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1. #640 – Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10) by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

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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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2. #639 – Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole by Irene Latham & Anna Wadham

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Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole

Written by Irene Latham
Illustrated by Anna Wadham
Millbrook Press                             8/01/2014
978-1-4677-1232-3
Age 4 to 8             32 pages
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“Welcome wildebeest
and beetle,
oxpecker and lion.
This water hole is yours.
It offers you oasis
beside its shrinking shores.

“Spend a day at a water hole in the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Irene Latham’s gorgeous poems are accompanied by additional facts that provide further details about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Wadham complete this delightful collection.”

Review

Dear Wandering Wildebeest, is composed of 15 poems about wild African animals, a glossary of possibly unusual words, and a section of advanced reading, enhanced by beautiful illustrations of the animals and the African land in which they live.

If you like giraffes, monkeys, lions, and elephants, you are in luck. There are also rhinoceros, small nightjars, vultures, marabou storks, oxpeckers, and, of course, wildebeest. Don’t worry, there are many more animals than that in this wonderful book. The pages look like the African Plains have jump onto the paper, leaving nothing bare. The beautiful skies change with the day, sometimes the dark blue of midnight or the rosy shade of dusk.

Some of the poems rhyme and some do not, but all are easy to read aloud. Impala Explosion swiftly jumps off the reader’s tongue.

“Wind lifts
grass shifts

eyes search
legs lurch

twig pop
grazing stops

ears twitch
tails hitch

peace shatters . . .”
—Impala Explosion, (partial poem) by Irene Latham © 2014

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Kids will love the poems. They will understand them all, and any word that is foreign to them is most likely sitting in the glossary waiting to spread some understanding. If you like the aforementioned giraffes, Ms. Latham wrote a triptych in its honor. What is a triptych, you ask? I have no idea, but the glossary knows. Let’s check.

“triptych: a work of art divided into three sections”

That would be correct. The giraffe’s poem is divided into three sections:

Craving,

Caution, and

Courage.”

Feeling parched, the giraffe craves a drink. Giraffe’s must be cautious, as it has no idea what other animals will be at the water hole. It could be dangerous. To quench its thirst, the giraffe must be courageous and confident because other animals will pounce on a weak animal. Giraffes are cool creatures. If the poem does not convince you of this, read the information box in the lower left side of the spread.

Wildebeest_24-25

Each spread has an information box containing interesting things about the animal or animals illustrated. I really like the information the author/poet adds to the spread, much of it new information that I found fascinating. For instance, did you know the impala could jump as high as eight feet? Eight feet! That is high enough to clear the privacy fence in your backyard, if you have one, and have two feet between the top of the fence and the impala’s belly. How about this, in one year, the wildebeest travels—looking for food—more than 800 miles across the Serengeti. This is equivalent to you traveling across the state of Kansas, east to west (or west to east) twice, or the state of Rhode Island from north to south (or south to north) a whopping 20 times! The extra information is very interesting.

The illustrations are simply gorgeous. The African animals depicted in detail and the landscapes of various colors are easily as beautiful as the animals—except maybe snakes. I do not like snakes. If you do, they are covered and you will think they are beautiful. Check out each animal’s eyes. There is always something going on that draws their attention. (I think that darn snake is looking at me!) There is so much to see on each spread.

Wildebeest_4-5

Dear Wandering Wildebeest is one of those picture books that will delight nearly 99% of those most who read its poems and view its lovely art. Kids, you will love the animals, the sometimes-quirky poems, the illustrations, and all the interesting side information about life at an Africa watering hole for the wild creatures that need it for survival. If you love poetry and animals, Dear Wandering Wildebeest is a book is for you. It is really that simple. With school right around the corner, Dear Wandering Wildebeest is perfect book for show and tell or light research for a book report on an African watering hole and the animals that depend upon it.

DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST: AND OTHER POEMS FROM THE WATER HOLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Irene Latham. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Anna Wadham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Purchase a copy of Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryMillbrook Pressyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Water Hole HERE.

Meet the author/poet, Irene Latham, at her website:    http://www.irenelatham.com/

Meet the illustrator, Anna Wadham, at her website:    http://annawadham.blogspot.com/

You can find more poetry at the Millbrook Press website:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

Millbrook Press is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

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Also by Irene Latham

The Sky Between Us

The Sky Between Us

Don't Feed the Boy

Don’t Feed the Boy

 

 

 

Read Review HERE.

 

Also by Anna Wadham

The Ant and the Big Bad Bully Goat

The Ant and the Big Bad Bully Goat

Dingo Dog and the Billabong Storm

Dingo Dog and the Billabong Storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: African animals, Anna Wadham, children's book reviews, Irene Latham, Lerner Publishing Group Inc., Millbrook Press, picture book, poetry

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3. Interview with 16-Year-Old Artist Reyes Rosa

Today, Kid L it Reviews is pleased to bring you an interview with Reyes Rosa, a sixteen-year-old, up-and-coming illustrator. He is here to also showcase some of his work which I think you will enjoy.  (All art copyright © 2014 by Reyes Rosas.)

 

Hi, Reyes. Let’s start at the beginning. How old were you when you began seriously drawing?

I’m 16, now.   And I began seriously drawing last year.

The illustrations here, how old were, Reyes when you created them?HNI_0094

I drew most of them recently.

What is it about illustrating that you like so well?

I find it fun and exciting to give characters life.

 Is there anything you don’t like?

I love everything I do.

Reyes, who is your favorite artist and why?

I do not have a favorite artist. I don’t watch other illustrators.

 

Has a piece of art or character that influenced your art?

This is Kirby and he was my inspiration to start drawing when I was younger.

Kirby is your muse. How does Kirby influence you? 

At the time, he seemed so fun and lively. And he could become anything he wanted, simply by inhaling it!

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How old were you at the time?

I really don’t remember, but I think I was about 11

Until Kirby came along, how much did you draw?

Before that I really didn’t draw at all.

I love the interesting character study you did of a Kirby. I really like all the expressions and positions you included.

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I love your art I have seen. The digital illustrations are fantastic an on the level of much I see today in picture books. How did you learn to make digital art?

I am a self taught artist and the program I mostly use is Colors 3D for digital art.

Did you have any help? Maybe a book on drawing?

I didn’t use any outside sources, I just started drawing.

Some of those art programs have a large learning-curve. No one helped you learn any of it?

No. I have done everything on my own, thru trial and error.

 HNI_0085

Color 3D is a new one for me. What are the advantages/disadvantages of using Color 3D?

Some of the advantages are that it is a very comfortable, easy to use program. It isn’t cluttered by any unnecessary options. And some of the disadvantages are that the program is a little limited in terms of image resolution and tools.

Was Color 3D difficult to learn?

The program itself did not take long to get comfortable with, but acquiring  the skills took quite some time.

HNI_0008_JPGHave you tried using any of the usual programs illustrators like? (Illustrator, Photoshop, Manga 5, Corel Draw, or the open source Gimp)

I have not used any others because this one is the most comfortable for me to use. I have tried Gimp, but found that it is a little overcomplicated. And the others, I just don’t have the funds for.

Do you use a graphic pad?

I do not have a graphic pad, but I have wanted to try one. I use a stylus.

 

What is your normal process when creating illustrations?  Do you sketch and then scan, paint and then scan to finish other areas? How do you get such great looking illustrations?

I usually just sketch within the program and then build the drawing from there.

Which part of the process do you enjoy most – sketching, painting, or digital illustration?

I love sketching and digital illustration. I don’t like the initial starting process of getting a rough sketch down, but I love the process of coloring and shading.

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I know you would like to illustrate children’s books. Have you any experience? 

I have worked with my mother on her kids cookbook doing the illustrations for it.

What you interests you about a career illustrating children’s books?

I like working in the children’s market because it’s more creative and less limited and lets me have more freedom in what I create.

HNI_0040_JPG

Reyes you are a young man with lots of time ahead of you. Have you decided the life path you will take? Will it include art?

Yes, it will definitely include art and I would like to do 3D rendered animation in the future.

Have you thought about college and the art programs they have?

I have not thought about it yet, because I am only 16. But, my mom has thought about sending me to the Art Institute Of Chicago.

HNI_0009You’ve got to love moms. They are always one step ahead.

What do you do to relax?

I like to play video games.HNI_0011

 

 

 

 

 

What would be the most important advice you would give to young artist following you?

Never give up on any drawing, it might look bad at the start, but that’s only part of the process.

 What would you like to get out of this interview?

 I would like for you to share my art with others.

What is the next step for you and your art?

 I want to take my art to where I can do this professionally and have someone represent me.

 HNI_0079

Thank you for stopping by Kid Lit Reviews. In kids lit, an up and coming new artist interested in creating children’s books is exciting. Your innate talent is inspiring. I hope you become and accomplish all you wish to achieve.

 

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Reyes is a self-taught digital artist and
pencil illustrator with a focus on character
art for video gaming and children’s literature.
He has been drawing since he was old enough
to hold a crayon. Reyes is a passionate guy who is
ready to take the next leap by pursuing art as a career.
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Reyes is off the grid, but as been encouraged to build a blog so others may find him and his art.
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: Children's Books, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Illustrator Spotlight, Interviews Tagged: artist, children's books, digital medium, illustration, kidlit, Reyes Rosas

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4. #637 – Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

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Flora and the Flamingo

by Molly Idle
Chronicle Books        2013
978-1-4521-1006-6                             CALDECOTT HONOR BOOKtop-10-use-eb-trans
Age 4 to 8       32 pages
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“Friendship is a beautiful dance. In this innovative wordless book, a tentative partnership blooms into an unlikely friendship between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo. With a twist, a turn, and even a flop, these unlikely friends learn at last how to dance together in perfect harmony. Artist Molly Idle has created a story full of humor and heart, with emotions that leap off the page, and memorable characters who are worthy of countless standing ovations.”

Opening

A flamingo, peacefully standing one-legged in the water, turns its head to look behind it and eyes one little girl, named Flora, standing one-legged in the water, imitating the flamingo, who then turns her head to look behind her.

Review

Do you remember repeating everything your older sibling said or mimicking every movement, just because you could? Flora mimics the flamingo, but not to get the flamingo’s goat. The little girl, in her pink one-piece swimsuit and pink flowered swim cap, takes on the flamingo’s graceful movements and the two begin a beautiful duet.

Words would undeniably be a distraction in the story of Flora and the Flamingo. Movement flows from a variety of flip pages attached atop Flora or the flamingo on several of the pages. For example, Flora imitates the flamingo’s stance:  standing on one leg, head tucked under a wing. Flip down the flaps and the stances change. Both dancers remain on one leg, but now each twists her head toward the other, possibly checking to ensure the other is still there.

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The flamingo is Flora’s mirror, or maybe Flora is the flamingo’s mirror. Each bend, each stretch, each turn, and each look magically appear on both characters at the same time. Flora and the Flamingo will make you giggle and grin. Young girls will love the mystical dance between these two unlikeliest of friends. Before a friendship can be established, the flamingo LETS Flora have it! The shock of flamingo’s sharp bleat flips Flora over and up, landing her on her rear, unhappy. Flora turns her back, refusing to play any longer, but the flamingo finds this worse than being shadowed. It offers Flora a wing, which Flora thinks about before allowing flamingo to help her to her feet.  (Are these two friends or siblings?)

At the moment of friendship, when Flora and the flamingo become dancing partners instead of solo acts, the spread takes on a drastic change. The two begin together on one page. They had begun their awkward dance with the flamingo firmly staying on the left page and Flora on the opposing right page of the spread. Now both are on the right page, figuratively and physically. Their movements become wider, and joyous. The two fly across the spread, smiling as they float, as if on ice. Then there is a big finale, as all great ballets should have. The finale is a wonderful dance only Flora and her flamingo can perform, together in the same spotlight, four pages in length. BRAVO!

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Girls will love this graceful dance between friends, especially those little girls starting their first ballet lessons, wearing their pink tutus, and pink leotards, and some with pink ballet shoes, while others still will have pink ribbons in their hair. Flora is at her first class and flamingo is the instructor. This makes a wonderful baby-shower gift, when the parents-to-be know they have a girl on the way.  Flora and the Flamingo is a beautiful book, with brilliant illustrations that float across the pages. It is no surprise Flora and the Flamingo became a Caldecott Honor Book. The medal winner must have been an amazingly illustrated picture book to beat out these two graceful dancers.

FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO. Story and Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Molly Idle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase  Flora and the Flamingo at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiTunesChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about Flora and the Flamingo HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Molly Idle, at her website:      http://idleillustration.com/

Find more books that are luscious at the Chronicle Books website:    http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

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Also by Molly Idle

FLORA AND THE PENGUIN     2014

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Flora and the Penguin                    2014

Flora and the Penguin
2014

 


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: ballet, birds, Caldecott Honnor Book, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dance, flamingo, girl's picture book, Molly Idle, penguins, picture book, poetry in motion

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5. #633 – I Love You, Too! By Michael Foreman

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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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6. #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.

