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Results 1 - 25 of 275
1. #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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howard b wigglebottom
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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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2. #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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3. #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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4. #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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5. #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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6. #609 – The Bear’s Sea Escape by Benjamin Chaud

cover.

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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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7. #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.

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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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8. #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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9. #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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10. #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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11. #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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12. #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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13. #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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14. #594 – Return to Canterbury by Melissa Ann Goodwin

return to canterbury.

Return to Canterbury

by Melissa Ann Goodwin

Melissa Ann Goodwin, publisher     12/20/2013

978-1-49234887-2

Age 8 to 12          270 pages

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“Things have settled down for thirteen-year-old Jamie Reynolds since last Christmas. That’s when he time-traveled to 1932 and wound up in the town of Canterbury, Vermont. There he met Kelly and Christopher Pennysworth, who quickly became his best friends. Back in his own time again, he misses them every day. But as the July 4th, 2008 holiday approaches, the biggest black cloud still hovering over Jamie’s life is the mystery of what happened to his dad, who has been missing or almost a year.

“Little does Jamie know that he will soon reunite with Kelly and Christopher for an adventure even bigger than their last. Together they’ll uncover a secret plot that threatens to destroy Canterbury. But will they be able to stop it before it’s too late? And will Jamie finally solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance? Return to Canterbury with us and find out!”

 Opening

“Dear Jamie, writing you another letter, even though I know you’ll never get to read it. But there’s ever so much going on in Canterbury these days and it seems strange not to be able to tell you about it. I miss you awfully, and writing to you almost makes me feel like we’ve talked. Almost.”

The Story

Jamie returns to Canterbury after seeing a picture of himself at the time capsule during the 4th of July celebrations—in 1935. He is standing with Kelly and Christopher, who he befriended in the first story entitled The Christmas Village. Jamie also sees a photograph that looks just like his dad, also from 1935. He knows he will be time-traveling again, this time to bring back his dad. What he doesn’t know just yet is that he will help foil a plan to put Canterbury underwater to form a hydroelectric power plant. To make that happen, a big shot from New York has to buy up the local farmland from farmers who will not sell. But this new “villain” has a plan that will make that problem go away.  Jamie, Kelly, and Christopher set out to foil all of the plans, safekeeping Canterbury for future generations.

Review

I have not read The Christmas Village, though now I would like to read it. The sequel to that story, Return to Canterbury, can stand on its own. The author does a good job getting the reader up to speed without the reader feeling they are reading old material. It is 2008 and Jamie has meet the 88-year-old Kelly. Just last year, twelve-year-old Jamie meet ten-year-old Kelly.  Now she is 88, which is a strange situation for Jamie. Kelly knows what will happen when Jamie returns to Canterbury but cannot tell him for fear of changing the past, thus changing the present and future. This leads to one of a few holes in the story that did bother me, but did not destroy the great fun I had reading the story. It caused a momentary, “Wait. That can’t be right,” and a halt in reading.

Jamie is now in present-day Canterbury. When he goes back to 1935 Canterbury and the prospect of Mr. Boggs—the guy from New York with plans to flood Canterbury for a hydroelectric power plant—Jamie should realize, from the current Canterbury, that the 1935 plan fails, yet the three kids put themselves in great harm to stop the plan. True, if Jamie had not helped, maybe the future would have changed, but it is odd that he doesn’t at least realize all will turn out okay based on present day Canterbury, where he had just left. I suppose this and the other two holes are the ultimate definition of suspending one’s beliefs.

Since I am on the subject, the one hole involves the first book, The Christmas Village. In that one, it is 2007 and Jamie travels to Canterbury 1932 after staring at his grandmother’s Christmas Village. In the sequel, Return to Canterbury, Jamie tells of his father after the two return from 1935. For one, his dad learned woodworking, making his mother the Christmas Village, the same one Jamie used in 2007 to transport to 1932, but not built until 2010. The Christmas Village could not have existed in 2007. The editor should have picked up on this and request a change.

The other involves Jamie and his dad’s returning from 1935 to the present 2008. They touch something that Jamie writes in 2008 while with Kelly’s granddaughter Kendall. The message could not have been anywhere in 1935, yet there it is. How? Suspending one’s beliefs and ignoring the inconsistencies that occasionally appear was necessary for me, yet the story of Jamie’s Return to Canterbury is very good. The writing is excellent. No typos or misspells to stall one’s reading. Editing is also good, except for the inconsistencies not caught. The story is a fun read. The three kids solving the crime and capturing the bad guys is much fun.

I like the 1930’s Canterbury, where everyone knows everyone and people gather to help each other as much as to celebrate. Jamie learns a few secrets, which turn out to be wonderful gems. I read this in two sittings, anxious to nab the diabolical Mr. Boggs and to find out what Jamie and his dad put in the time capsule—which would be opened a mere two years after they both return home to 2008.

