and readers alike. But it's Leroy's devotion and Maybelline's happiness that will stick with readers. Just look at him bounding over this fence as he races to find her:
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is a longer chapter book than the Mercy Watson series. It will make a great read-aloud to first graders who are reading Mercy Watson on their own. Second and third graders who loved Mercy last year will get a hoot reading Leroy Ninker now. There's definitely more text, fewer illustrations and more challenging words.

If you want to explore, read some of Leroy Ninker Saddles Up in the Google Books preview:


The review copy was kindly sent by the publishers, Candlewick Books, but I've already purchased three more copies to share with teachers and families. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, by Kate DiCamillo and Chris Van Dusen (ages 5-9) as of 1/1/1900
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9. Fantasy League, by Mike Lupica | Book Spotlight

Twelve-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string.

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10. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, by Liesl Shurtliff | Book Review

In Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, author Liesl Shurtliff crafts an entertaining fractured fairy tale based on the Brothers Grimm character by the same name.

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11. Illustration Inspiration: Jeffrey Brown

Jeffrey’s Darth Vader series was originally geared towards adults as it was about the experience of being a parent; however, parents shared it with their kids and now both adults & kids love the series. Goodnight Darth Vader was created with both audiences in mind.

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12. #655 – Stanley’s Garage by William Bee

coverx
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Stanley’s Garage

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing      9/01/2014
978-1-5614-804-2
Age 3 to 8         32 pages
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“Stanley is working at his garage today. From filling up Hattie’s red sports car with gas to changing the tire on Shamus and Little Woo’s blue car, it sure is a busy day. As his friends each come in with their car problems, Stanley knows just what to do to get them back on the road.”

Opening

“This is Stanley’s Garage. Who will drive in today?”

The Story

Stanley the hamster owns a garage and a green tow truck. He spends the day helping his friends. Hattie needs gas in her car, and, like the days of old, Stanley pumps the gas for her. I love her red sports car. Shamu’s car has a flat tire. While Shamu and Little Woo’s car has a flat tire, Charlie’s car is overheated, and Myrtle, in her purple car, needs towed back to Stanley’s garage. All day Stanley fixes auto problems. It’s a lot of work for one day. Stanley, smudged in black oil spots, walks home. He takes a bath, eats his supper, and heads to bed ready for tomorrow. What job will Stanley take on tomorrow? Will he be a chef at his own diner, or maybe the farmer that grows the food?

4me

Review

Young boys will love the Stanley’s Garage. Stanley does a variety of jobs, all to help his friends. Young boys, and some girls, will enjoy Stanley in his new business. In his garage, Stanley works alone, unlike as a builder with Charlie. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color, and he basic shapes that compose the items in Stanley’s world, if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the illustrations. I like watching Stanley helping his friends and I really wish, like Stanley, garages with gas pumps still pumped the gas for customers. What else has changed that kids might recognize? The text is simple with a few complex words related to automobiles. These words are: radiator, overheating, jacks, tow (no, not toe), and oily. Boys and girls will have a new vocabulary to use when playing with their toy cars.

5me

Young children will enjoy learning about the jobs Stanley takes on in this series. Along with building a house and running a garage, Stanley will be a chef in his own cafe, and grow food as a farmer. What other jobs Stanley might take on in the future is anyone’s guess. After reading Stanley’s Garage, young children will wonder why mom and dad pump their own gas. Stanley’s Garage can help prepare for kindergarten, as they learn the colors, shapes, and new words in each story.

The Stanley books are also a great choice for story-time. The illustrations, thanks to those black lines, are easy to see from a short distance. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a cafe and then becomes a farmer.

8me

STANLEY’S GARAGE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley’s Garage at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Stanley’s Collection

cover farmer

stanleys cafe

cover

cover

 

 

Review is HERE

 

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, William Bee, at his website:   http://www.williambee.com/

Check out William Bee’s fantastic blog:  http://williambee.blogspot.com/

Find all of the Stanley series at the Peachtree Publishing website:    http://peachtreepub.blogspot.com/

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Also by William Bee

Beware of the Frog

Beware of the Frog

Whatever

Whatever

And the Train Goes...

And the Train Goes…

And the Cars Go...

And the Cars Go…

Digger Dog - NEW

Digger Dog – NEW

 

 

 

 

 

Migloo’s Day – March 24, 2015

 

stanley's garage

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley’s Garage

Monday 9/8
Green Bean Teen Queen
Tuesday 9/9
Jean Little Library
Geo Librarian
Kid Lit Reviews
Wednesday 9/10
Chat with Vera
Thursday 9/11
Blue Owl


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: automobiles, children's book reviews, jobs, Peachtree Publishers, picture books, Stanley the Builder, Stanley the Farmer, Stanley's Cafe, Stanley's Garage, William Bee

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13. #654 – Rhyme Schemer by K. A. Holt

rhyme scheerx
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Rhyme Schemer

Written by K. A. Holttop-10-use-eb-trans
Chronicle Books 10/01/2014
978-1-4521-2700-2
Age 8 to 12 176 pages
x
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“Kevin has a bad attitude. He’s the one who laughs when you trip and fall. In fact, he may have been the one who tripped you in the first place. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way—and he’s even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on?”

Opening

“First day of school.
My favorite.
Easy prey.

Giant John.
A parade float of himself.

The Story

Kevin, the class bully, is in seventh grade. He loves picking on certain kids. His teacher, Mrs. Smithson, does not like him, but does like to send Kevin to the principal’s office. She also turns a very blind eye when Kevin is no longer the bully, but the bullied. At home, Kevin is the accident baby with four “P” brothers: Patrick, Paul, Petey, and Philip. Mom and dad are both busy physicians with little time for home or Kevin.

Kevin keeps a notebook of his days at school, writing them in verse. Petey, in charge of driving Kevin to school, is a bully himself. When he notices Kevin’s notebook, Petey makes terrible fun of Kevin and then chucks the notebook out the car window. Kevin searches but cannot find it. Robin, who fits perfectly between the boy’s bathroom sink pipes, finds the notebook. It becomes blackmail. Robin wants to be the Poetry Bandit. Robin is a little jerk.

Mrs. Little, the librarian, knows it is Kevin tearing out pages from classics, circling and adding a letter or two, creating a unique poem, and then posting it at school for all to see. Mrs. Little soon takes to Kevin. She encourages Kevin to stop defacing school property and use paper other than pages from children’s classics for his unique poetry. As long as Robin has Kevin’s private notebook, sharing it at random, Kevin is nervous. There are a few bombs in the notebook that Kevin does not want exploding at school.