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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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7. #631 – Mix it Up! by Hervé Tullet

coverMix It Up!

by Hervé Tullet
translated by Christopher Franceshelly
Handprint Books
978-1-4521-3735-3top-10-use-eb-trans (1)
Age 3 to 5 64 pages
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“With more than 140 weeks on the New York Times picture book bestseller list and 18 foreign editions around the world, Hervé Tullet’s Press Here has encouraged hundreds of thousands of children to press, shake, and tilt their books to experience the magic of a printed page that seems to respond to their command.

“With Mix it Up! Tullet brings that sane sense of wonder and possibility to the alchemy of mixing and creating colors. Follow the artist’s simple instructions and see colors appear, mix, splatter, and vanish in a profound understanding of colors in this satisfying companion to Press Here.

Watch colors splatter, mix, and transform, all at the touch of a finger. Follow the directions and turn the page: magic and fun await”

Opening

“Tap that gray spot. Just a little, to see what happens.”

Review

Tap the gray spot and watch differently colored dots appear on the page. After magically getting all the colored dots together, and placing your hand in the middle of them, turn the page. What a wonderful way to begin this adventure into colors. Tullet’s next instruction is simply,

“Mix it Up!”

Mix It Up_Int_A Little Bit of Blue

Now you are given a red, blue, and yellow dot on the left page of the spread and a lone yellow dot on the right page of the spread. The first order of business is to take a little of the blue and gently rub it into the lone yellow. What happens? Turning the page you will see . . .

Mix It Up_Int_Green

. . . the three original dots of red, blue, and yellow remain on the left page (though it looks like you were a tad messy picking up some of the blue, as the blue dot has some smeary spots).  On the right page, barely visible under the blue you gently rubbed into it, is the original lone dot of yellow, (a small area of the blue is also visible).  The color green is on top of both colors. How did the green get there, you ask. Well, that is a great question and the fun part about colors. When you mix two colors, a third color will appear. In this case, mixing blue with yellow produced the color green. It will happen every time. Blue mixed with yellow equals green.

And so this fun book goes. Page after page kids learn how mixing two colors produces a third color. Mix red with blue and make purple. Mix yellow with red and make orange. After a few more pages to reinforce the concept of mixing red, blue, and yellow (the primary colors), to create purple, green, and orange (the secondary colors), Tullet moves on to adding white.

What happens when Tullet gives you a circle of the primary (red, yellow, and blue), and secondary (green, orange, and purple) colors and then asks you to add white from the left page onto each of those color? What would happen if instead of white, you add black? White will create lighter shades of the color you it mixed into and black will make darker shades. Pretty neat, huh? That is what I thought my first time through the book Mix it Up!

Mix It Up_Int_White makes colors lighterMix it Up is the perfect tool when teaching young children about colors. Kindergarten and first grade teachers will find Mix it Up indispensible, as will home-school teachers. Mix it Up is also less messy than using real paints . . . but of course, real paint will needed at some point. But by then, the concepts of color should be understood and kids can let their imaginations take off from there. The illustrations are hand painted, with textures and smears one expects when using finger-paints. Even the text is done by hand, with the font called HervéTulletWhimsy. The illustrations and font fit the concept of Mix itb Up perfectly. I love it!

In the review of Tullet’s picture book Press Here (read it by clicking HERE), I called Press Here brilliant. Mix it Up is no less brilliant. Through the use of painted circles, some finger smearing across the page, and a bit of printing-magic, and you have transformed one color into another. This is a wonderful way of teaching kids about color, mixing color, and creating any color you want to use all from the six basic colors. Mix it Up also does a great job of teaching kids about those primary and secondary colors, and the role of black and white. One last thing, Mix it Up is a great reinforcement tool for those of us who may have forgotten the concepts, or which colors are primary and which are secondary. Nursing home and rehabilitation occupational therapists may find that Mix it Up is just the right tool for their patients. What amazing picture book will Hervé Tullet bring the children next?

MIX IT UP! Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Bayard Editions. Translation copyright © 2014 by Chronicle Books. Reproducced byb permission of the publisher, Handprint Books, San Francisco, CA.

Originally published in France in 2014 by Bayard Editions and entitled Couleurs.
First published in USA in 2014 by Chronicle Books, LLC.

Purchase Mix it Up! for your little artist at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryBayard EditionsChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Mix it Up! HERE.

Read a kid’s review of Mix it Up! HERE. (third review)

Read a review of Press Here HERE.

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Meet the author / illustrator, Hervé Tullet, at his website:    http://www.herve-tullet.com/en/accueil.html

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

Handprint Books is an imprint of Chronicle Books LLC

Also by Hervé Tullet

Help! We Need a Title!

Help! We Need a Title!

The Big Book of Art

The Big Book of Art

I am Blop!

I am Blop!

Press Here

Press Here

 

 

Review HERE.

 

 

 

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: balck & white colors, Bayard Editions, children's book reviews, Christopher Franceshelly, Chronicle Books, color shades, Herve Tullet, learn colors, picture book, primary colors, secondary colors

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8. #629 – About Parrots: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill & John Sill

PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

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About Parrots-page-001About Parrots: A Guide for Children

written by Cathryn Sill
illustrated by John Sill
Peachtree Publishers       8/01/2014
978-1-56145-795-3
Age 4 to 8     32 pages
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“About Parrots is an instructive yet entertaining first glimpse into the world of nature for young children. In this easy-to-read, informative follow-up to the other critically acclaimed books in her About . . . series, author and teacher Cathryn Sill explains what parrots are, how and where they live, and what they do. With the help of beautifully detailed paintings from noted wildlife illustrator John Sill, this book explains the basic characteristics that all parrots share, while offering a closer look into many different kinds of parrots—from the Rosy-faced Lovebirds of southwestern Africa to the rare Blue Lorikeets of the Polynesian Islands. An afterword provides further detail that will inspire young readers to learn more about these colorful birds. About Parrots will accurately answer the first questions of young naturalists and charm readers with the wonder and diversity of these fascinating birds.”

Opening

“Parrots are birds with big heads and thick, curved bills.”

About the Book

Parrots abound in this colorful picture book, which answers many questions young kids will want answered. Begin with, what are parrots? Then move on to what they look like, what they eat, and how they eat. One big question will be why do parrots have have zygodactyl feet (split toes:  two toes in front of the foot and two toes in the back of the foot)?

Where do parrots live: in old climates, warm climates or both? Are all parrots big? Do they live alone or in groups? Can parrots talk? Now, there is a good question. Do any animals consider a parrot food? How does the parrot state safe from these predators? Do parrots sleep in nests like other birds?

GOOD PLATE 9

The answers should help the inquisitive mind of your children, but if they want more, the afterword gives detailed information on a spread-by-spread basis—John Sill calls the spread a “plate.”

Review

About Parrots is full of information about various parrots that is perfect for little minds. The spreads—or plates—are beautiful and extremely detailed. The information flows naturally, not back and forth, which would confuse young minds (and some old minds). Text is minimal, mainly just what needs to be written, and then the illustration on the right takes over.

“Parrots are birds with big heads and thick, curved bills.”

plate 1

On the left side of the spread is an illustration of a Palm Cockatoo. This bluish-grey bird sports a proportionally bigger head as compared to its body, with head plumage that sprays out from its forehead. It has a large grey bill, which looks very sharp, and red blotched cheeks, the only bright coloring on its body. Each page is similarly written and illustrated.

I know kids will learn a lot from About Parrots, as I learned much myself. I love the illustrations. Each bird has fine detail and looks like a photograph, rather than a painting. This realism will help kids understand the information presented, as they can then see the information on the accompanying bird. Included are the natural surroundings. What is missing, and will generate questions from kids who want the answers, are feathers (composition and uses), and babies (including eggs, activities, eating habits, and graduation into adult life. Do they leave the parents or stay as a group?) I can almost hear these questions being asked. They are basic material and should be included.

Birds range from the lovely Blue Lorikeet to the astonishing Hyacinth Macaw, A total of 18 beautiful birds illustrated. There are also many types of green parrots we often see in a pet store. As an OSU fan, I am partial to the African Grey Parrot. It has red under feathers and digs out a nest in a soft wood tree, high above the central African plain. This nest protects themselves and their babies from predators—wolverines—and the weather.

plate 10Kids will enjoy reading About Parrots. Teachers should be able to find various uses for Cathryn Sill’s series. From basic learning about the book’s subject (parrots, raptors, and mammals—also in bilingual edition, and twelve other editions), to the habits, habitats, and the art of each bird’s plumage, teachers can find numerous creative learning materials from the About . . . series. The same applies to home-scholars. The afterword offers in-depth information the text lacks the room to contain. The information is brief, yet informative and interesting. There is also a glossary, a suggested reading list, and additional resources.

The About . . . series currently has fifteen editions, some available in paperback, and, currently, one bilingual English/Spanish. No matter your child’s interest, from parrots to penguins the Sills have created an About . . . series that will peak their curiosity and expand their knowledge of other species. Honestly, there has yet been a Sill created book that I did not like. The illustrations are always stunning and the text teaches things I had not known about the subject. Be it about the desert climate or About Parrots, Sill books are top of the line children’s nature picture books, unsurpassed by any other.

afterword page 1 plates 1 to 6
ABOUT PARROTS: A GUIDE FOR CHILDREN. Text copyright © 2014 by Cathryn Sill. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by John Sill. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.
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Purchase any About . . . series books at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Publishersat your favorite bookstore.
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Learn more regarding the About . . . series HERE.

Meet the author, Cathryn Sill, at her Jacketflap:   http://www.jacketflap.com/cathryn-sill/24246

Meet the illustrator, John Sill,at his website:   http://www.johnsill.com/

Find more non-fiction at the Peachtree Publisher website:   http://peachtree-online.com/


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Also by Cathryn and John Sills

About Mammals: A Guide for Children

About Mammals: A Guide for Children

About Raptors: A Guide for Children

About Raptors: A Guide for Children

About Mammals: A Guide for Children / Sobre los mamiferos: Una guia para ninos

About Mammals: A Guide for Children / Sobre los mamiferos: Una guia para ninos

A Field Guide to Little Known and Seldom Seen Birds of North America (2nd edition)

A Field Guide to Little Known and Seldom Seen Birds of North America (2nd edition)

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Review HERE.

 


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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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PEACHTREE BOOK BLOG TOUR

About Parrots:  A Guide for Children

Monday, August 3rd — http://jeanlittlelibrary.blogspot.com/

Tuesday August 4th — http://geolibrarian.blogspot.com/ and http://kid-lit-reviews.com/

Wednesday, August 5th — Chat with Vera

Thursday, August 6th — Blue Owl and Kid Lit Frenzy

Friday, August 7th — The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: About Parrots, book blog tour, Cathryn Sill, children's book reviews, John Sill, macaws, parrots, wild parrots, zygodactyl feet

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9. #628 – Virgil Creech Takes a Swipe at Redemption by Mark Myers

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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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10. #623 – Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill by Otfried Preussler (translated by Anthea Bell)

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Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill

written by Otfried Preussler

translated from German by Anthea Bell

The New York Review Children’s Collection     9/23/2014

978-1-59017-778-5

Age 9 to 13       258 pages

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.“New Year’s has passed. Twelfth Night is almost here. Krabat, a fourteen-year-old beggar boy dressed up as one of the Three Kings, is travelling from village to village singing carols. One night he has a strange dream in which he is summoned by a faraway voice to go to a mysterious mill—and when he wakes he is irresistibly drawn there. At the mill he finds eleven other boys, all of them, like him, the apprentices of its Master, a powerful sorcerer, as Krabat soon discovers.

During the week the boys work ceaselessly grinding grain, but on Friday nights the Master initiates them into the mysteries of the ancient Art of Arts. One day, however, the sound of church bells and of a passing girl singing an Easter hymn penetrates the boys’ prison: At last they hatch a plan that will win them their freedom and put an end to the Master’s dark designs.”

Opening

“It was between New Year’s Day and Twelfth Night, and Krabat, who was fourteen at the time, had joined forces with two other Wendish beggar boys.”

The Story

Krabat has a strange dream he feels he must follow. The next day he slips away from the other two boys in his vagabond group and goes to the mill of the sorcerer. Krabat and eleven other boys work grinding grain for long days and nights. It is hard work and Krabat has a difficult time keeping up, until Tonda, the lead journeyman and Krabat’s new best friend, lightly touches Krabat while uttering a few words under his breath. Suddenly, Krabat can work as if he gained the strength of many men; the work is still laborious, yet Krabat can work with ease. Krabat has been with the mill almost one year when Tonda dies. Days later, Krabat, now three years older, becomes a full journeyman and a new boy replaces Tonda, sleeping in his bed and wearing his old clothes, just as Krabat had done one year earlier, though he did not know this until the new apprentice arrived that he slept in the bed and wore the clothes of the journeyman he replaced.

Year 2 is not much easier for Krabat. He thinks of Tonda regularly, who, in a dream, tells Krabat to trust Michal. Michal is similar to Tonda and helps Krabat when he needs help. The millwork is still long and hard, but he can easily get through it with the magic the Master teaches his little ravens in his Black School. Once a year, the boys mark each other with the sign of the Secret Brotherhood, pass under the yoke at the door, and take a blow to the check delivered by the Master, reaffirming their roles for another year.