Return to Canterbury felt like a gift. The story is a good old-fashioned tale about a good old-fashioned village of gentle (not genteel) people, loving and helping each other, though not legally or biologically related. Return to Canterbury gives one hope for the future—not about time travel but about the goodness of people.  It is also a story that will have some reminiscing and others longing for days as nice as in Canterbury. Return to Canterbury is an intriguing story solved by three industrious kids who each bring something different to the story.

Kids will enjoy Return to Canterbury. It is perfect middle grade fare. Jamie, Kelly, and Christopher are a solid team. Though each is great on his own, it is not enough without the other two. Teamwork, friendship, family, community, family-by-choice, time-travel, and a simpler life are all important in Return to Canterbury. I highly recommend this story. I bet The Christmas Village,which started the series, is just as worthy of your time

** I apologize. I try each week to shorten these reviews, but some books I have much I want to say, mainly to convince you the book is worth your time to read. Deciding what to leave out is beyond difficult. It has become nearly impossible.

RETURN TO CANTERBURY. Text copyright © 2013 by Melissa Ann Goodwin. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Melissa Ann Goodwin, Andover, MA.

Buy Return to Canterbury at AmazonB&NBook DepositorySmashbooks—author’s website—your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Return to Canterbury HERE.

Meet the author, Melissa Ann Goodwin, at her website:  http://authormelissaanngoodwin.blogspot.com/

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Also by Melissa Ann Goodwin

The Christmas Village

The Christmas Village

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THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE won the 2013 BLOGGER BOOK FAIR READER’S CHOICE AWARD for children’s action/adventure.

 

 

 

return to canterbury


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: 1930's Canterbury Vermont, arson, children's book reviews, family of choice, friendship, hydroelectric power stations, Melissa Ann Goodwin, middle grade novel, time capsules, time travel

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15. #593 – Bark Park by Karen Gray Ruelle – now in paperback

summer

one official day late (but it was made on the 21st!)

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Bark Park  – now in paperback

by Karen Gray Ruelle

Peachtree Publishers      2008/2013

978-1-56145-434-1

Age 2 to 6      32 pages

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“Welcome to Bark Park, where dogs of every shape, size, and personality romp and roam. Energetic rhymes are punctuated with cheerful collage illustrations in this bouncy, fast-paced frolic that is doggone fun!”

Opening

“Hound dog, round dog, on the run. Strolling, rolling, having fun.”

Review

Now in paperback, Bark Park is back for a new round of listening ears. Originally published in 2008, the bouncy text rhymes perfectly, making it a joy to read aloud. The simple text is perfect for younger kids. Bark Park, whether read quickly or slowly has a smooth flow and a singsong happy beat. Older kids, closer to age eight than four, will understand most of the words though some will be new.

“Hot dog, dot dog, in the park.

Fat dog, rat dog. Bark! Bark! Bark!”

The pages of Bark Park contain nearly every conceivable breed of dog, including a mutt. The dogs are spending part or their day at a dog park, chasing, playing, lazing, and just having fun. The illustrations show the dogs coming to the park, having their fun, returning home, and then readying for a night of restful sleep. Some illustrations run edge-to-edge while others are vignettes. All are in soft, hand-painted watercolors with a matte texture, which I love. Don’t get me wrong, the dogs are dogs. Crazy canines catching balls, racing down sticks, lapping up water, and if there is any, rolling in the mud. The art was originally part of an exhibit—The Dog Days of Summer—called a Pack of Dogs, and had 54 different dog cutouts in a small box.That was a high concentration of doggy-breathe!

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Every page is loaded with dogs and, one little surprise at least once on every spread. You won’t find it in the old-fashioned bathtub, where three dogs clean up after playing in the park. You won’t find it while a grey dog makes a surprise pounce on top of a golden brown dog, jumping over a beautiful red tulip to catch his playmate. If you look hard enough, and look for something one does not usually think of when thinking of dogs, you just might find it. Young children and anyone who loves dogs will enjoy Bark Park; even a cat-person like myself enjoys all these dogs. Now, you can enjoy Bark Park in paperback at a new, lower price.

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BARK PARK. Text and illustrations copyright © 2008 by Karen Grey Ruelle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishers, Atlanta, GA.

Buy Bark Park at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtree Onlineor at your local bookstore.

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Learn more about Bark Park HERE.