Review

Written in verse, Rhyme Schemer is a fast read. It is also an extremely enjoyable read that kept me laughing, sometimes loudly. Kevin is not a bad kid. His home life looks ideal to others, but reality is another matter. His parents are rarely home and brother Petey—who hates Kevin—is especially mean whenever possible. Bullies beget bullies. Kevin enjoys picking on his classmates. He meets with the principal much too often.

Kevin is not the classic bully who is mean and full of hate that spews out at other kids. Kevin is frustrated and trying to get his parent’s attention. His home life is mostly unfair and soon school will become unfair. The teacher ignores Robin’s attacks at Kevin, whether it is passing mean notes during class or ignoring a physical confrontation—where Kevin does not retaliate. She really does not like Kevin and then favors Robin, mainly because his father holds an important position.

I really like Kevin. He is a character you can easily favor, wanting him to catch a break. He’s a likable kid. Kevin pays a big price for defending Kelly, but he gains a friend, his first. I understand Kevin. He is the baby in a large family, but instead of being spoiled, he is picked on, sometimes harshly for no real reason. In a house full of people, Kevin is alone. What must it be like to have four brothers, all wanted, and with planned-out names beginning with a “P” (I wish I knew why), but he is the accident with a name beginning with the wrong letter. This alone must make him feel alienated from his family. Kevin deals with school unfairness and home by becoming a feeling-less, like stone.

Kids will like Rhyme Schemer. They will like Kevin. Kids will see a bully from a new perspective. The text is funny in so many places, and even sad in a few. Ms. Holt’s writing style is enjoyable and kid like. Kevin is the narrator, but I wonder if he is also the author and Ms. Holt his conduit. Kevin wrote several Odes to his principal’s tie. Some are in the story and some are at the end of the book. Don’t pass these by.

“[Clearing throat noise here.]
x
O, Principal’s tie
You make me want to puke
Because you are the color of
Squishy, moldy fruit”

Reluctant readers will also find Rhyme Schemer easy to read. At the end, I was not ready to stop reading. I wanted more. There are no unanswered questions, no threads laying in wait for a resolution; I simply want to read more of Kevin’s poetry. Rhyme Schemer is one of those rare books that stay with you, long after the last page flips over. I hope to read Kevin’s eighth grade notebook.

RHYME SCHEMER. Text copyright © 214 by K. A. Holt. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Read a excerpt of Rhyme Schemer HERE (no cost)

Buy Rhyme Schemer at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.
Learn more about Rhyme Schemer HERE
Meet the author, K. A. Holt, at her website:   http://kaholt.com/books/
Find more middle grade books at the Chronicle Books website:   http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Also by K. A. Holt

Brains for Lunch

Brains for Lunch

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel

Mike Steller Nerves of Steel

 

 

 

Coming Fall 2015 – House Arrest – Chronicle Books

 

 

rhymer schemer

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

I really like the author information on the back inside book jacket.
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K. A. Holt is a writer
a mama
a bad (but fearless) cook.

She has written three
(three!)
books for kids.

Also?

She shelved books
in the library
during grade school.

Ms. Holt claims
(claims!)
she never had a detention.

Believe what you want.”


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Poetry, Reluctant Readers, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: absent parents, bullied, bullier, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, K.A. Holt, middle grade novel, poems, poetry, seventh grade

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14. #640 – Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10) by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

coverx

Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10)

Written by Karla Oceanak
Illustrated by Kendra Spanjer
Bailiwick Press                   6/10/2014
978-1-934649-49-7
Age 7+           160 pages
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“Finding a dinosaur bone is like hitting the jackpot, right? Dino fossils are worth millions! Plus you get to b famous! You’re minding your own kid business when bam!—out of the mud pop fortune and glory. Ka-ching! That’s how I thought it would go, anyway, after my best friend, Jack, and I found a fossil in our neighborhood ditch. But as usual, grown-up rules made things way too complicated.”

Opening

“I wish we could play outside. This morning, I said that. I mean, I actually heard my own voice speak those exact words. Me. Aldo Zelnick.”

The Story

Aldo and his best friend, Jack, actually did go outside to play. It was cold and muddy causing the boys to slip and slid right into a neighborhood ditch. This is when Jack finds a big rock that, when cleaned, is much better than a rock. It is a fossil—a dinosaur fossil, right from their own backyard.

Aldo believes the fossil is worth millions of dollars and holds this hope out to the very end. Jack is thinking only of fame. A famous paleontologist, a famous middle grade paleontologist, would be cool, he thought. Jack holds out this hope to the very end. This is the only contention between Aldo and Jack: fame or fortune, but why not both!

The boys head to the natural history museum to find out what kind of fossil they found and, for Aldo, how much it is worth. Aldo thinks the museum will pay him on the spot—they do not. But, it is a dinosaur bone and the ditch might just have more bones. Now the boys must get the neighborhood to consent to digging up the ditch, and then find the rest of the dinosaur. Once done, Aldo and Jack will go on tour with their fame and fortunes. If only they can keep everyone out of the ditch until excavation day.

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_Denver_Museum

Review

When we last read about Aldo he was skiing in Ignoramus. Since then, Aldo and Jack have changed only incrementally, as they normally would. I like that the authors are not maturing the characters quickly. Of course, with twenty-six books, they have lots of room to let the characters blossom slowly. Still, Aldo may be in college by the time “Z” hits the shelves. Aldo is still using his diary to write about his life and then—oh, I meant his journal, so sorry. Sometimes a good character just sticks with you and Aldo is one of those characters. He also wants you to know he is an artist and draws some terrific scenes that help readers visualize his stories.

In “J,” for Jackpot, Aldo and his best friend Jack finally go outside to play. They do not pick the best day, as it is cold and the ground is muddy and slippery. Aldo and Jack slip and slide into a neighborhood ditch. In the ditch Jack loosens a great looking rock. The rock turns out to be a dinosaur bone and more could be in that ditch. Aldo thinks this is great fortune, as in money. Jack thinks this is fortunate, as in fame. He would love a dinosaur named after him. Aldo would probably like a bank, or at least the largest vault, named after him. They have hit the JACKPOT!

As in books A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I, J (for Jackpot) is crazy and funny with loads of mishaps, misunderstandings, and a girl interfering—or trying to—with Aldo and his journals. Jackpot is not a graphic novel. It contains enough text to keep the story on track and moving, but not so much as to crowd out the wonderful illustrations meant to be from Aldo. I love the detailed illustrations that greatly enhance the story. Aldo and Jack both sport Indiana Jones hats (fedoras). Kids will love the black and white “doodles” Aldo draws on nearly every page.