Various Covers, pt. 1

Various Covers, pt. 1

Year 3 sees Krabat ready to leave the mill. He tries to leave three times and three times, he finds himself back in the mill. He runs to the east as far as he can run—but is still on the grounds of the mill. Krabat runs to the north—only to be at the mill. Krabat can escape but one way—death. Year three’s new apprentice is one of the friends Krabat left when called to the mill. The young boy recognizes the name Krabat, tells of having a friend by that name, but does not recognize Krabat who is now many years older than the boy is. Krabat takes his friend under his wing; much like Tonda had done for him.

Krabat cannot let go of the voice of a young singer from the village. Girls and journeymen of the Master’s mill tend to end in tragedy for at least the girl—including Tonda’s girl—and often the boy as well. Krabat knows this, yet still wants to meet this girl. She could become his savior, except no one has ever outwitted the Master. With the help of a couple of other journeymen, Krabat sets about a plan to gain not only his freedom, but also that of the other journeymen as well. This would mean the end of the mill, the end of magic, and the end of the Master. The Master has his own plan involving Krabat; an offer Krabat should find hard to resist yet does. Instead, Krabat places his life in the hands of the village girl. Can this girl pull off what no one before her could?

Various Covers, pt. 2

Various Covers, pt. 2

Review

I have never been disappointed by a New York Review Children’s Book and Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill is no exception. When originally written in 1971, winning many children’s book prizes, some of the German words were archaic and difficult, especially for American children. The translator replaced those words, never losing the story or its basic scheme of horror, love, and friendship between those held in bondage. It is easy to understand why Neil Gaiman calls Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill “one of his favorite books.”

After his dream, when Krabat is walking to the mill, each person he asks for directions or simply meets, tells him to stay far away from the mill. The villagers tell him dark, strange things occur at the mill; yet Krabat ventures on, compelled to find this it. For a beggar boy the mill must seem like Heaven. Krabat gets a warm bed and filling meals that do not scrimp on meat. No more singing for his supper and traveling on foot from village to village is indeed a blessing. But the work grinding grain from dusk to dawn is laborious and leaves Krabat exhausted. Then an older boy, Tonda, steps up to help Krabat. Krabat must keep Tonda’s help secret, as the Master would not be pleased his new apprentice received assistance.

Movie Posters

Movie Posters

The Master is unsympathetic, mysterious, and dangerous. He has secrets of his own. With only one eye, the Master seems to be able to see everything, regardless of where it might occur. Many times, he follows Krabat into town, showing up as a one-eyed raven, or a one-eyed horse, and even a one-eyed woman, all with a black patch over the useless eye—that he cannot disguise. Krabat sees these creatures but never makes the complete connection as to it being the Master.

Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill will delight kids who like adventures, mysteries, and magic. Though the Master deals in the black arts, there is nothing in the story that will scare anyone. At times, the writing feels long, and at times, it is long, yet never arduous or out of place. Preussler spins a tale so complete one wonders if such goings on really occurred in seventeenth-century Germany. Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill will keep kids entranced as they read this gothic tale of orphaned boys finding a home with a dangerous wizard. I enjoyed every word of this captivating story. Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill tends to be best for the advanced reader. Adults will also immensely enjoy this alluring tale.

KRABAT & THE SORCERER’S MILL. Text copyright © 1971 by Otfried Preussler. Copyright © 1981 by Thienemann Verlag. Translatation copyright © 1972 by Anthea Bell. Published in 2014 by the New York Review of Books.

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Purchase Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryNew York Review of Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill HERE.

Meet the author, Otfried Preussler, at his website:    http://www.preussler.de/

Meet the translator, Anthea Bell, bio wiki:    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthea_Bell

Find other classic children’s books at the New York Review Children’s Collection website:   http://www.nybooks.com/books/imprints/childrens/

New York Review Children’s Collection is an imprint of the New York Review of Books.   http://www.nybooks.com/

Originally published in 1972, under the title The Satanic Mill.

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Also by Otfried Preussler, (soon to be published by NYRB)

The Little Witch

The Little Witch

The Robber Hotzenplotz

The Robber Hotzenplotz

The Little Water Sprite

The Little Water Sprite

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also Translated by Anthea Bell

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)

Inkheart (Inkheart Trilogy)

The Flying Classroom (Pushkin Children's Collection)  3/10/2015

The Flying Classroom (Pushkin Children’s Collection) 3/10/2015

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Anthea Bell, children's book reviews, classic tale, journeyman, Krabat & the Sorcerer’s Mill, magic, middle grade book, New York Review of Books, Otfried Preussler, ravens, The New York Review Children’s Collection, wizards

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11. #622 – Eddie and Dog by Alison Brown

9781623701147.

Eddie and Dog

written and illustrated by Alison Brown

Capstone Young Readers      2/01/2014

978-1-62370-114-7

Age 4 ro 8      32 pages

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“Eddie is looking for a friend—a friend who likes adventure. Then Eddie meets Dog. And the fun begins. This wonderful story, with stunning artwork celebrates the excitement of a beautiful relationship.”

Opening

“Eddie dreamed of adventure.

“He imagined flying off to far-off places and doing amazing things. Then one day . . . “

Review

Eddie found Dog. No, wait, Dog found Eddie.

Eddie is at the airport, dreaming of adventures, when he sees Dog in a pet carrier, which Dog opens with his paw. (Dogs can get out of anything.) Dog wants a life of adventure and must see the same in Eddie. Dog asks Eddie if he would like to play. This is the beginning of a unique friendship and a lovely picture book. Eddie and Dog is one of my favorite picture books this year.

What fun the two enjoy together. Their adventures are loaded with suspense, intrigue, and some silliness for good measure. The two hunt crocodiles, sail the seven seas—I’m thinking in alphabetical order—build a grand fort, and traipse through lush jungles. That was day one.

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When Eddie introduced his new best friend to his mother, she said Dog could not stay—the yard is too small.  Poor Dog. Poor Eddie. Eddie keeps thinking about Dog and it is a good bet that Dog thinks a lot about Eddie. The next day, Dog returns to Eddie. Mom stands her ground. Dog needs a bigger yard and a better home. Mom’s imagination and creativity has taken back seat t her larger practical side. She can’t see the blossoming relationship between Eddie and Dog or how important it is to the new friends. Instead of working with the yard, she instantly says it is too small.

Dog is trying as hard as he can to keep his friendship with Eddie alive. Good friendships should never die—they are too hard to cultivate. But Eddie’s mom is consistently saying no to a dog. Do dogs make her nose sneeze and her eyes cry? Maybe mom really is concerned with Dog’s happiness. Hm, I wonder what will happen next.

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I love Eddie and Dog. They must belong together else, Dog would not make such grand gestures, would he? Dogs do love unconditionally. And Dog is a dog. You cannot beat logic. Eddie and Dog belong together. I bet Dog keeps trying until Eddie’s mom runs out of excuses and places for Dog to go.

The story is well-paced and the illustrations hit the mark on each and every page.The final spread is my favorite illustration. Eddie sits behind Dog as Dog flies his shiny red propeller plane to their next awesome adventure.. Dog is a cute, cuddly canine. He is the perfect size for Eddie. Dog loves adventures, just as Eddie wanted! The ending has an unexpected twist that I love. Dog can accomplish many fantabulous things in a short amount of time.

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Children will love Eddie and Dog. They will be sad when Eddie is sent away, but after the first return—a wonderful twist—kids will keep smiling even when mom sends Eddie off several more times. Sometimes knowing the punch line can be fun. Kids will love Eddie and Dog, even to the point of wanting their own Dog (sorry Eddie). Parents can take heart. Eddie and Dog is an easy and fun read with moments needing sound effects only a parent can provide. Will Eddie and Dog become your child’s favorite book? Quit possibly so, at least until the next edition of an Eddie and Dog adventure hit bookstores. Enjoy!

EDDIE AND DOG. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Alison Brown. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Eddie and Dog at AmazonB&NCapstone Young Readersyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about Eddie and Dog HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Alison Brown, at her website:    http://www.littletiger.co.uk/authors/alison-brown

Find more good books at the Capstone Young Readers website:  http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Young Reader is an imprint of Capstone:   http://www.capstonepub.com/

Eddie and Dog was originally published in Great Britain by Little Tiger Press in 12/18/2013.

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Also by Alison Brown

I Love You Night and Day

I Love You Night and Day

Mighty Mo

Mighty Mo

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eddie and dog

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Alison Brown, Capstone, Capstone Young Readers, chidren's book reviews, creativity, determination, Eddie and Dog, friendhip, imagination, Little Tiger Press, persistance, pets, relationships

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12. #621 – Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis

cover1Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be

by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis

Preliteracy Partners / Belly-Books          3/01/2014

978-0-9860511-0-4

14 page, 8 x 8 Board Book

Age:  last trimester to 3+

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“Exciting results rom recent studies show the powerful effects of reading to babies in utero: a rhythmic, repetitive story read regularly during the last trimester will soothe your baby after he or she is born. It’s also been sown that sharing storied with pretern aies familiarizes them with the voices of their parents and other family members, and that babies can even absorb elements of language while in the womb. Such discoveries inspire the Belly Book Collection.”

Opening

“Hello in there, baby! I’m thinking of you

As you’re curled up inside me so small

Every joy we share

All my loving care

And I can’t wait to show you it all!”

Review

Can’t Wait to Show You consists of one poem of 10 5-line stanzas. The poem begins with one stanza on the first spread, two stanzas on the second spread, and alternates from there until the final one stanza spread. The rhyming scheme notation is a-b-c-c-b. If not for the first line standing alone, the 5-line stanzas are close to the limerick form.

The authors base their book on the idea that in the last trimester, the child can hear the voices outside of the womb and can remember those voices. This familiarity helps the child relax, find a happy mood, and may help the child at birth. Singing the poem will intensify this, as newborns can recognize repeated songs, which also has a calming effect. The process of reading to their yet-to-be-born child also helps the parents’ transition into parenthood and enjoy the nine-month gestation period.

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The poem is event centered. Parents anxious to meet their child is the on-going theme consistently stated in the fifth line.

“Oh, I can’t wait to show you the . . . “

In the second stanza, they cannot wait to show their child the light of the sun through rainbows, suncatchers, and sunbeams. In the final stanza, the parents cannot wait to show the child their love. The poem is easy to find a nice consistent rhythm by which to sing the verses or simply read them aloud with ease. The meter is consistently perfect.

One of the most interesting features of Can’t Wait to Show You is the book’s shape. The edges and corners curve making the rounded book smooth and perfect for a baby-belly. The book is designed to comfortably sit atop the pregnant woman’s belly and, later, the child, as she or he sit in mom or dad’s lap listening to the now familiar poem.

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The illustrations are beautiful. Each new spread advances the age of the child from third-trimester to toddler and then flows full-circle back to a newborn on the final spread. The babies and toddlers are happy bundles of baby fat and smiles; images that will be irresistible to most. The pages are thick, perfect for children’s grips. The weight of the book as a whole should help it stay in the given belly position.

I love the poem Can’t Wait to Show You. Here is my favorite spread; the fourth spread:

“If you try some bananas and peaches

Lick the spoon so they don’t go to waste

For your birthday I’ll make

Chocolate angelfood cake

Oh, I can’t wait to show you the taste!

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“Your blanky is warm, soft and snuggly

The splashy bath suds make you squeal

A kitten will purr

When you snuggle her fur

Oh, I can’t wait to show you the feel!”

The love of reading is acquired best when started early. Reading to your child in the womb is the best start, as long as reading to your child continues through the years. The beauty of the words and illustrations make Can’t Wait to Show You the perfect baby shower gift. It would also be a unique gift as unique as the poem inside the pages.

useCan’t Wait to Show You is not a novelty book. Nor is it just for mothers. Fathers can and should read to their baby; getting to know the one person who will wrap him around their finger for a lifetime. Can’t Wait to Show You is destined to become a family favorite that lasts many years, and then becomes a cherished heirloom passed down to succeeding generations.

CAN’T WAIT TO SHOW YOU:  A CELEBRATION FOR MOTHERS-TO-BE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 by Jacqueline Boyle and Susan Lupone Stonis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Preliteracy Partners / Belly-Books.

Purchase Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be at AmazonBelly-Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Can’t Wait to Show You: A Celebration for Mothers-to-Be and Belly-Button Bookss HERE.

Meet author Jacquelilne Boyle at her website:    http://jacquelineboyle.wordpress.com/

Meet author, Susan Lupone Stonis, at her website:   https://thereadingwomb.wordpress.com/

Find Belly-Books at the website:   http://belly-books.com/

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Also by Jacqueline Boyle

Dead Drop

Dead Drop

 

 

 

cant wait to show you


Filed under: 5stars, Board Books, Book Excerpt, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Poetry Tagged: baby books, baby shower gifts, board book, children's book reviews, in utero book, Jacqueline Boyle, poetry, read to baby in utero, Susan Lupone Stonis

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13. #617 – Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter Howard Binkow & Reverend Ana and Taillefer Long

coverHoward B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matters

written by Howard Binkow & Reverend Ana

illustrated by Taillefer Long

Thunderbolt Publishing          1/01/2013

978-0-9826165-9-8

Age 4 to 8                 32 pages

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“Using humor and a light approach this book introduces to 5 to 8 year olds the concept “to have good manners is to do and say only what makes people feel good and comfortable.” The thirteenth book in the award winning Howard B. Wigglebottom series. Teacher and Counselor approved. Tips and lessons are included. Reviews and support resources are available at wedolisten.org”

Opening

“Howard Wigglebottom woke up very worried.”