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I enjoyed Jackpot, reading it in one sitting. Middle grade kids—especially reluctant readers—will love this series. The characters are believable, multi-dimensional, likable and in many ways familiar to everyday life. Reluctant readers will appreciate the story staying on track and the short chapters. Kids can stop reading at any point, and when ready, easily reemerge back into the story. This is most terrific for reluctant readers who are at a distinct disadvantage with continuing a book midway through.

As far as the actual writing is concerned, the story stays on point even when Aldo goes off on a tangent. Aldo’s tangential thoughts are about money. In several illustrations, Aldo has made long lists of numbers needing added to project his coming wealth. The characters, especially Aldo and Jack, are easy to care about as the story progresses. If you have been reading the alphabet series known as Aldo Zelnick, you already care about Aldo and Jack, but the author makes no assumptions and brings new readers into the fan club.

Jackpot is the tenth book in Aldo’s series. I like that each of these books introduces new words that begin with that book’s letter. Jackpot, then, has words beginning with the letter “J.” Examples include jabbering, jack squat, jicama, and several French words like Joie de vivre and jugo de naranja. There is a glossary in the back, which defines each “J” word. In the text, the highlighted words are marked with an asterisk (*).

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The Aldo Zelnick series is similar to The Wimpy Kid except that Jackpot, and every book thus far, have better defined illustrations. I like the “J” words in Jackpot. The glossary defines each of these words. I also like reading the comic Bacon Boy by Aldo Zelnick. How often do you get two books in one and both books are terrific? Aldo and Bacon Boy have a lot in common. I think Bacon Boy is Aldo and a safe, funny way for Aldo to document his childhood. Kids will laugh their hinnies off, no external exercise needed.

JACKPOT: AN ALDO ZELNICK COMIC NOVEL (#10). Text copyright © 2014 by by Karla Oceanak. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kendra Spanjer. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Bailiwick Press, Fort Collins, CO.

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Purchase Jackpot at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryBailiwick PressYour Favorite Bookstore.

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Learn more about Jackpot HERE.

Meet the author, Karla Oceanak, at her website:  http://www.karlaoceanak.com/

Meet the illustrator, Kendra Spanjer, at her website:   http://www.kendraspanjer.com/

Find more Aldo Zelnick books at the Bailiwick Press website:   http://www.bailiwickpress.com/

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Also by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

Ignoramus:  An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#9)

Ignoramus #9

Hotdogger  (#8)

Hotdogger (#8)

Read Hotdogger Review HERE.

Read Ignoramus Review HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: Aldo Zelnick, Bailiwick Press, children's book reviews, comics, Karla Oceanak, Kendra Soanjer, middle grade books

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15. The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca (ages 4-8)

Wow-oh-wow. The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca, is absolutely brilliant -- perfect for young speed racers (and their parents, too!). Kids will be drawn in by his dynamic illustrations, but they'll come back again and again for the layers of information they discover with each reading.

The Racecar Alphabet
by Brian Floca
Atheneum / Simon & Schuster, 2003
Your local library
Amazon
ages 4-8
You can just about feel the wind and hear the roar as you see the 1934 Mercedes-Benz thundering across the cover, can't you? But this is no ordinary alphabet book. Floca combines alliteration, rhythm and rhymes to pull readers right in. Here are the opening stanzas:
Automobiles--
machines on wheels.//

Belts turning,
  fuel burning,
the buzz and bark of engines.
   The flap of a flag--
     a race begins!
But there's more! Look closely at the endpapers as you open the book, and you'll notice that the cars are arranged in chronological order. Read the text again and you'll notice that each letter of the alphabet progresses through automobile history, from the 1906 Renault (emblazoned with a number 1, because it's on the A page) to a 1934 Mercedes-Benz (number 9, "instruments / indicating speed") to a 2001 Ferrari F1 (number 26, "zipping, zigzagging, with zeal and zing").
The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca
Brian Floca, winner of this year's Caldecott Award for the mightily impressive Locamotive, brings readers right into the race, shifting perspective at each turn. Just look above as the BMW barrels down on you, or below as you sit in the driver's seat:
The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca
Floca writes in his blog about his inspiration for writing The Racecar Alphabet:
When I came across an image of one of those cars a few years ago, a switch went off in my head. I had never been much of a racing fan, but suddenly I appreciated how extraordinarily beautiful these cars could be. Here was sculpture, nothing less. It just happened to be sculpture you could drive through scenic European settings at extraordinary speeds.
I truly believe that picture books are an essential way we can introduce our children to art. I'm guessing many parents will never take their children to a museum. But here, they can get a feel for the importance of perspective, colors, lines, and composition. And make tons of zooming, churning, speeding noises at the same time!

The review copy came from our home library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on The Racecar Alphabet, by Brian Floca (ages 4-8) as of 8/1/2014 10:44:00 PM
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16. #624-27 – Blow It Up! – Crush It! – Shred It! – Knock It Down! by Erin Edison

coversBlow It Up! Crush It! – Shred It! Knock It Down!

written by Erin Edison

Capstone Press      11//01/2013

978-1-4765-3526-5  /  978-1-4765-3528-9

978-1-4765-3529-6  /  978-1-4765-3527-2

Age 1 to 3   10 pages   8 x 8

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“BOOM! CRASH! CRUMBLE! Lift flaps and pull tabs to make buildings explode!

“CLUNK! CRUNCH! SMASH! Lift flaps, pull tabs, and move levers to crush those cars flat!

“SMACK! WHACK! BASH! Lift flaps, pull tabs, and move levers to knock that building down!

“RIP! CRUNCH! SHRED! Lift flaps, pull tabs, and move levers to shred tires into tiny pieces!”

Opening

“An old building is crumbling and unsafe.” [Pull the tab down and bring the building to its knees, or the ground, if you prefer.”

Review

Collectively, these four books (Blow It Up!, Shred It!, Crush It!, and Knock It Down!), are called the Destruction Group. And what destruction your child can imagine causing—all in the name of safety, not hoodlumism.

9781476535265Today is best called “Boys Day.” Girls can enjoy these interesting activity books, as I did, but it is mostly boys who receive these books. Little boys will love bringing down a building, bridge, and sports arena with dynamite. In the process, the book gives your child, or you, the chance read with unabashed enthusiasm, “Boom, Kah-Pow, and Kaboom,” when your young child makes rubble out of the structure on the spread.

When the kids have exploded structures to their heart’s content, it will be time to Crush It! Let’s start with that beautiful car. Pull up the tab and, “Oh, no! The beautiful car! It is a piece of rusty junk.”

9781476535289Yep, that car is a goner and it is up to the reader to pick up the car with a forklift and dump it into the crusher. That red sports car will soon become a square of steel. I am not sure where the plastic goes (my car is practically all plastic). Never mind that, here comes car number two. This car is ratty, but the engine looks pretty good. Let’s save that engine. Pull it up and out of the car. And the tires, too. We are going to salvage everything possible. Reuse is the motto!

9781476535296Maybe plastic cars are shredded. Those tires shredded. So open up Shred It! One of those tires from that car has a hole in it. Go ahead, shred pick it up and all the other bad tires with your forklift. Drive over and dump those bad tires into the shredder. “Thunk, thunk!” Listen as the rubber is pulverized, “Whirl! Crunch!” Look out, here comes the pieces of rubber ready to be made into all sorts of things. The mat you mom stands on in the kitchen, or the mat she makes you wipe your feet on before coming in the house, is most likely recycled rubber tire. How, cool! You’re not done yet.

9781476535272It is time to Knock It Down! There is a building you can knock down. That big steel ball is called a wrecking ball. When you swings it into the building you will wreck it. Slide the tab and make that ball ram into the building. “Whack!” Pieces are falling, so watch your head. Get that yellow construction hat on, if you got one, or use your bike helmet. Pull the next tab down and whack the lower part of the building with a loader, pulling down what remains.

True story, when my building caught fire a few years back—no, I did not start the fire—the fire department used a loader, with the pick-up container held upside down, just like it Knock It Down! The firemen pulled everything out of the apartments and the rest of the wall, too. It was horrible watching neighbors’ possessions fall to the ground. Okay, back to the job at hand. Swing the tab once more and whack the wall with another wrecker ball. The bricks crumble away. Nice Job!

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Kids will love these four “destruction” books. In addition to pulling, pushing, swiping, and opening tabs, kids will read. It is truly fun to read these books aloud to your child. A couple of times reading to them and they will be reading on their own, even if it is only memorizing what you read—it is a start, a good start. The books are sturdy board books, all with nicely thick pages that will withstand some tugging pulling and pushing. The pages are easily cleaned. Jelly will wipe right off the page. I checked.

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Your active little boy—and girl—will love Blow It Up!, Crush It!, Shred It!, and Knock It Down! The books can be purchased separately, but as a bundled set Capstone has a special price that will save you a bundle (pun intended). These 8 x 8 thick board books are waiting for little hands to have fun pulling, pushing, swiping, and opening up tabs so they can have fun destroying imaginary buildings and crushing imaginary red sports cars. I had fun so I know your child will, too.

BLOW IT UP! CRUSH IT! SHRED IT! KNOCK IT DOWN! Text copyright © 2014 by Erin Edison. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Press, San Francisco, CA.

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You can purchase any of these books at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstone Press (special bundled price)—at your favorite bookstore.

Crush It! was previously reviewed. You can read that (better) review HERE.

Learn more about the Destruction Board Book Set  HERE.

Meet the author, Erin Edison, at Jacketflap:  http://www.jacketflap.com/erin-edison/263204

Find more great books at the Capstone Press website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Press is an imprint of Capstone.

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Also by Erin Edison

Snow (Weather Basics)

Snow (Weather Basics)

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt (Presidential Biographies)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (Presidential Biographies) 

John F. Kennedy (Presidential Biographies)

John F. Kennedy (Presidential Biographies)

 

Lightning (Weather Basics)

Lightning (Weather Basics)..

 

 

 

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Board Books, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Series Tagged: blow, board books, boys books, Capstone, Capstone Press, children's book reviews, construction books for boys, crush, destruction set, Erin Edison, knock, recycle, scrap yards, shsred

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17. #628 – Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption by Mark Myers

virgil creech 1.

Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption

written by Mark Myers

published by Mark Myers                  12/19/2013

978-0-61587615-3

Age 8 to 13     222 pages

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“Welcome to the sleepy little town of Portsong, Georgia where there is a struggle a foot. Unbeknownst to the current owner, Virgil Creech has his selfish eyes set on taking back a dog he considers his. To be fair, as the youngest of nine bickering and bustling brothers, Virgil has always had to fight for the few things he could call his own. In this case, the property in question ran away from Virgil several months prior and now wants nothing to do with the boy, for he has found a happy home with the kindly Colonel Clarence Birdwhistle. Undetered, Virgil teams up with  reluctant friend, Henry Lee, to retrieve the dog.”

Opening

“That was a mark!” yelled Henry as he disappeared behind the row of elm trees to round up the ball.”

The Story

Four friends, Virgil, Henry, Willy, and Joe are playing in the town green (like a park) when Virgil kicks the ball hard and too high hitting Colonel Birdwhistle in the back of the head, knocking him out onto the pavement. The boys cautiously check to see if he is alive and Virgil accidentally causes Birdwhistle to hit his head again, knocking him cold. Later, at the hospital, Willy and Joe check on Birdwhistle and leave believing the boys have caused Birdwhistle to become blind. Willy, Joe, and Henry decide to find a dog, train it as a Seeing Eye dog, and give him to the Colonel.

At the city dump, the boys find a dirty, matted, and awful smelling mongrel. Henry gives the dog a half-hour session in leading the blind, and then takes the dog to the hospital, leaving it in Birdwhistle’s room. The Colonel takes the mutt home, cleans him up, and decides to keep him. The dog, now named Oscar, is now a happy dog.

Virgil realizes Oscar his is dog and is mad that Birdwhistle stole the dog from him. According to Virgil, Birdwhistle came right into his house and took Bertie (same dog, different name). Virgil is determined to get his dog back and enlists the help of his one friend, Henry Lee. Henry is determined to keep Virgil sway from Oscar. To complicate matters, a nationwide contest for a trip to Africa gets the town, including Virgil, up in a tizzy. Virgil knows he is the winner and must just wait for the day his name is called. When he returns from Africa, he will then get his dog back. But Colonel Birdwhistle has been entered hundreds of times by townsfolk who appreciate and admire him. Birdwhistle wins, causing Virgil to believe the Colonel has now stolen two things from him. He is madder than two Creech boys fighting over a chicken drumstick are. How will Henry contain Virgil and keep Oscar safe and with Birdwhistle. Can he do it?