The Story

Howard is worried about his friends not doing well in the Pup Scout’s Good Manners Competition. They compete in just five days. Oinky habitually burps, never saying, “Excuse me.”

Joey bumps into people and never says, “Excuse me.”  Kiki uses unkind words, which is not nice. Even the Snorton Twins lack patience, cutting in l line, not willing to wait their turn. Howard must deal with a very ragamuffin group for this year’s contest. He needs help and enlists a coach. All good teams have coaches, right? Howard decided to get a coach for the manners team.

Howard cannot find a grown-ups willing to coach. Then he asked Ms. Owlee, who observed each kid’s manners at home, school, the park, and everywhere else they went. When the team had gathers for a coaching session, Ms. Owlee had basically one thing to tell the team. Some may say it’s a trick, because it involves secret magical words, but if it is a secret, no one will find out. Can Ms. Owlee coach Howard’s Manners Team on to victory?

Review

Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter deals with many rude and yucky behaviors. Howard’s team coach, Ms. Owlee, takes a different from most approach to the team’s bad manner problems. Ms. Owlee not only shows the kids the right thing to do in their particular situations, she also gets them to understand why good manners are so important. Some of the kids burp and others fart but no one said, “Excuse me.” Part of the problem is that we often find those behaviors funny. This is especially true with young boys and fathers—when mom is not around. To be honest, sometimes it is funny, yet still not nice.

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I like the secret magic words—two words—Ms. Owlee has the kids remember. Whenever they do something rude or gross, like fart or burp, they are to recall this secret. That, in turn, will help the kids remember to use manners. It works. This makes a lot of sense to me. If I know the reason behind something, I am more likely to comply with whatever it is. Understanding can go a long way in changing behavior. The next time Buzz sneezes, he remembers why he should show good manners and says, “Sorry for not covering my face.”  Well, it’s a start. Nothing in the story deals with actions, only good manner words.

The magical words work with all the team members, who are now ready for the Manners Competition. In the end, Howard is pleased with his team’s performance. The entire team is thrilled. The story is an interesting way of conveying good manners to young children. Ages  4 to 8, and even younger, need constant reminders about manners. Reading Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter can entertain kids while instilling the good manners they so desperately need to learn at this age. Kids can read, or listen while someone else reads, the book over and over, ingraining the information and the difference between good and bad manners. Repetition is a master at helping children learn. This is why so many young children’s books use repetitive lines in the stories.

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The illustrations are cute. The animals all have human qualities and characteristics, a technique called anthropomorphism. The cute skunk, pig, alligator, dogs—Howard Wigglebottom is a bunny–, and many other animals, will entertain kids. They have bright eyes, big smiles, and wear a variety of clothes, some of which are funny. The mouse Kiki speaks to nicely reminds me of the Monopoly man, with his top hat and long circus-style coat. I love the turtle that needs a walker to get around. Her curved shell easy looks like a hunch back, or a woman with osteoarthritis. The characters, all animals, range from very young to very old. I like this mix of young and old, similar to what children see and deal with daily.

The Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter is one in a series of books devoted to helping young children grow up with the characteristics they need for success. Series titles always begin, Howard B. Wigglebottom . . . Titles include . . . Learns to Listen; Learns About Bullies; Learns too Much of a Good Thing is Bad; On Yes and No: A Fable about Trust; and the Power of Giving:  A Christmas Story, to name a few in this ever-growing series (13 thus far). The Howard B. Wigglebottom stories are well-written, interesting stories that will hold children’s attention from start to finish; perfect for use in the classroom. Young children love to learn and they love to please, making this a great age to learn and reinforce good manners. With the gentle persuasiveness of Howard’s friend, Ms. Owlee—a very smart owl in deed—Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners Matter will help and encourage many children and their parents.

Oh, what was that? What are Ms. Owlee’s secret magical words? Well, it is a secret, and . . . you didn’t say, “Please.”

HOWARD B. WIGGLE BOTTOM AND MANNERS MATTER. Text copyright © 2013 by Howard Binkow Living Trust. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Taillefer Long. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Thunderbolt Publishing, through the distributor, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN.

Buy Howard B. Wigglebottom and Manners  Matter at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiTunesLerner BooksWeDoListenat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about the  Howard B. Wigglebottom Series HERE.

**Meet the author, Howard Binkow, at his website:  https://wedolisten.org/

For an informative interview with Howard Binkow, go HERE.

**Meet the author, Reverend Ana, at her website:    https://wedolisten.org/

Meet the illustrator, Taillefer Long, at his website:    http://childrensillustrationartist.com/

**Find more Howard B. Wigglebottom books at the Thunderbolt Publishing website:    https://wedolisten.org/

Distributed by Lerner Publishing Group:        https://www.lernerbooks.com/

**Collectively called the We Do Listen Foundation @ wedolisten.org

poster  wigglebottoms manners.

Free Poster HERE.

Listen to Song, find Lessons and Reflections HERE.

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copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: bad manners, children's book reviews, good manners, Howard B. Wigglebottom, Howard Binkow, Lerner Publishing Group, picture books, Reverend Ana Rowe, Taillefer Long, Thunderbolt Publishing

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14. #615 – Planet Kindergarten by Sue Ganz-Schmitt & Shane Prigmore

cover.

Planet Kindergarten

written by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

illustrated by Shane Prigmore

Chronicle Books          7/01/2014

978-1-4521-1893-2

Age 4 to 8        32 pages

“Today is liftoff.  ‘You are well prepared,’ says Dad. Mom counts down. Into the rocket ship . . . the boosters fire, and we launch. I’m off to PLANET KINDERGARTEN. Suit up for a daring adventure as our hero navigates the unknown reaches and alien inhabitants of a       plante called . . . Kindergarten. This clever book will prepare young explorers for their next mission—whether it’s a strange new world, or somewhere much closer to home.”

Opening

“We arrived at the base camp, then orbit while we look for a place to dock.”

Review

Planet Kindergarten hooked me from the pre-story pages. I love this picture book, as will little boys and girls. Kindergarten is the first time at school when you must stay without mom or dad. Very frightening. Sure , there are toys scattered about and a giant slide, and a doll house you can go into, but school . . . alone . . . take me home.  The hero of Planet Kindergarten is just as leery about kindergarten. I love the use of a new planet for the school and the hero needing to climb aboard his personal rocket ship. I think I walked.

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The story actually begins long before the first page. On the end page, the young boy is waking up to . . . an . . . alarm! The countdown begins for liftoff. Before that can happen, he must prepare. A calendar marks off the days until school begins, his mom takes him shopping, the dog drills him the ABC’s, a doctor passes him for takeoff, and dad helps him organize his supplies. Now it is just the alarm and it has rung louder than expected. BLAST OFF! The young boy is on his way to Planet Kindergarten. Now the story begins.

I love the author’s imagination, as will parents and kids. This is a great way to prepare kids for the first day of school, or camp, or going to Aunt I-Don’t –Want-To-Go. The author takes the major points of school and translates them into an alien adventure. Gravity is different, making it hard for the kids, I mean crewmates, to stay in their seats. Gravity also means trash must go in a bin or it will float away. Quickly, the young boy finds out what a time-out is all about as he and another boy fight over a red ball. The two become fast friends while sitting out. Mom even gives her son a Spock salute as she leaves him on his own.

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Planet Kindergarten is the most imaginative book I have seen about starting school. Boys will love this, as will some girls. Planet Kindergarten looks like a boy’s book with its dark, yet bold cover of the young boy in a spacesuit against a backdrop of stars. I think reluctant readers will enjoy this picture book. The imaginative text makes Planet Kindergarten an easy and enjoyable read. I doubt parents will mind re-reading it.

The illustrations look like the young boy is on a strange planet, but with all the trappings of kindergarten. And when nap time becomes more than the young boy can handle, he remembers a NASA motto: Failure is NOT an Option. You can’t fail with Planet Kindergarten in your pre-school arsenal. Kids will love the space jokes and the alien kids (who just might look like some of their own classmates). School is in session soon. Have fun on Planet Kindergarten.

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For a different perspective—one closer to kindergarten than mine—check out Erik’s review HERE!

PLANET KINDERGARTEN. Text copyright © 2-14 by Sue Ganz-Schmitt. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Shane Prigmore. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Pick up your copy of Planet Kindergarten at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Planet Kindergarten HERE.

Meet the author, Sue Ganz-Schmitt, at her website:    http://sueganzschmitt.com

Meet the illustrator, Shane Prigmore, at his website:    http://shaneprigmore.com

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

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Also by Sue Ganz-Schmitt

Even Superheroes Get DiabetesEven Superheroes Get Diabetes

Even Superheroes Get Diabetes Even Superheroes Get Diabetes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Shane Prigmore

The All-Purpose SPHDZ Boxed Set: Books 1 - 4

The All-Purpose SPHDZ Boxed Set: Books 1 – 4

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planet kindergarten


Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, first day of school, picture books, Planet Kinder-Garten, rocket ships, Shane Prigmore, space, Sue Ganz-Schmitt

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15. #614 – Planes Go by Steve Light

41YveoPL2fLPlanes Go

written & illustrated by Steve Light

Chronicle Books      8/12/2014

978-1-4521-2899-3

Age infant to 2     16 pages

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“The helicopter goes, ‘PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATATA.’ The jumbo jet goes, ‘Wheeeeeeeee VRRRRRRRRRRUUUHHHHHHHHHMMM.’ The propeller plane goes, ‘HUK HUK HUK WHIRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRR.’ Prepare for liftoff with 8 exiting aircraft and the noises they make in this irresistible board book! The long, oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and stands out on the shelf, and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.”

Opening

“The helicopter goes, PITTATATTATA PITTATATTATA PITTATATTATA”

Review

Planes Go will thrill any young boy—and girls, too—who love airplanes, and what child does not? You can sound just like a propeller plane, helicopter, or a blimp, entertaining your youngster as these different flying machines burst from the pages. The pages are extra thick for little hands that sometimes play rough. If jelly from that PB&J slips out from the bread, maybe landing on the supersonic jet, not to worry. The jelly, and most other kid substances, will wipe off the sturdy, glossy board book.

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In addition to Planes Go, the series includes Trucks Go, Trains Go, and Diggers Go. The illustrations are colorful and full of the sounds each machine makes as it rumbles through the sky. There is a seaplane, helicopter, propeller plane, fighter plane, blimp, supersonic jet, and the space shuttle. Wherever you want to go, there is a plane to take you there. Read through the book once, adding your best plane imitations with help from the author and your child can take it from there. By the way, those airplanes sounds are examples of onomatopoeia. Brr, swish, whoop, wizz are also examples of onomatopoeia. When you try to imitate the sound anything makes, like a slithering snake, “Ssssssss,” you are using onomatopoeia.

I have a nephew who, when he was two-years-old would have fought me for this book and would want the other three books in the series. He loved cars, trucks, planes, scooters, and anything else that had power and moved. Planes Go, and all the other in the series, will ignite your youngsters imagination as the planes and helicopters take off for places only your child knows. These books are a great way to introduce curious young minds to the vehicles he or she is likely to see when traveling.  The book is longer than normal to accommodate the elongated bodies of many planes. I think this is a great series and youngsters will love the planes and the sounds each one makes, especially if it is mom or dad making those sounds.

PLANES GO. Text and illustrations  copyright © 2014 by Steve Light. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Here is an Onomatopoeia Dictionary

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Purchase Planes Go at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Planes Go HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Steve Light, at his website:    http://www.stevelightart.com/

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

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Also by Steve Light

Trucks Go

Trucks Go

Trains Go

Trains Go

Diggers Go

Diggers Go

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(review HERE)

 

 

 

Have You Seen My Dragon?

Have You Seen My Dragon?

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Boats Go (2/01/2015)

 

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planes go


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: All About Children (blog), bli9mp, board books, children's book reviews, flying machines, helicopters, planes go, space shuttle supersonic jet, Steve Light, vehicles

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16. #612-613 – Monster Knows I’m Sorry and Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites

Here are two wonderful board books for the youngest kids out there ready to open a book or two. Both are colorful and made me laugh. First up, an appropriate book for the mess my shotty computer has caused.

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9781479522019.

Monster Knows I’m Sorry

written by Connie Colwell Miller

illustrated by Maira Chiodi

Picture Window Books          3/06/2014

978-1-4795-2964-3

8 x 8 18 pages

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“Monsters are at Plooble School. There’s time for work and play. Monsters make mistakes at times. “I’m sorry” is easy to say.”

Opening

“At Pooble School the monsters play. They also learn the words to say.”