Review

Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption tells the story of two boys, Virgil, Henry, a British transplant, and the man’s dog, Oscar. Virgil is a mean boy, the last of nine boys. Not a day goes by that he is not beat or taken advantage by one of his brothers. In turn, Virgil always has a chip on his shoulder, beats up kids at school, must always get his way, and has no friends. Virgil’s temper is as short as a temper can possibly be. Henry is a kind, well-mannered boy from a fine family. After Virgil kicks a ball that knocks-out Colonel Birdwhistle, the boys, especially Henry and Virgil, are thrown together for survival.

The well-planned and well-written story will keep you turning the pages. The author understands the psyche of the twelve-year-old boy and offers explanations and comments throughout the book. At first, I thought these annoying, but as more and more pages turned, the narrative became more natural, the comments regarding boys in general became interesting, and the story became a smooth ride, except for the Virgil bumps along the way. Packed with humor, tender moments, and upheaval only two young boys can cause, Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption will please adults as well as kids.

I enjoyed the story, which focused more on Henry and his life than on the main character, Virgil. As one reviewer has already pointed out, Henry should be the protagonist. Virgil is a perfect antagonist and causes most of Henry’s stress. Once Henry understands how Virgil treated his dog and how the dog ended up living in the city dump, he vows to keep Oscar with the Colonel. Even Oscar stays away from Virgil, refusing to go anywhere he can smell the boy—which is not hard for anyone to do. At one point, the author states that Virgil is the only Creech that did a selfless act. Not so, the two brothers who rescued Bertie (Oscar in a former life), and cared for the dog, albeit in a dump, thought only of the dog, not themselves. Seems any Creech could have a heart deep within his chest.

There are no illustrations in the story. Oscar is a small dog, one that Henry can easily pick up. The dog on the cover is not small. I do like the angry hate-the-world scowl on Virgil’s face. This accurately portrays the boy’s disposition. While reading the story, Colonel Birdwhistle looked very near the image on the cover. The houses seem out of place for an area of town filled with green grass. Maybe on the other side they would be correct. Having saidall that, for someone who has not read the story, the cover is inviting and makes you want to know what the scamp on the cover has done.

I am not overly fond of the trick Birdwhistle and George, Henry’s father, plays on the town when Birdwhistle decides not to accept the trip he won, without entering himself. I like the first part, but what is the difference, as Henry asks, between leaving for three months and hiding out, without your dog, for three months. The Colonel does not want to leave the town, where he feels accepted and a member of nearly every family, yet he is still gone from the children and the story hour Birdwhistle did not want to miss. It would have made more sense for the Colonel to feign an illness. The author wanted a twist that would delight the reader but I think this failed to hit the mark.

Kids who love adventure or family-spun stories will enjoy Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption. For his first book, Myers offered readers a well-crafted story, less the twist. There is a second Virgil Creech story to be released this Fall. I cannot wait to find out what bothers Virgil enough to make his face “glow red.” It is entitled, Virgil Creech Sings for His Supper. There is no preview, so make of this title as you will. Just the idea of Virgil singing scares me.

For a middle grade boy’s perspective of Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption  click HERE.

VIRGIL CREECH TAKES A SWIPE AT REDEMPTION. Text copyright © 2013 by Mark Myers.

To purchase your copy of Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption go to AmazonB&NBook DepositoryAuthor’s Websiteyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption  HERE.

Meet the author, Mark Myers, at his website:    https://portsong.wordpress.com/

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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evil fairies love hairm

Don’t forget! Evil Fairies Love Hair releases AUGUST 5th. As a reminder, the review is HERE.

Get it at Amazon   B&N    Book Depository    Clarion 


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: 1920's, boy's book, bullies, children's book reviews, family relationships, friends, Mark Myers, middle grade novel, Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption

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18. Jimmy Vee’s New Book Focuses on Self-Acceptance & Differences

Jimmy Vee has dedicated his life to helping people discover what makes them unique and showing them how to capitalize on it.

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19. Little Jimmy Says, “Same is Lame,” by Jimmy Vee | Dedicated Review

As a children’s entertainer, Jimmy Vee has combined his love for kids and passion of children’s books in his rhyming picture book by using his “Same Is Lame” philosophy—a philosophy that is all about self-­‐acceptance and knowing it’s okay to be different, as well as embracing the differences of others.

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20. #632 – Splat!: starring the Vole Brothers by Roslyn Schwartz

cover.

Splat!: Starring the Vole Brothers

by Roslyn Schwartz
Owlkids Books      3/15/2014
978-1-77147-009-4
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
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“The Vole Brothers are back! Flap . . . Flap . . . SPLAT! The Vole Brothers set out for a stroll . . . only to discover the path, and the skies, are not as clear as they expect. How will the bickering yet lovable rodents cope with the ensuing mess? Find out in this hilarious tale of mishap and one-upmanship that starts with a flying pigeon . . . and ends with a splat!”

Opening

“Tum ti tum ti tum . . . Flap . . . Flap . . . Flap.”

Review

The Vole Brothers . . . what can I say about these two little guys, out on stroll, minding their own business, when all of a sudden . . . out of the sky so blue . . . comes a gray mass heading right toward them and . . . it drops a load of, uh  . . . on one brother’s head. How rude is that? But, you cannot trust one brother to always stand up for the other brother and the Vole Brothers are no exception to this bad brotherly rule.

So what happens next? Really, do you really want to know? If you have a sibling close in age or, you poor thing, a twin, you know what happens next. The unharmed Vole Brother laughs at the one who did . . ., and he laughs . . ., and laughs. The slighted Vole Brother, understandably, unhappy with his brother’s reaction and decides to help him understand the situation.

08-09_Splat

If you have a sibling, you guessed correctly, he takes the “yuck” from his head and places it on his brother’s head, without violence or anger. Then an odd thing happens. Rather than his brother understanding the situation, he laughs . . ., laughs . . ., and laughs. His brother does understand more clearly and throws the white glop back, but his brother ducks. Standing on the road is the mean-spirited pigeon and he is surprised. Now both Vole Brothers laugh together, a happy, justified laugh. Great story, huh?

Well, Splat has a couple more scenes. The pigeon flies away, but is angry. Soon, an army of vengeful gray birds is on the way. The Cheerful Vole Brothers turned their heads to watch the first bird fly away. They did not see the banana peel. Had they paid attention to where they were going [LESSON], what happened next might not have happened.

Splat will cause belly laughs and giggle-groans. Young children and boys are a great audience for Splat! They tend to like this kind of humor, but some girls will enjoy it, too. I loved it, and laughed until it hurt. The expressions on the Vole Brothers’ faces throughout the entire story are priceless, as is the pigeon’s expression when hit in the head with his own excrement. The story, told with few words and no sentences, is an example of an artist who knows her audience and can engage them with her artistic skills. As an example:   The gray bird attacks:

[The pigeon fires upon Vole1.]