Review

The monsters at Plooble School are a fearsome bunch. From one eye to three eyes or no eye at all, these monster will not scare the little reader. Every monster wears a smile and is glad to be at school. The words to learn today are “I’m sorry.”
All the monsters are seated at their desks, except for one. This monster is goofing around, but when he realizes what he is doing, he faces his classmates and says,

“I’m sorry, friends. I’ll calm down.”

I’m sorry is used in many ways.

“I’m so sorry you feel bad.”
“Oops, I’m sorry, I forgot that rule.”
“I’m sorry, that wasn’t fair.”

FOR REVIEW USE

What a great way to help young children understand how and why one says, “I’m sorry.” The monsters are funny, kind, and considerate. What wee one does not want to go to school like their big brother or sister? Now, they can go to school at Plooble School with the friendliest monsters seen around books this year. In addition to Monster Knows I’m Sorry, there are three more manner books: Monster Knows Excuse Me, Monster Knows Please and Thank You, and Monster Knows Table Manners. Each book is colorful and uses fun situations to help little children understand the concept of that particular book. I really like this series. I think kids will like the series and may just learn some manners faster than they might otherwise learn them.
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But we are not done. No, not yet. Now we have the biggest beast know to man—the elephant. Meet Eddie and Ellie.

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9781410953551.

Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites

written by Daniel Nunn

llustrations by Steve Walker

Heinemann Raintree         8/29/2014

978-1-4109-5355-1

8 x 8 18 pages

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“Eddie and Ellie are good friends. But sometimes, Eddie and Ellie can’t stop arguing. You see, everything that Eddie likes . . . Ellie likes the opposite!”

Opening

“This is Eddie the Elephant. And this is Ellie the Elephant. Eddie and Ellie love animals! But they can never agree which ones are best.”

Review

Eddie and Ellie are the cutest elephants you will ever see anywhere. I love their big white curious eyes and the green bow atop Ellie’s head. Eddie and Ellie are so adorable a stuffed toy companion of each would be irresistible to hugs. Oh, who would not enjoy a “real” Eddie and Ellie sitting on their bed ready to show them some terrific animals? If only they could agree!

Eddie likes BIG animals like white polar bears. But Ellie likes SMALL animals like lizards. (I’ll go with Eddie on this one.) Poor Ellie is cross-eyed watching the lizard crawl up her long trunk. Yuck! Some kids will love it and it is funny to see. Eddie likes HEAVY animals like the rhinoceros, but Ellie likes LIGHT animals like the lemur. (I’m with Ellie, light is best for a pet.) Back and forth, these two elephants compare their likes to one another. One likes DIRTY animals while the other likes CLEAN animals. One likes animals that live in COLD places and the other likes animals that live in HOT places. (Hot, definitely wins.)

one to use with review

Kids will get more than a few animals to admire while Eddie and Ellie counter each other. By book’s end, young children should understand the concept of opposites. Young kids will love Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites. They never argue, just compare their likes to the other’s likes. Eddie and Ellie smile, stand up on two legs raising their arms in excitement, and seem to have a good time with the other animals. Ellie rides a hippo and Eddie admires the long neck of a giraffe. Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites is another cute board book from Heinemann Raintree/Capstone.

.Now, off with you. Go get your own Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites and of course Monsters Knows I’m Sorry. Go on. They are waiting for you. Don’t keep monsters waiting. Those elephants will remember how fast you came for them. Now, shoo!

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MONSTER KNOWS I’M SORRY. Text copyright © 2014 by Connie Colwell Miller. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Maira Chiodi. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Picture Window Books/Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

Buy Monster Knows Manners series at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstoneyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about the Monster Knows Manners series HERE.

Meet the author, Connie Colwell Miller, at her website:    http://conniecolwellmiller.com/

Meet the illustrator, Maira Chiodi, at her website:    http://mairachiodi.com/

Find more board books at the Picture Window Books website

an imprint of Capstone Books

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EDDIE AND ELLIE’S OPPOSITES. Text copyright © 2014 by Daniel Nunn. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Steve Walker. Reproduced by permission of the publisher Heinemann Raintree, North Mankato, MN.

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Buy Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryCapstoneyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about the Eddie and Ellie’s Opposites HERE.

Meet the author, Daniel Nunn, at his facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/danielnunn

Meet the illustrator, Steve Walker, at this website:    http://stevejwalkerstudio.blogspot.com/

Find more board books at the Heinemann Raintree website

an imprint of Capstone Books
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USE TOGETHER


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: board books, Capstone, children's book reviews, Connie Colwell Miller, Daniel Nunn, Eddie and Ellie’s Animal Opposites, elephants, Heinemann Raintree, Maira Chiodi, manners, Monster Knows I’m Sorry, monsters, opposites, Picture Window Books, Steve Walker

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17. #611 – SLAM! A Tale of Consequences by Adam Stower

518Yi1bDDOL.

Slam!: A Tale of Consequences

written and illustrated by Adam Stower

Owlkids Books 3/15/2014

978-1-77147-007-0

Age 3 to 7 32 pages

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A boy heads to the store with his dog to buy some candy. On his way out, the door slams behind him. Oops. What starts off innocently builds into a contagious, calamitous, cacophony of crashing cars, flopping fish, wobbly workers, not to mention dogs, cats, rockets, kites, lions, clown, ice cream, dragons and . . . aliens? Where will this tale of consequences go next? You’ll never guess!”

Opening

“Don’t slam the d . . . SLAM!”

Review

Have you ever thrown a pebble into a puddle and watched as the water ripples outward, never ceasing to end? Cause and effect. Now everyone has heard at some time in his or her life, “Don’t slam the door!” Why is this door admonition so universal? One word: consequences. Read SLAM! A Tale of Consequences and you will understand cause and effect.

A young boy, maybe nine or ten, steps out with his dog to make a candy store run. Someone inside the house yells to him,

“Don’t slam the door.”

The boy is listening to something on his headphones. Maybe a book on tape and a moment of crisis is about to unfold. He just cannot turn it down to listen to something he hears day in and day out. Okay, he is most likely listening to music while absentmindedly walking the dog. The boy slams the door and out bounces his red playground ball.

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Now that the cause has been established, it is time for the effects—the consequences. The red ball bounces haphazardly onto the sidewalk, hitting the bag of groceries an older woman is was carrying. Eggs fly out and smack another woman jogging towards the first, and oranges roll out into the street where a fish truck swerves hard to avoid them. The back door of the fish truck swings open and fish fly everywhere. And you thought fish couldn’t fly. Wrong. Those fish flew into people smacking them in the mouth, knocking them down, and worse, an octopus flew down an open manhole. (In retrospect that probably saved two men’s lives, as it stopped them from entering the sewer.) The octopus hit a dragon that was calling the sewer home. The dragon flies out of the sewer, fire breathing everywhere, and goes crazy. Now the young boy, he is still oblivious to the destruction behind him, but his poor dog cannot get away from it all. Cause and Effect. Consequences.

The illustrations have so many details it takes a while to notice all that is happening on each spread. There are old and young people, dogs and cats, circus performers and a dragon, construction men and lots and lots of fish. The baker takes a swordfish in the rear while a dog, now on a skateboard, finds a fish over his head. Acrobats juggle a lion, clowns launch out the back of a circus van, and a big tough guy, he looks like he wants to run. Everyone ends up covered in various ice cream flavors.

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Kids of all ages will love this hilarious minimal text picture book. Words, not needed. Once the door slams, the only thing people will be saying, or rather yelling, do not belong in a kid’s book, let alone a picture book for the youngest children. Even without words, SLAM! A Tale of Consequences is hilarious with a capital H. It is laugh-out-loud funny. It is read it too me again hijinks. If you like slam-stick, the kind that happened on older shows such as I Love Lucy or like Melissa McCarthy performs to today’s audiences of funny-lovers, you will love SLAM! A Tale of Consequences.  I love Slam!

The young boy does get his candy. On the way out of the candy store he once again fails to hear,

“Don’t SLAM the door!”

The young boy slams the door and the . . .

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SLAM!  A TALE OF CONSEQUENCES. Text and illustration copyright © 2005 by Adam Stower. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.

**Originally published in the U.K. in 2005 by Templar Publishing.

Purchase SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about SLAM!  A Tale of Consequences HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Adam Stower, at his website:    http://www.worldofadam.com/

Find other books to enjoy at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

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  NEW in 2014 by Adam Stower

Naughty Kitty!

Naughty Kitty!

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Dinosaurs (Pictura)

Troll und Oliver - Bilderbuch

Troll und Oliver – Bilderbuch

Snowball Fight!

Snowball Fight!

Around the World in Eighty Days

Around the World in Eighty Days

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slam USE THIS ONE


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Adam Stower, children's book reviews, dire consequences, hilarious action, laugh-out-loud, Owlkids Books, picture books, SLAM! A Tale of Consequences, slapstick

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18. #609 – The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud

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The Bear’s Sea Escape

written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

Chronicle Books       8/05/2014

978-1-4521-2743-9

Age 3 to 5      32 pages

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“Papa Bear and Little Bear were trying to sleep  . . . Suddenly, a case of mistaken identity results in a big adventure for Little Bear, with Papa Bear in pursuit! This sequel to the New York Times Notable Book The Bear’s Song follows the bears from a snowy city to a tropical island where sea-inspired surprises are in store, leading to fun in the sun, a warm reunion, and, finally, the perfect place to sleep!”

Opening

“High atop the opera house with snowflakes falling fast, Papa Bear and his cub snuffle their snouts up through the snow.”

The Story

Papa Bear decides the rooftop of the opera house is not the best place for he and Little Bear to sleep. They go off in search of a better place to sleep. Papa Bear finds the perfect place among many, many other bears that are already hibernating comfortably. Little does Papa Bear know is that he has chosen a toy store in which to slumber. A little boy takes a liking to Little Bear, adopts him, and off they go to who knows where. Papa Bear awakes from his deep sleep enough to notice Little Bear gone. He grans a scooter and goes in hot pursuit after his cub.

Review

By taxi and train, Little Bear finds himself escorting a young boy who believes Little Bear is his new toy. Now embarking on a cruise ship, Papa Bear will need some wits about him to get on that ship and find his Little Bear. And how Papa Bear gets on the ship is quite ingenious, especially for a bear. But this bear has been finding himself smack in the middle of Benjamin Chaud’s expansive imagination.

The illustrations are amazingly intricate. And Papa Bear is not the only one acting a bit strange around the ship. There is a man swimming, a kid in a pool ring, and even a penguin in what should be chilly waters below the ship. I love Chaud’s illustrations. In Bear’s Song and in I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . . Chaud adds details one can easily miss, even after several readings if one does not take the time to scan the pages, taking in the beautiful, and often zany, extra details no one expects.

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The story is good—we know Papa Bear and Little Bear reunite—so for me, most of the fun in reading The Bear’s Sea Escape is taking in all the world’s Chaud has created. On each spread, somewhere, you can see, if you look well enough, both Little Bear and his Papa Bear. It is not always easy, nor should it be. But I would much rather hunt for those two adorable, anthropomorphic bears than Waldo any story time. Your child will need patience and focus to spot the two stars. A super sleuth might just find Waldo, wearing his iconic black plastic glasses and striped hat, somewhere on a beginning spread.

Papa Bear continues to chase after Little Bear who is crossing the ocean to a tropical island. Papa Bear hunts high atop the ship and low beneath the sea looking for his cub. Little Bear seems to be enjoying himself and why not? He is on a tropical island! In the middle of winter! What better place for a bear to hibernate than in the cool tropical breezes.

Children who read it The Bear’s Sea Escape will have a feast for their little eyes. The book is taller than most, allowing for large full-spread, mesmerizing illustrations that will look gigantic to some little eyes. Kids will like the funny situations Papa Bear gets into while chasing after Little Bear. He hangs from a crane, dives deep under the sea emerging thin and scraggly (and probably a tad smelly; he is a bear), and he dances in a never-ending Congo line. The ending is sweet and unpredictable.

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I love Papa Bear and Little Bear and will devour every adventure they find themselves forced into by Little Bear’s disappearance. Though I wonder, will Papa Bear ever find himself in need of rescuing? Little Bear would find him, but not before strolling, running, and dancing through twelve luscious spreads of art.

THE BEAR’S SEA ESCAPE. Text and illustrations copyright © 2012 by Benjamin Chaud. English translation copyright © 2014 by Chronicle Books. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

The Bear’s Sea Escape was first published in 2012, entitled Coquillages et petit ours by French publisher helium. BLOG

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Purchase The Bear’s Sea Escape at Amazon B&NBook DepositoryiTunesChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Bear’s Sea Escape HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Benjamin Chaud, at his facebook:   https://fr-fr.facebook.com/benjamin.chaud.1

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

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Also by Benjamin Chaud

Bear’s Song

Bear’s Song

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .

 

Pomelo's Big Adventure (Pomelo the Garden Elephant)

Pomelo’s Big Adventure (Pomelo the Garden Elephant)

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And in 2015:        A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School Hardcover – February 24, 2015

Video with Benjamin Chaud : http://www.wat.tv/video/fee-coquillette-mercredi-janvier-1zzgn_2ey1r_.html

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bears sea escape


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: adventures, Benjamin Chaud, brown bears, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, French publisher helium., intricate illustrations, Papa Bear & Little Bear, picture book, The Bear’s Sea Escape

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19. #595 – Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle & Alix Delinois

cover.

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence

by Gretchen Woelfle & Alix Delinois, illustrator

Carolrhoda Books           2/01/2014

978-0-7613-6589-1

Age 7 to 9            32 pages

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“All men are born free and equal.” Everybody knows about the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. But the founders weren’t the only ones who believed that everyone had a right to freedom. Mumbet, a Massachusetts slave believed it too. She longed o be free, but how? Would anyone help her in her fight for freedom? Could she win against her owner, the richest man in town? Mumbet was determined to try. Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence tells her story for the first time in a picture book biography, and her brave actions set a milestone on the road toward ending slavery in the United States.”

Opening

“Mumbet didn’t have a last name because she was a slave. She didn’t even have an official first name. Folks called her Bett or Betty. Children called her Mom Bett or Mumbet. Others weren’t so kind.”

The Story

The year is 1776 and the United States begins its fight for freedom from the rule of the British by declaring on paper their Declaration of Independence. Mumbet is a slave owned by the richest man in town—the one who is usually the most powerful in town. Colonel John Ashley lived in Massachusetts and owed many businesses. He might have been kind, but his wife was definitely a cruel woman when it came to her husband’s slaves. Mumbet worked for Mrs. Ashley, usually in her kitchen. Mumbet hated that another human owned her, as wouldn’t you or I. She knew servants and hired hands could leave a cruel employer, but Mumbet had no recourse—she’s is property.

As the founding fathers gathered to write the Declaration of Independence, which started the seven-year war against the British, Mumbet served refreshments and tried to listen. The men were against British taxes and feared losing all their rights under British rule. As Mumbet listened, she heard one man say,

“He [the King of England] would make us slaves.”

And,

“Mankind in a state of Nature are equal, free, and independent . . .

God and Nature have made us free.”

After seven years of war against England, and freedom won, the town held a meeting to introduce The Massachusetts Constitution in 1780. It declared,

“All men are born free and equal.”

Mumbet wondered if that meant her. She approached Theodore Sedgwick, a young lawyer who helped draft the Declaration of Independence, and asked him to represent her in a fight for her personal freedom under the new Massachusetts law. He accepted. Mr. Sedgwick reminded the judge and jury that no law existed in Massachusetts making slaves legal and the new constitution now made them illegal. Would the judge and jury agree with Mr. Sedgwick and grant Mumbet her freedom—and the freedom of all slaves in Massachusetts in the process?

Review

Mumbet’s story, a true story, is an unusual biography in that I don’t recall hearing about this woman in any history class, not even American History. Mumbet had strength unseen except on rare occasions. To take your master to court to demand your freedom was a crazy idea. Even white women were still considered their husband’s chattel, why would a slave be above that. How was Mumbet going to convince a jury—not of her peers—and a judge—most likely friends with the richest man in town—that she deserved her freedoms for the same reason as the men deserved theirs from Britain? The new Massachusetts Constitution was not that old and here is this slave trying to gain her freedom, yet she is property. This must have caused some laughter, smirking, and hate. I find this story truly moving. Her new name became Elizabeth Freeman, a most deserved last name.

Mumbet’s clear and succinctly written story tells of an amazing, intelligent, and courageous woman who dared stand up for her rights when no one ever considered her to have rights. She entered a paternal courtroom, a jury not of her peers, and a town overflowing with curious citizens not all of which could have been happy Mumbet wanted freedom. It was probably more hostile, considering ever man probably stood to lose his slaves if Mumbet were successful. That makes Mumbet one of the strongest woman to have ever lived in the United States.

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The illustrations are profoundly beautiful with deep rich colors. Even the end pages have an elegance to them. Alix Delinois represented that time in America accurately, with facial expressions that must have matched the frustration felt by most citizens, as the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence. Mrs. Ashley’s cruelty is shockingly visible, immediately making you feel empathy for Mumbet and her daughter. For people sincerely wanting freedom and respect from the British, some were capable of much harm to others.

Thankfully, someone thought to write down Mumbet’s story giving the author great accounts of Mumbet’s life and challenges before, during, and after that day in court. After the story are two pages of author notes. They tell of the help the author received from Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Theodore Sedgwick’s daughter. Catharine wrote Mumbet’s story as it happened, leaving accurate historical documents from which this story was written. These notes are fascinating.Teachers would do well to keep Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence as an adjunct history lesson. It is a story not told in most history classes. Gretchen Woelfle’s impeccable research and storytelling skills gives us a story of slavery not well known in the very country in which it happened—until now. Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence should fascinate kids and adults alike.

MUMBET’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. Text copyright © 2014 by Gretchen Woelfle. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alix Delinois. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.

Buy a copy of Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence at AmazonB&NiTunesBook DepositoryCarolrhoda Books—at your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence HERE.

Meet the author, Gretchen Woelfle, at her website:  http://www.gretchenwoelfle.com/

Meet the illustrator, Alix Delinois, at his website:   http://alixdelinois.com/home.html

Find more books a the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.     https://www.lernerbooks.com/

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Also by Gretchen Woelfle

Write On, Mercy!: The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren  

Write On, Mercy!: The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren

All the World's a Stage: A Novel in Five Acts

All the World’s a Stage: A Novel in Five Acts

The Wind at Work: An Activity Guide to Windmills

The Wind at Work: An Activity Guide to Windmills

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Alix Delinois

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti

Eight Days: A Story of Haiti

Muhammad Ali: The People's Champion 

Muhammad Ali: The People’s Champion

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mumbet


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: 1776, Alix Delinois, American Revolutionary War, Carolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Declaration of Independence, freedom, Gretchen Woelfle, Lerner Publishing Group, Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, slavery

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20. #602 – Boa’s Bad Birthday by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross

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Boa’s Bad Birthday

by Jeanne Willis & Tony Ross, illustrator

Andersen Press USA         2/6/2014

Age 4 to 8               32 pages

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“It was Boa’s birthday. It was going to be the best one ever. Or so he hoped. He invited his friends round. They would all bring him presents. Or would they?”

Opening

“It was Boa’s birthday.”

Review

Ah, birthdays. That one day of the year, that belongs only to you. Everyone who sees you will say, “Happy Birthday!” Throw a birthday party—the best way to celebrate your day—and everyone invited will bring you a present. Since they are all your friends, each one will know exactly what you like. It will be a grand day, indeed!

Today is Boa’s birthday and his mother is throwing him a birthday party. All of Boa’s friends are invited and each brings a present. Orangutan’s present is so big he lugs it on his back. Boa hopes against odds that the gift is not what he thinks it is. It is. What was Orangutan thinking? Boa’s mother said,

“It’s the thought that counts.”

An excited Monkey told Boa, “You’ll love it!” Boa doesn’t. Mom said,

“Third time lucky.”

Friend after friend forgets to think about Boa when getting him a birthday present. Now, one friend remains and mother and son are certain Dung Beetle brought a pile of, um, of . . . well, it isn’t a pile, but a big ball of . . ., um, must I say it? Dung Beetle? Okay? Good. Boa and his mother are right. Dung Beetle did bring a huge ball of, uh, yeah, that stuff. Poor Boa. I could say the nicely written, fun to read aloud, birthday story is the most fantastic birthday story ever written for a boa . . . if only the author had thought about Boa when she wrote in the presents. Kids will love the terrific illustrations, but the images also could have been fantastic . . . if the artist had remembered to think of Boa.

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From Here on, Some, Not All, of this Review is Written in Jest – No Spoilers

Willis and Ross have collaborated on at least four other books. Those books must be fantastic else the publisher would not offer Boa’s birthday story. What went wrong? Do they not like Boa? Did they have a big fight and take it out on Boa? The awful mood made the writer so testy she had Dung Beetle leave his gift . . . then makes it rain. Dung’s ball stinks up Boa’s world as it slowly washes away until, only a small mound remains. The mound will forever leave reminders of Boa’s Bad Birthday.

Young kids will love Boa’s story. Parents can easily read Boa’s Bad Birthday in such a way as to make their children laugh. So may animal voices to use. A big orangutan, a funky monkey, a sleek jaguar, a happy, athletic sloth, and a, um, a . . . dirty dung beetle all offering an array of voices kids will love. Ah, but there is more. Willis and Ross made Boa’s already bleak world rain. Dung Beetle, being the last animal placed into the story, noticed the foul direction of Boa’s Bad Birthday and took to spying on Willis and Ross. What did Dung find out?

Dung has never liked the way creatives portray him. This time, Dung learns it’s his friend Boa who will be disappointed. Mad, the mischievous Dung decides to stop Willis and Ross’s total destruction of Boa’s birthday. “Let it rain,” said Dung to no one. Inside the ball of . . . that stuff Dung had to bring, he hides something. That something will turn Boa’s Bad Birthday into a fantastic birthday. Dung’s only disappointment is in his the inability to change the title. Still, I imagine—with a big smile—that the writer and artist are not happy Dung hijacked their story. Why? Because they once more captured the last word. The two countered by adding one more spread. I just don’t understand what a child has to do with Boa’s Bad Birthday?!

End of Jest

Boa’s Bad Birthday is cute. I love the alliterated title. Actually, I like the entire story. When Boa tries to use each gift, it will bring belly laughs from young children. I’ll admit Boa made me smile. Readers will understand Boa’s unhappiness and feel bad for him. Kids will also start to learn the importance of thinking before giving someone a gift. Parents should not mind reading Boa’s Bad Birthday multiple times. The story does not waste words. The illustrations add understanding to the text. Willis and Ross made a, dare I say, a “Fantastic” birthday story. Boa’s Bad Birthday contains an opportunity for children to empathize with Boa, laugh, and enjoy a terrific twist—Dung Beetle’s present. By next year, Boa’s friends will have learned the lesson of this story and Boa will have a fantastic birthday. One endnote, Mr. Tony Ross, considered one the world’s best illustrator, has illustrated a mind-boggling “over 800 books for young readers.”

BOA’S BAD BIRTHDAY. Text copyright © 2014 by Jeanne Willis. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Tony Ross. Reproduce by permission of the distributing publisher, Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Minneapolis, MN.

Buy Boa’s Bad Birthday at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Publishingat your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Boa’s Bad Birthday HERE.

Meet the author, Jeanne Willis, at her website:  http://www.jeannewillis.com/

Meet the illustrator, Tony Ross, at his short Lerner bio:  https://www.lernerbooks.com/Pages/Author-Illustrator-Details.aspx?contactid=957

Find more books at the Andersen Press USA website:  http://andersenpressusa.com/

an imprint of Andersen Press, Ltd.:     http://www.andersenpress.co.uk/           

distributed by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.:    https://www.lernerbooks.com/

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ALSO BY JEANNE WILLIS & TONY ROSS

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog 

Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog

Fly, Chick, Fly!

Fly, Chick, Fly!

Hippospotamus

Hippospotamus

The Pet Person

The Pet Person

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CONGRATULATIONS TO

An Andersen Press Children’s author, Berlie Doherty, winner of the Carnegie Medal, is shortlist for The 2014 Stockport Children’s Book Awards, for her middle grade novel, The Company of Ghosts.  If you know Ms. Doherty, please congratulate her.

 

 

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boas bad birthday


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Andersen Press Ltd, Andersen Press USA, birthday party, birthday party story, Boa, Boa’s Bad Birthday, children's book reviews, Jeanne Willis, Lerner Publishing Group Inc., picture book, Tony Ross, wildlife

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21. #604 – Maddy West and the Tongue Taker by Brian Falkner

cover44101-mediumMaddy West and the Tongue Taker

Written by Brian Falkner

Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Capstone Young Readers    9/01/2014

978-1-62370-084-3

Age 9 to 13     256 pages

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“Maddy West is a normal nine-year-old girl, except for one thing:  she can speak every language in the world. In this hilarious and heartwarming tale of fantasy, friendship, and adventure, Maddy is asked to translate some ancient scrolls. But the scrolls hide secrets, and Maddy is sent on a wild journey with a mischievous monkey, a stowaway ninja, a Bulgarian wrestler, and a fiendish witch. Will Maddy’s talent Maddie be enough to keep her safe from the evil magic she encounters?”

The Opening

.“When Maddy started speaking Japanese, her mom took her to the doctor.”

The Story

Maddie can understand and speak every language in the world, but how, she has no answer. She just can. Once she hears a language, she can speak it, fluently. Maddie’s mom thinks there is something wrong with her daughter but when a doctor calls Maddie’s ability, “very valuable,” Maddie’s mom begins searching for ways to capitalize with a capital dollar sign. One thousand-dollar signs leads Maddie to a talk show where language experts test her. Then a professor of the local university arrives wanting Maddie to translate some extremely old scrolls not read for thousands of years. The professor would like to study these scrolls. The catch? The scrolls are located in a monastery in Bulgaria, on an island in the Black Sea and the professor is not who she said she is. Maddie’s friend Kazuki sneaks on the plane to Bulgaria jeopardizing the trip. Two Goth teens kidnapped Maddie at the Bulgarian airport. The Goth teens take Maddie up a steep mountain to the home of their mother, a witch, who also wants to know what is on the scrolls. The scrolls? They contain dangerous dark magic spells.