”Splat!”

“Tee hee hee”     “Ha ha ha”     “Ho ho ho”     [said Vole2]

“Splat!”

[Vole1 slops Vole2’s head.]

The scenes are perfect. No extra text needed. Kids will understand exactly what is happening and exactly how the author wants them to react. What does Splat teach kids? We already know it reminds kids to look where they are walking. Kids will also learn compassion; to put themselves in another’s shoes. Splat is also bully story. The pigeon is certainly a bully. The Vole Brothers did nothing to provoke it. Kids learn to stand up to a bully (even though it was accidental, it counts). Kids learn how to outsmart a gang of bullies using their imagination.

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Splat is a confidence builder. Schwartz shows those kids who feel they cannot write another way to tell a story. The illustrations are terrific. The Vole Brothers are 95% expression, which the author/artist expertly shows on the brothers’ faces and physical movements—and on the pigeon. . The illustrations are as sparse as the words, yet this minimalistic style serves the story perfectly. Not once do the brothers lose their cheerfulness. I love the story and the illustrations.

Finally, kids will love Splat for its humor, for the story of two siblings sticking together against a threat, and for the reaction parents will have when asked to read this over and over and over again. Teachers will love Splat because it teaches kids to respect and have compassion for others and to stand up to bullies. Parents will love Splat . . . uh, parents will love Splat . . . secretly, alone at night, when the kids are asleep. Splat contains no violence and is actually a sweet story. I enjoyed it immensely and kids will, too.

SPLAT!:  STARRING THE VOLE BROTHERS.  Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Roslyn Schwartz.  Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley CA.

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Purchase Splat!:  starring the Vole Brothers at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Splat!:  starring the Vole Brothers HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator Roslyn Schwartz, at  the CCBC:    http://www.bookcentre.ca/directory/roslyn_schwartz

Find great kids book at the Owlkids Books website:    https://store.owlkids.com/

CCBC is the Canadian Children’s  Book Centre:    http://www.bookcentre.ca/

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Also by Roslyn Schwartz

The Mole Sisters and the Question

The Mole Sisters and the Question

The Mole Sisters and the Busy Bees

The Mole Sisters and the Busy Bees

The Vole Brothers

The Vole Brothers

 

 

 

 

 

splat vole brothers

 

copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: books for boys, children's book reviews, Owlkids Books, picture book, pigeions, poop, Roslyn Schwartz, Splat!: starring the Vole Brothers, story time books, The mole sisters, young children's read alone

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21. #633 – I Love You, Too! By Michael Foreman

cover.

I Love You, Too!

By Michael Foreman
Andersen Press U. S. A.            3/01/2014
978-1-4677-3451-6
Age 4 to 8          32 pages
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“Little Bear doesn’t want to go to sleep, so he tries everything he can think of to distract his father, and in the end it’s an exhausted dad who falls asleep!”

Opening

“Dad finished the bedtime story and gently closed the book.”

The Story

Dad Bear tucks his son into bed, reads him a story, and tells his son he loves him. Little Bear has no intentions of going to sleep and so he starts up a back-and-forth he and his dad have done many times: “I love you, I love you more.” It starts out simply and Dad just wants his son to go to sleep.

“I love you three,” said Little Bear, laughing.

“I love you four. Now go to sleep.” said Dad.

“I love you five,” said little Bear.

“I love you even more than that. Now it’s time to sleep,” said Dad.

No, Dad, it is not quite time for bed. Little Bear continues, bringing in his toys, which he loves his dad more than. Dad replies with a simple I love you more, but it will not suffice his son. The boy loves his father more than leaves and birds, all the snowflakes of winter, flowers of summer, colors of the rainbow, and the stars in the sky. To each of his son’s “I love you more than,” Dad replies, “I love you more,” or some variation of this reply. Finally, Dad says,

“You’re only saying that because you don’t want me to go down stairs.”

“No, Dad. It’s because I love you.”

“I love you, too,” said Dad.

“I love you three . . . “

Review

I Love You, Too is a sweet story between a father and son. Picture books need a few more stories involving Dad, who does not get the representation Mom gets in picture books. Poor Dad is usually off to work and, if he is in the book, it is breakfast time and Dad is leaving for work. “Bye kids,” said Dad.

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Little Bear uses his imagination to tell his dad all the ways in which he loves him more than. When Little Bear tells dad he loves him more than all his toys, which are in a corner overflowing out of a toy box, the toys look dejected. The stuffed tiger looks downcast, the donkey appears to have shed a tear, and the others—cat, elephant, panda bear, and bunny,—all look unhappy. Little Bear takes dad up into a tree, into the snow, (where there is a snowbear), into a field of flowers, into the ocean, and onto a sandy beach (where dad is buried under the sand sans his head). In every adventure, Dad smiles and replies that he loves his son and it is time for sleep. Stubborn, but happy, Little Bear ignores his father’s admonitions.

The illustrations, all beautifully done in rich watercolors, welcome the two bears, alone for Little Bear’s love-you-more-than-these adventures. Little Bear’s imagination has these two anthropomorphic brown bears perfectly outfitted in each place Little Bear takes them. As Little Bear finds new ways to love his father more than, the two transport into Little Bear’s imagination to that place, be it a field of flowers,  a rainy day with puddles to play in, or a starry sky to float through, Dad is as happy as Little Bear, wherever Little Bear’s imagination has taken them. I love how Foreman puts the circle of love in motion once more when Dad said, “I love you, too” and Little Bear takes off with his I love you three, but we never find out what those three things he loves dad more than. Dad has fallen asleep on Little Bear’s bed. Little Bear has gotten his wish. Dad is not going back downstairs.  Little Bear picks up the picture book Dad had read him: I Love You, Too!

I Love You, Too_spr

I Love You, Too makes a wonderful bedtime story, though you may find yourself trapped in the “I love you more” merry-go-round, not this is a bad place to be stuck. The story and the illustrations will evoke laughter, smiles, and many “I love you’s” which one can never hear enough. Children will love this story and will soon be using their own imaginations when deciding how much they love a parent more than. I Love You, Too will send many children off to dream land happy and content. If Da Bear is any indication, parents will quickly dose off to their own happy dreamland, maybe even before the last “I love you more than . . . “is said.

I LOVE YOU, TOO! Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Michael Foreman. Reproduced by permission of the US distributer, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN.  