Review

Maddy West and the Tongue Taker went off in a direction I never expected. I knew mom was trouble. She is as cold as a morgue slab to Maddy, except when there are others around. Maddy’s ability scares mom, and mom, I think, expected the doctor to “cure” Maddy with a magic pill. Ironic, considering where mom eventually sells loans Maddy her linguistic talents.

There must be an underdog and Kazuki, Maddy’s shy Japanese friend fits that bill. He does not learn English easily and often cannot understand others and others do not understand him. This makes him shy and backwards. The opening scenes painfully show this. Kazuki is in the alley throwing his new baseball—a birthday present—against a wall, playing catch with himself. On the other side of the same wall is a group of kids is playing baseball. Playing solo-catch only a few feet from an actual game must be unbearable for a kid who, just a short time ago, was a star pitcher in Japan.

bully brother

Kazuki does not speak English, so no one knows of his talent except Maddie, the one person who understand Japanese. A bully brother makes things worse—until Maddy stands up to the kid. Kazuki thinks he can go invisible when wearing his ninja outfit. Kazuki really cannot go invisible, can he? His most endearing quality is his insistence on keeping Maddy, his only true friend, safe wherever she goes. Kazuki quietly slips onto planes, trains, and cars to keep watch over Maddy.

There also needs to be a superhero and no, it is not Maddy. This superhero is a small monkey named Mr. Chester. Mr. Chester is a capuchin monkey and an adorable, though stinky, hero. When you think he is gone, say, killed off by a larger animal, he’s back! Mr. Chester is definitely a superhero in a short money suit. The most dangerous person in Maddy’s life is her mother, who is willing to let her child traipse across the world with a stranger. Dad agrees without even one, “Is this a good idea? We don’t know this woman.”

capuchin monkeyThere is a definite fantasy element to the story, yet I found it more adventurous than mysterious. I enjoyed the story, reading it in two sittings. The terrific black and white illustrations, though sparse, enhance the story. I was disappointed how early and easy it is to detect the villain, (too many clues too soon), but kids might find it more difficult. Regardless, the story will kept kids riveted in several sections and laughing in several more. The most intriguing characters are Maddy and Mr. Chester. Kids will love these two, especially Mr. Chester and his superhero antics. Adventure or mystery, kids will enjoy every word in the well written Maddy West and the Tongue Taker.

MADDY WEST AND THE TONGUE TAKERS. Text copyright © 2014 by Brian Falkner. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Donovan Bixley. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

Purchase Maddy West and the Tongue Taker at AmazonB&NBook Depository—Capstone—your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Maddy West and the Tongue Taker HERE.

Meet the author, Brian Falkner, at his website:   http://www.brianfalkner.co.nz/

Meet the illustrator, Donovan Bixley, at his website:   http://www.donovanbixley.com/

Find more books at the Capstone Young Readers website:   http://www.capstoneyoungreaders.com/

an imprint of Capstone

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Also releasing in 2014 by Brian Falkner

Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3)

Ice War (Recon Team Angel #3)

Northwood

Northwood

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Also by Donovan Bixley

bears

The Three Bears (Sort Of)

Northwood

Northwood

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maddy west tongue taker


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: ancient scrolls, Brian Falkner, Bulgaria, Capstone Young Readers, capuchin monkeys, children's book reviews, Donovan Bixley, Maddy West and the Tongue Taker, multilingual. black magic

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22. #605 – The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King & Greg Paprocki

coverThe Big Book of Superheroes

written by Bart King

illustrated by Greg Paprocki

Gibbs Smith    4/01/2014

978-1-4236-3397-6

Age 8+      288 pages

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“Supervillains started quaking in their boots when they heard Bart King was creating a foolproof handbook that would teach superheroes how to interview and hire sidekicks, customize secret lairs—oh, and how to perfect hand-to-hand and foot-to-butt combat techniques! So, if you have a burning desire to fight evildoers, and a bit of allowance money to purchase this book, grab your battle costume disguise and join the fight for good!”

Opening

“Welcome to the world of superheroes! I have good news. By reading these words, you just became an honorary superhero. Yay!”

So You Want to be a Superhero (aka About the Book)

It begins at the beginning:  you’ve made your decision to become a superhero, fighter of evil, doer of good. Now you need to learn how to act and look like a superhero, starting with your superpower. What will it be? King gives you the 15 most popular superpowers, though there are many, many more to choose from. Then you must act like a superhero. This section gives you situations and asks you to pick the superhero answer. Many answers are further impressed upon your mind through the use of black and white illustrations.

Ways to become a superhero, short of reading the entire The Big Book of Superheroes, includes becoming an orphan, taking your vitamins, and having a rotten childhood. Those are but a few of the ways to shortcut your way to becoming a superhero. Personally, I like “Be a Handsome, Genius Millionaire,” but being hit by cosmic rays works, too. Once you tell your parents you are a superhero, the real training begins.

crayon melt evil laugh

Know when to fight—and with which weapon—and know when to run, I mean retreat. What does a superhero say? The section called “Zingers and Battle Cries—Speaking Superhero!” will help you find a battle cry, a motto, and how to super trash talk. With super training complete, who will be your toughest foe? Rugrats! That’s right, little kids, some of whom may have their own version of a superpower. You can’t just hold these rugrats at arm’s length and laugh. No, you need to know how to control supertantrums.

You need a supername. One suggestion is to find a cool word and spell it backwards, such as El Carim (miracle) or Repus (super). Repus would be a good name for a feline superhero. Add a “p” and get the name Repups, the perfect name for Repus’s canine sidekick. Yep, animals can be superheroes. Your dog or cat might be on a super mission right now. You also need a costume. Maybe a cape would be good with a utility belt to hold your utilities. The Fantastic 4 have great costumes according to King. The Human Torch had flaming underwear, hopefully not as he wore them.

dog hero

Superheroes need to know the difference between right and wrong. They need ethics. Can you learn this? Check out the quiz to see where you stand. If you have a secret identity, keep it a secret along with any super powers you may have. Secrecy is very important to a superhero. On the wrong side are supervillains and ethically challenged people. It’s best to keep an eye out for some of the worst. Those would be the jokers, mad scientists, and high school students (the most abundant).

Review

If you want to be a superhero, start with The Big Book of Superheroes. This book is more like a handbook for good rather than a literary book anyone can find in a bookstore (but you can). This book is the superhero’s bible. Everything you would ever need to know to become a superhero is in The Big Book of Superheroes. I like The Big Book of Superheroes. I had never thought of becoming a superhero, but after reading this book/handbook, it is hard not to want to join up forces with the likes of Batman, Superman, and Super Tot. There is a lot of common sense within the pages of The Big Book of Superheroes, such as,

“The more you know, the less you don’t.”

Who can argue with that? One of the best sections is the “Superpower Activity.” These boxed areas contain activities kids can immediately do, including a list of everything they will need. Kids can add to their super costume by making super goggles, utility belts, and power bands. There is even a sneaky way for superheroes to calm a rugrat using a balloon and one command. Kids will have loads of fun with these silly activities. The pop quizzes are not as abundant as the activities, but they are just as much fun for the superhero know-it-all . . . or do they? All answers are included.

superhero kid and parent

The black and white cartoonish illustrations show kids acting out some portion of the text. They are just what I would expect to see in a book about superheroes. The illustrations help break up the text, add humor, and sometimes help clarify the text. King writes The Big Book of Superheroes using text, lists, asides, blue boxes of comic facts, activities, pop quizzes, and comic illustrations, which all keep the book hopping and kids interested. King’s lists, found in every chapter, include things such as,

The 10 Most Underrated Superpowers,

The 10 Lamest Superpowers,

The Top 6 Tips for Parents of a Superhero.

 

He adds hunks of factual material, such as Superman’s original slogan, and fun comic book facts to teach kids. With Superman’s slogan, King tries to teach kids to come up with their own slogan, motto, or catch phrase. If kids love comics, superheroes, or villains they will love these easy to find snippets by King. These sections are in blue text, making them stand out from the page.

The Big Book of Superheroes, nicely bound in hardcover with bright white pages, is a substantial book filled with enough superhero information to keep a middle grader’s nose between the pages for quite some time. It is the perfect book for kids who love superheroes. Boys may seem the logical choice for The Big Book of Superheroes but girls will like this too. King includes many tidbits and facts about different comic book heroes that I found fascinating. In regards to becoming a superhero by using this book, King wrote,

“Sure, you could read this entire book. But who has that kind of time?”

The same can be said of the book as a whole. No time to read the entire book, pick out the section you want and return later for the others. Readers will not lose any continuity or meaning by skipping around. If more interested in the supervillain, jump towards the back. Interested in superpowers, head toward the middle. Back and forth can become practical. The one thing that bothered me throughout the book is King’s continued insistence on placing the word “super” before other words, making a new word. Some of King’s new “words” include superbreathe, superspeed, superhealing, superhearing, superintelligence, and supergoggles. These words are not supersmart.

superanimal heroes

Kids and adults who like supervillains, DC comics, and superheroes like Batman, the Fantastic 4, and one of my favorites, Wonder Dog, will enjoy The Big Book of Superheroes. It will keep readers entertained for hours. Reluctant readers will find The Big Book of Superheroes a great choice for summer reading. The Big Book of Superheroes can help readers become the hero they would like to become, while learning new facts about favorite superheroes or previously unknown superheroes. The appendix and bibliography are great places to continue learning about superheroes. The large book is entertaining on every page. Super-Kids will love The Big Book of Superheroes, the newest Big book by Bart King.

THE BIG BOOK OF SUPERHEROES. Text copyright © 2014 by Bart King. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Greg Paprocki. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gibbs Smith, Layton, UT.

Purchase The Big Book of Superheroes at AmazonB&NiTunesBook DepositoryGibbs Smithyour local bookstore.

Read a hilarious review by Erik and Darth Vader, er sorry. An outstanding review by Darth Vader and ThisKid HERE.

Learn more about The Big Book of Superheroes HERE.

Meet the author, Bart King, at his website:   http://www.bartking.net/

Meet the illustrator, Greg Paprocki, at his website:  http://gregpaprocki.com/

Find more books at the Gibbs Smith website:   http://www.gibbs-smith.com/

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**Illustrations by Greg Paprocki, from The Big Book of Superheroes, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith.

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ALSO BY BART KING

Bart's King-Sized Book of Fun

Bart’s King-Sized Book of Fun

 Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

Cute! A Guide to All Things Adorable

The Big Book of Spy Stuff 

The Big Book of Spy Stuff

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ALSO BY GREG PAPROCKI

The Marvelous McCritterson's Road Trip to Grandmas

The Marvelous McCritterson’s Road Trip to Grandmas

JoJo's Big Tale

JoJo’s Big Tale

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

Curious George Animals Puzzle Book

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big book superheroes


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: animal superheroes, Bart King, children's book reviews, gibbs smith, Greg Paprocki, learn how to become a superhero, sidde kicks, super trash talk, superheroes, supervillains, The Big Book of Superheroes

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23. #606 – Brother Hugo and the Bear by Katy Beebe & S. D. Schindler

91NavGFOKgL.

Brother Hugo and the Bear

Written by Katy Beebe

Illustrated by S. D. Schindler

Eerdmans’s Books for Young Readers        4/01/2014

978-0-8028-5407-0

Age 5 to 9     34 pages

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“It befell that on the first day of Lent, Brother Hugo could not return his library book. The Abbot was most displeased. ‘Our house now lacks the comforting letters of St. Augustine, Brother Hugo. How did this happen?’ The precious book, it turns out, has been devoured by a bear, and so Hugo must replace it. Letter by letter and line by line the hapless monk crafts a new book, all the while being trailed by a hungry new friend who thinks that the words of St. Augustine are truly far sweeter than honey. Based loosely on a note found in a twelfth-century manuscript—and largely on the creative imaginings of the author—this humorous tale will surely delight readers who have acquired their own taste for books.”

Opening

“It befell that on the first day of Lent, Brother Hugo could not return his library book. ‘I shall have to inform the Abbot of this, Brother Hugo,’ said the librarian.”

Review

Poor Brother Hugo. A bear has eaten his library book, an important book for the monastery. To replace the book, Brother Hugo must first travel to a neighboring monastery and borrow their copy of St. Augustine. Throughout Lent, Brother Hugo must then copy this book, by hand, for his own monastery. Brother Hugo and the Bear is a beautiful book. The text looks similar to what one would find in an old religious tome, as do the illustrations. Each paragraph begins with a large letter entwined with grape vines and leaves. As for the bear, with those long claws it is no wonder Brother Hugo did nothing when the bear snatched St. Augustine from his hands.

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I like that all the monks help Brother Hugo prepare the things he needs to make the new book. It was not as easy as going to the stationary store, as it would be today.The monks had to make everything by hand. The illustrations show an offended goose walking away from the monks who now have a bird feather from which to fashion a pen. There is so much detail in Brother Hugo and the Bear one must take a second look after reading the story. I love illustrative detail and Brother Hugo and the Bear is loaded with details. I noticed a bear hiding behind the tree as Brother Hugo leaves the other monastery. Even the two dogs look in the direction of the tree and bark. Alas, that bear never follows Brother Hugo. (Maybe he is a scout for the book-eating bear.)

While Brother Hugo toils at his writing task, outside a noise begins to disturb the entire monastery.

“Brother Hugo, Brother Hugo,” the other monks cried, “what can be the meaning of that noise? It is like the rumbling of a great stomach or the whooshing of a fierce wind.”

The monks had the answer. It is the bear, hungry for another masterpiece. Once more, Brother Hugo’s friends help ensure the safe return of the original St. Augustine to the other monastery. On his return trip, Brother Hugo takes along a sack from his friends along with the original book. The contents of that sack should keep the bear at bay while Brother Hugo travels. The author uses the word “snuffling” to describe the noise made by the bear. I looked this up and found that the bear has a cold and is trying to breathe through a blocked nose. Poor Bear. I really like this word and hope kids take the time to look up its meaning.

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I was surprised to learn the story is based on a true event. There was actually a bear who ate a book in the middle ages. How interesting. The backmatter goes into detail as to how the author, first-time children’s author Katy Beebe, came up with the story. The illustrator also has a page of notes in which he compares his process to the process used by the monks. It is all very interesting. The best part of the book is the twist at the end. Almost to the door of the other monastery, the bear has caught up to the monk and waits. Brother Hugo has run out of offerings. What he does next will momentarily shock the bear. And here lies the twist, which is funny on many levels.

Children will enjoy Brother Hugo’s story. I think they will love the watercolor and ink illustrations, which are gorgeous. The friendship and cooperation displayed by the other monks is a wonderful message for children. Curious children will love learning of the work involved in producing a book. While the monks do this all by hand, the ingredients are the same: one author, several pages of paper, lots of ink, a copier to make many books, and the cover and binding. Brother Hugo is the copier of his time. All the monks were copiers. They copied books to keep the words available, you know, in case a bear eats the original book.

BROTHER HUGO AND THE BEAR. Text copyright © 214 by Katy Beebe. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by S. D. Schindler. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Purchase Brother Hugo and the Bear at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryEerdmansyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Brother Hugo and the Bear HERE.

Meet the author, Katy Beebe, at her website:   http://katybeebe.com/

Meet the illustrator, S. D. Schindler, at his website:   http://sdschindlerbooks.com/

Find more books at Eerdmans Books for Young Readers website:   http://www.eerdmans.com/youngreaders/

an Imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company     http://www.eerdmans.com/

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Also NEW in 2014 by S.D. Schindler

Tricking the Tallyman

Tricking the Tallyman

Ben Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention  

Ben Franklin’s Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention

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brother hugo and the bear


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Benedictine monks, children's book reviews, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Katy Beebe, La Grande Chartreuse, Middle Ages, parchment, picture book, S. D. Schindler, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company

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24. #607 – Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo

cover.

Father’s Chinese Opera

Written and illustrated by Rich Lo

Sky Pony Press         6/01/2014

978-1-62873-610-6

Age 4 to 8       36 pages

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“The Chinese opera is anything but boring. Songs, acrobats, acting, and costumes make the opera a truly spectacular show to behold. Spending the summer backstage at his father’s Chinese opera, a young boy yearns to be a part of the show. Rehearsing his acrobatic moves day and night with the show’s famous choreographer, the boy thinks he is soon ready to perform with the others. But the choreographer doesn’t agree. Upset, the boy goes home to sulk. What will he do next? Will he give up on his dream, or will he persevere and work his way up in the show?”

Opening

“Father was the band leader and composer of the Chinese opera in Hong Kong. Sometimes I sat on top of the instrument cases and watched the actors onstage.”

The Story

A young boy admires his father and the Chinese opera. He wants to become a famous acrobat. He asks the best acrobat in the troupe to teach him some acrobatic moves. Gai Chui agrees. The two exercise and practice acrobatic moves, such as the praying mantis and the drunken monkey. The young boy is good and he knows it. At school, he brags that he will soon be an acrobat in the Chinese opera. The boy decides it is time to tell Gai Chui he is ready for a performance assignment. Gai Chui laughs and calls the young boy presumptuous. That evening, the young boy sulked. His father shows his son pictures of himself at the beginning his career. To be a band leader, the father explains, he had to learn every instrument so he could compose songs, which he also needed to learn to write. Does the young boy understand the message his father had imparted? Will he continue to dream of becoming an acrobat in the opera?

color

Review

The first thing I noticed about Father’s Chinese Opera was the beautiful illustrations. The watercolor scenes are bright kaleidoscopes of color. The back and fore grounds are washes of orange, blue, green, and reddish-purple. The Chinese opera comes alive on the pages. The young boy, immersed in the opera through his father’s work, wants to be on stage as an acrobat. The famous, and real, Gai Chui agrees to mentor the boy. The acrobatic moves fly around the pages as student and teacher strike identical poses. Father’s Chinese Opera is simply a gorgeous picture book.

The young boy knows he is good. He brags to school friends, and then tells Gai Chui he is ready for his acrobat assignment. Being told he is disrespectful, unqualified, and overconfident the boy sulks, proving Gai Chui correct. I love how the boy’s father, the leader of the Chinese opera, explains to his son why Gai Chui said what he did. The boy wants to start at the top, or near the top, rather than earning his way as others must do. I had no idea a composer, at least for the Chinese opera, must know how to play every instrument. That feat in itself is amazing (and screams picture book story).

training

The boy’s indomitable spirit brings him back to the stage, this time as a flag carrier. You can see the joy on his face as he weaves towards the edge of the page. Learning to work your way up to where you want to be is a difficult lesson for a young child. Children live in the here and now, wanting what they want now. Delayed gratification is not a message in the story, but it falls in line with waiting your turn, working your way up, persevering, and keeping a colorfully bright spirit as you work toward that dream.

Children will love Father’s Chinese Opera. It will be a treat for their young eyes. At first, many will think of a circus because of all the color and movement. Boys will connect with the acrobatic moves the young boy learns from Gai Chui, looking at it as karate. It will be up to the reader to explain to the children the story is about a Chinese opera. But those problems are not due to story or art, but rather American culture. Father’s Chinese Opera is a wonderful book for school and classroom libraries.Children need to read about other cultures and Father’s Chinese Opera is a good book to start their journey.

father

The author’s note explains more about the Chinese opera, his father’s journey, and their move to the U.S. The note is an interesting read and quite informative. Adults will enjoy the author’s life story, though abbreviated. If the author expounded on this note, he would have a captivating memoir.

FATHER’S CHINESE OPERA. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Rich Lo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sly Pony Press, New York, NY.

Purchase Father’s Chinese Opera at AmazonB&NBook DepositorySky Pony Pressyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Father’s Chinese Opera HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Rich Lo, at his website:  http://greatsketch.com/

Find other multicultural books at the Sky Pony Press website:   http://www.skyponypress.com/

an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing Inc.   http://www.skyhorsepublishing.com/

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fathers chinese opera

copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: acrobats, actors, childrens book review, Chinese Opera, Father's Chinese Opera, flag carriers, picture book, Rich Lo, Sky Pony Press, Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

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25. #608 – The Highest Number in the World by Roy MacGregor & Geneviève Després

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry to have missed not only two days of reviews, but also replying to your wonderful comments. My new–less than a year old–laptop died, or at least it looks that way. While doing a restart, it twirled its little blue circle for close to fifteen minutes (it is solid state and should start and restart faster than you can clap your hands and say, “Abracadabra), and then it went black. It was still on, is still on, but the screen remains black and the machine silent. So off to the manufacturer, or wherever Best Buy sends computers they cannot fix in-house, for a nice one to two month vacation. Hopefully it will return refreshed and ready to get back to work. If not, well, I’ll worry about that if it happens.

So, if you visit Kid Lit Reviews and find the review is the same as the day before, I took a day off. If a review hangs around the Homepage for two or more days, a computer crisis has occurred and I will be back as soon as possible. The laptop I am using now is the one that breaks down more now than then, and the current ill machine was to have replaced. I am beginning to think CPU’s do not like me. Enough of that. Let’s move on to today’s review. The little girl, named Gabe, does not like the number on her jersey. What will the determined nine-year-old do about her situation?

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The Highest Number in the WorldThe Highest Number in the World

written by Roy MacGregor

illustrated by Geneviève Després

Tundra Books of Northern New York      2/11/2014

978-1-77049-575-3

Age 4 to 8           32 pages

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“Nine-year-old Gabe (DON’T call her Gabriella), Murray eats, sleeps and breathes hockey. Her lucky number is 22, the same number as her hero, Hayley Wickenheiser. But when hew new coach hands out the team jerseys, Gabe is stuck with number 9. She’s crushed. How can she play without her lucky number? Gabe’s grandmother, Gabriella (DON’T call her Gabe), soon sets her straight. The number 9 has a long and interesting history and little Gabe has to lots to learn about the players who wore it—including Gabriella herself. Gabe begins to see that the number 9 isn’t so bad after all . . . “

Opening

“Today, Gabe had made The Spirit, the best hockey team in town.”

About

Nine-year-old Gabe is the only nine-year-old on The Spirit team. Some would say this is quite an accomplishment, but not if they knew Gabe. Gabe loves hockey. She even has a tricky puck move called “The Gabe.” Her lucky number, the number she always wears, is number 22, the same number as Hayley Wickenheiser, a Canadian women’s hockey legend and Olympic hero. This is also the source of Gabe’s problem. She is assigned jersey number 9, not 22. She can’t play as number 9. She won’t play as number 9. So Gabe hides the number 9 jersey, never to be seen again. The Spirit’s first game is tomorrow. Gabe announced she is not playing.

use

Review

Gabe knows hockey better than most. She loves hockey and is ecstatic about making The Spirit team. She should be ecstatic. Gabe is nine while everyone else is ten. This is really a big deal. Gabe assumed she would get jersey number 22 because she has always played in jersey number 22. Gabe even has a practice jersey with that number, which she wore during the team try-outs. The other players jokingly call her “Hayley.” So how could the coach not understand that Gabe wanted, no, needed number 22? Getting jersey number 9 is a deal-breaker. Gabe cannot play in “the worst number in the world.”

I understand Gabe. My number was always 14. I do not think I could have played, at least not well, in any other number. Deciding not to play is rather harsh, especially for someone who lives and breathes hockey. I feel for Gabe. What I really like about this story is Grandma’s role. She shows Gabe a picture from her own hockey days. Back then, she said, number 9 was the lucky number. The best player on every team from peewee to the NHL wore number 9, including Grandma Gabriella. Her own story is the best part of The Highest Number in the World.

Kids who love hockey, especially girls, will love The Highest Number in the World. Those that love sports in general, will like this story. I am sure there are many players out there, be it hockey, baseball, basketball, or any other sport, that can relate to Gabe’s dilemma. As a bonus, the jacket flips into a poster of young Gabe in full gear. The illustrations are terrific from vignettes to spreads. I love spread number 3. Gabe is signing her name and the number 22 on the foggy winter window, practicing her autograph. But the final page holds the best illustration. In gouache is Gabriella, young and old, hand-in-hand, in uniform and on skates, each wearing jersey number 9—the lucky jersey. There is nothing else there, yet one can picture a number 9 jersey raising up to the rafters, immortalizing one name for two great players—“Gabriella.”

final use maybe

THE HIGHEST NUMBER IN THE WORLD. Text copyright © 2014 by Roy MacGregor. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Geneviève Després. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tundra Books of Northern New York, Plattsburgh, NY.

Purchase The Highest Number in the World at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryRandom House of CanadaIndigoTundra Booksyour favorite bookstore.

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Learn more about The Highest Number in the World HERE.

Meet the author, Roy MacGregor, at his website:    http://www.roymacgregor.com/

Meet the illustrator, Geneviève Després, at her website:   http://www.genevievedespres.ca/

Find other great books at the Tundra Books website:   http://www.tundrabooks.com/

Distributed by Random House of Canada:   http://www.randomhouse.ca/

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Also by Roy MacGregor

Reality Check in Detroit (Screech Owls) 2/10/2015  

Reality Check in Detroit (Screech Owls) 2/10/2015 

The Boston Breakout (Screech Owls)  10/14/2014  

The Boston Breakout (Screech Owls)  10/14/2014     

The Mystery of the Russian Ransom (Screech Owls)  2/11/2014

The Mystery of the Russian Ransom (Screech Owls)  2/11/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Geneviève Després

Best Friend Trouble  4/01/2014

Best Friend Trouble  4/01/2014

 Pas de bonbons?    1/01/2011

Pas de bonbons?    1/01/2011

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Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Bobby Hull, Canada, children's book reviews, Geneviève Després, Gordie Howe, hockey, picture books, Roy MacGregor, The Highest Number in the World, Tundra Books of Northern New York

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