.               First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Andersen Press, Ltd.

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Purchase a copy of I Love You, Too! at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner PublishingAndersen Pressat your favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about I Love You, Too! HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Michael Foreman, at his wiki page:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Foreman_%28author_/_illustrator%29

Find more great books at the Lerner Publishing Group website:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

Find even more books at the Andersen Press U. S. A. website:  http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/

 Andersen Press U. S. A. is an imprint of Andersen Press Ltd.

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Also by Michael Foreman, released in 2014

Moose

Moose

Cat & Dog

Cat & Dog

Classic Christmas Tales

Classic Christmas Tales

Oh! If Only...

Oh! If Only…

Friends

Friends

The Littlest Dinosaur

The Littlest Dinosaur

Fortunately, Unfortunately

Fortunately, Unfortunately

War Game: Village Green to No-Man's-Land (ages 8 to 10)

War Game: Village Green to No-Man’s-Land
(ages 8 to 10)

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Andersen Press Ltd, Andersen Press U. S. A., bears, bedtime story, children's book reviews, fathers and sons, I Love You Too!, Lerner Publishing Group, Michael Foreman, picture books

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22. #634 – Double Reverse by Fred Bowen

         PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

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Double Reverse

by Fred Bowen
Peachtree Publishers               8/01/2014
978-1-56145-814-1
Age 7 to 12                 144 pages
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“READY . . . SET . . . HUT ONE!

“Jesse Wagner has run pass patterns with his older brother Jay since he was a little kid. Now Jay’s heading to college and Jesse’s a wide receiver for the high school freshman team, the Panthers. The season starts off badly, and things get even worse when the Panthers quarterback is injured. Jay suggests that Jesse try out as QB. Jesse knows the playbook backwards and forwards, but he feels that he’s too small for the role. He just doesn’t look the part. Can he play against type and help the Panthers become a winning team?”

Opening

“Ready . . . set . . . hut one!” Jesse Wagner and his older brother Jay were running pass patterns at Hobbs Park, just as they had a thousand times before.”

The Story

Jesse Wagner is finally in high school and the wide receiver for the freshman football team. Quinn (right tackle), and Langston (reserve wide receiver), two of Jesse’s best friends, also play on the Panther freshman football team. Jesse has been running pass patterns with his older brother, Jay and now knows all of the plays the Panthers use without referencing the playbook. Jay, last year’s All-Conference quarterback, is now off to Dartmouth College to play quarterback there.

Henry, the freshman quarterback for the freshman Panthers, poor kid, is confused about every play, cannot seem to remember any of them, and his throws are too short or too long, too high or too wide. Henry looks like an all-star quarterback and will scare the other team . . . until the first play. Jesse nearly suffers a concussion trying to go after a bad pass from Henry. The one who does get hurt is Henry. A Panther lineman stumbles into Henry causing a season ending injury.

Meanwhile, Jay is a good quarterback, but so are many other boys. He does not get the job. His coach wants him to play safety. Home for the weekend to decide if he will quit the team or play safety, Jay talks to Jesse while throwing around a football. Jay agrees to accept safety if Jesse agrees to try out for quarterback, now t hat Henry is gone the position is open. Deal made, Jay returns to Dartmouth and Jesse asks to try out. The assistant coach thinks the shorter than the average quarterback could work. The coach is not buying it. A few practice plays and Jesse has won the position and the nickname “Tark” after Fran Tarkington, a short quarterback that ruled the game in the NFL. Only problem is, with quarterback shored up, another game-busting problem becomes visible: the kicking game sucks. The Panthers sorely need a kicker that can kick beyond midfield.

Savannah, who happens to play the other football game (soccer), as the goalie, can kick the ball with a huge depth and a long hang-time impressing Jesse and his friends, and giving them an outrageous idea. Jesse suggests they ask Savannah to kick for their football team. Savannah is intrigued, but will the coaches? Will the freshman football coaches sign off on a girl football player? Will the girls soccer coach sign off on his best player leaving the team to play football? Can Savannah even make a difference to the plagued freshman Panther football team?

Review

Double Reverse highlights high school football, three stars of the game, and situations that place all three in odd positions. For Jay, a big man on a high school campus, he easily becomes a little man on a college campus, and Jay is having trouble accepting this. He thinks ending his football career is a better idea than taking his talent in another direction. He seriously considers quitting the team—and his Dartmouth education—rather than change his positions and play safety.

From Panther's Playbook

From Panther’s Playbook

Jesse is a great wide receiver, or he would be great if the quarterback could ever get the ball to him. Then injury takes Henry—the quarterback—out during the first game. The Panthers do not have a viable quarterback and Jay thinks Jesse can do it. Jesse believes he is too short to play quarterback—he just does not look the part as Henry did, but Henry couldn’t throw the ball or remember plays so what kind of help was his quarterback looks? The brothers make a pact to try the other positions. Turns out, both are great in their new spots and both are happy.

I enjoyed reading Double Reverse. It has a lot of football action and even gives away some of the panther’s playbook. Double Reverse is also about reinventing yourself when the need or opportunity arises. It is about diversifying yourself, rather than being one set thing all your life. I get how Jay feels, but I do not understand how he could risk his education. Jesse and Savannah both soon learn perception and reality do not always match when they are good at positions neither saw themselves at—Jesse as quarterback and Savannah as goalie (soccer) and then kicker (football).

Jesse's Inspired Change of Play

Jesse’s Inspired Change of Play

Girls will love the character of Savannah who does not want to be the goalie, yet turns out to be a killer goalie. When the boys need her, she reinvents herself as a football player and helps her friends finally win a game. Savanna reflects the change in football with more and more girls playing at the high school level and commend the author for inventing this character and making her so fresh and vibrant. There is a lot of ego in girl’s sports, and girls will enjoy that Savannah’s kicking game is the reason the football team wins a game.

Mainly, Double Reverse shows the importance of growth as children age and experience new things. Sometimes it is good to be the best. Other times it is good to be a team player and sacrifice your glory for the team’s glory. I am not interested in football, yet enjoyed Double Reverse very much, and understand the game better after reading this book. I actually loved all the action during the games. After the story are the true stories of two legends, Fran Tarkington and Cal Ripken, both thought to be wrong to play their respective positions in the pros and the inspiration for Double Reverse.

Dartmouth College "Big Green" Roster

Dartmouth College “Big Green” Roster

No one is expecting a winning season, but the Panthers find ways to overcome the odds against them, some by breaking stereotypes and putting the team before themselves—Henry does this upon his return. Boys and girls that like football, be it the American European, will love reading Double Reverse. The story is much more than a football story, making it appealing to both boys and girls, and it’s a story the reluctant reader can savor thanks to shorter sentences and an uncomplicated vocabulary. Double Reverse is an all-around winning story.

DOUBLE REVERSE. Text copyright © 2014 by Fred Bowen. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by XXXXXXXXX. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlantic, GA.

Purchase a copy of Double Reverse at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Double Reverse HERE.

Meet the author, Fred Bowen, at his website:   http://www.fredbowen.com/

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

Also Writte by Fred Bowen

The Kid Coach

The Kid Coach

Winners Take All

Winners Take All

Soccer Team Upset

Soccer Team Upset

Off the Rim

Off the Rim

Perfect Game

Perfect Game

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Reviewed HERE.

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

Double Reverse

Monday 8/11
The Write Path     http://www.dorinewhite.blogspot.com/

Tuesday 8/12
Kid Lit Reviews     http://kid-lit-reviews.com/
Geo Librarian     http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/

Wednesday 8/13
Librarian in Cute Shoes     http://www.librarianincuteshoes.blogspot.com/

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Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: chidren's book reviews, Dartmouth College Big Green, Fred Bowen, girls high school soccer, girls playing high school football, high shool football, middle grade book, Peachtree Publishers, transforming yourself in sports

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23. After Isaac, by Avra Wing | Book Review

This deeply felt, emotional book is a beautiful glimpse into painful family dynamics, and how a sixteen-year-old boy can come to terms with the complexities of love and loss. An excellent read for teens and adults alike.

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24. #638 – Benny Breakiron #2: Madame Adolphine by Peyo

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Benny Breakiron #2: Madame Adolphine

by Pierre Culliford aka Peyo
Papercutz                           9/24/2013
978-1-59707-436-0
Age 7 +                        54 pages
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“Madame Adolphine is a kind, gentle old lady, and a good friend of the super-strong Benny Breakiron. So why is she robbing a bank, banging a man on the head with a mallet, and being thrown in the trunk of a car, with no memory of what happened? It’s up to Benny to get to the bottom of it . . . and stop it if he can.”

Opening

“Vivejoie-Grande, a cute, little city with provincial charm, that’s where Benny Breakiron lives.”

The Story

Benny has super-strength that works abominably well as long as he does not catch a cold. Colds knock Benny’s super-strength right out of him. Odd, but true. He can leap over buildings in one bound, out run any racecar, and is molding a rather interesting logical mind that he uses to solve many of the situations he faces.

Benny_endpapers

Today, Benny plays a game of cowboys and Indians with Madame Adolphine, an older woman who looks to be in her eighty’s. When she runs out of steam, Benny carries her home and calls the doctor, who is not amused. Madame does not have a pulse and the good doctor figures out the trouble. Finally, Benny finds her identification and a phone number of a friend, who is glad to have the wondering woman back.

Later, Madame Adolphine frees herself with Benny’s help. He thinks her friend is abusing her and helps her get away from his home. This time, Madame Adolphine robs a gun store, a bank, and several people before hijacking a taxi and skedattling out of town. She is on to bigger heists. Her friend is frantic, as is Benny. The police arrest the real Madame Adolphine, placing her directly in jail due to the preponderance of evidence and witnesses, no passing go, no going home. Benny breaks her out of jail, then goes on the hunt for the robber, planning to bring her back and clear the real Madame Adolphine.

Review

The Benny Breakiron comics are funny and kids, probably more boys than girls, will like the stories. I am amazed at Benny’s naivety and trust level considering this is not his first outing with criminals. When he asks the robot to return and she agrees, he believes her, returning on a train alone, convinced she will follow as soon as she “cleans up” her business. She has a major heist to pull with her criminal gang. Until Benny hears of the latest burglary, he is calmly riding home. Quickly he hops off the train, scaring a man who he had terrified so much while breaking the real Madame Adolphine out of jail he is close to a nervous breakdown. I was surprised that the law-abiding Benny would break anyone out f jail. I guess when he is sure of the person’s innocence it is okay. Not a great message but then comics are not about messages they are about fun.

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Benny consistently dupes adults, especially the gang of strong criminals who think they can toss Benny out of the club, but are grossly mistaken when Benny beats them all to a pulp—in bloodless, humorous ways that is as safe as the roadrunner is for a seven-year-old. Even after Benny catches a cold causing the shutdown of his super-strength, the men are afraid. When they figure out Benny lost his powers they go after him but, thanks to the barkeep charged with keeping Benny locked up and who nurses Benny’s cold, Benny has recovered enough to restore his powers and shock the gangsters once more when he pulverizes them all.

In the end, police drop all charges against the real Madame Adolphine and the robot returns to its maker for disassembly. There is a twist, leaving the robot to her own devises once more and the real Madame Adolphine returning for disassembly. Does this mean the story will continue? I do not know and don’t see a new edition with Madame Adolphine in the story-line. I guess we must wait and see.

Kids who like lighter-fare comics, without a lot of violence and anger, will love Benny Breakiron. Benny is an everyday kid who happens to have strength unknown to man. He is a nice kid, a little naive, and maybe too trustworthy, but he always tries to do what is right, even if it means he must use his powers. Benny Breakiron is a good old-fashioned comic by the comic genius of his time—Peyo.

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BENNY BREAKIRON, #2: MADAME ADOLPHINE. Text and illustrations copright © 2013 by Peyo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Papercutz, New York, NY.

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Purchase Benny Breakiron #2: Madame Adolphine at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiTunesPapercutzyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Benny Breakiron #2: Madame Adolphine HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Peyo, at the XX wiki:     http://smurfs.wikia.com/wiki/Peyo

Find more great comics at the Papercutz website:     http://www.papercutz.com/

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Also by Peyo

The Smurfs #15: The Smurflings

The Smurfs #15: The Smurflings

The Smurfs Anthology #1

The Smurfs Anthology #1

Benny Breakiron #1: The Red Taxis

Benny Breakiron #1: The Red Taxis

 

Review of Smurflings #15 HERE

Review of Smurf Anthology #1 HERE

Review of Benny Breakiron #1 HERE

 

 

 

 

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Graphic Novel, Library Donated Books Tagged: Benny Breakiron, children's book reviews, comics, graphic novel, Madame Adolphine, Papercutz, Pierre Culliford aka Peyo, super-powers

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25. The Bambino and Me, by Zachary Hyman | Book Review

The inspiration, passion, and illustrations make The Bambino and Me a wonderful, well rounded, addition to any reader’s roster.

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