Meet the author / illustrator, Karen Grey Ruelle, at her website:   http://karenruelle.carbonmade.com/

Find more books at the Peachtree Publishers (blog) website:  http://peachtree-online.com/

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Also by Karen Grey Ruelle

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust  

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust

Mother's Day Mess: A Harry & Emily Adventure

Mother’s Day Mess: A Harry & Emily Adventure

The Tree

The Tree

The Monster in Harry's Backyard: A Harry & Emily Adventure 

The Monster in Harry’s Backyard: A Harry & Emily Adventure

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bark park


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book, Poetry Tagged: children's book reviews, dog parks, dogs, Karen Grey Ruelle, Peachtree Publishers, picture book

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16. #592 – If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems by Brian P. Cleary & Andy Rowland

cover.

If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems

by Brian P. Cleary

illustrated by Andy Rowland

Millbrook Press           1/1/2014

978-1-4677-4412-6

Age 7 to 10           32 page

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“What is a haiku? It sounds like a sneeze. And isn’t a lantern a light source? Actually, they are two types of ancient Japanese poetry. Award-winning author Brian P. Cleary explains how each form works—and shows how these little poems can contain big surprises! If It Rains Pancakes is packed with poems to make you chuckle, puzzle, and ponder. And when you’ve finished reading, you can try your hand at writing your own haiku and lanterns!

“If it rains pancakes,

I’ll need no umbrella, just

syrup, fork, and plate.”

Opening

“Haiku is a short, Japanese form of poetry that has been around for more than four hundred years. That’s much longer than your teacher or your parents have been alive.”

Review

I like books that, even though written for a kid, teaches me something. I know a Haiku has 7 syllables in the first line, then 5 in the next, finishing with 7 in the third and final line. Everyone knows that, right? But, did you know that in Japan syllables are not what matters. Maybe they don’t even have syllables. In Japan, they count sounds and each Haiku has 17 sounds known as on (pronounced a faster than normal “one”). That I did not know, until I read If It Rains Pancakes. Traditionally, haikus are about nature, but Mr. Cleary takes liberties with this and writes Haikus on all sorts of kid-subjects: pets, pizza, and pancakes. I also love something else Mr. Cleary wrote,

“Poetry’s not a spectator sport, so try your hand at this ancient form, and be sure to have fun!”

I love fun as much as I love humor, so here is my haiku.

RAIN

It may rain kittens and pups.

It may rain water.

To be safe, watch where you step.

**I now challenge you to follow Mr. Cleary’s advice and write a haiku or a lantern (see below) in the comment section. I know there are lots of writers, poets, and aspiring writers and poets reading this blog. NOW is the time to show what you have!

Returning to the review: If you don’t like my haiku, Mr. Cleary wrote 20 for you in If It Rains Pancakes. Here are some of the titles, though many will not help you with the subject of the poem. Color Me Confused, City of Brotherly Lunch, The Mind and Yummy. There is one that is helpful to all of us not as poetically inclined as Mr. Cleary is. Kids will want to remember this one for when school resumes—much too soon.

HAIKU

When you’ve written one

without enough syllables,

you add words. Football.

The other half of If It Rains Pancakes is about Lanterns. This is all new to me. A lantern, or lanturne, is also Japanese. This poem has five lines. Line 1 is a 1-syllable noun and the subject of the poem. Line 2 “sheds light” (describes) the subject in two syllables. Line 3 has three syllables, line 4 has four, and line 5 has a 1-syllable word. The poem will look roughly like a lantern, hence the name. Mr. Cleary wrote 15 lanterns, all very cute, most very funny. Since I am a pet person and would have written a lantern about pets, and could not write one better than Mr. Cleary, the example I will share—by Mr. Cleary—is about a pet I know well.

Cat:

“Feed me.”

“Pet me too.”

“Feed me. Pet me.”

“Now.”

The illustrations, which play out the poems, are colorful and as crazy as the poem it represents. If the illustrations do not amuse you, I am lost for words. I love the images that perfectly match each poem. At the end of If It Rains Pancakes is a list of reference books to learn more about haikus and lanterns, and other poems, including one of the author’s, entitled “Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry.”  Finally there is a list of websites with more poetry activities, including one I had not heard of—but love the name—called Giggle Poetry at gigglepoetry.com

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If It Rains Pancakes is a wonderful little book that packs a punch. Teachers would do well to have this on hand when teaching haikus or other Japanese poetry like lanterns. Kids will have fun learning about haikus and lanterns when reading these 35 mostly hilarious poems. Mr. Cleary is a master at teaching kids about writing of every type. If It Rains Pancakes upholds his genius.

IF IT RAINS PANCAKES: HAIKU AND LANTERN POEMS. Text copyright © 2014 by Brian P. Cleary. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Andy Rowland. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, MN.

Buy a copy of If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Books—or your local bookstore.

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Learn more about If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern Poems HERE.

Meet the author, Brian P. Cleary at his website:   http://www.brianpcleary.com/

Meet the illustrator, Andy Rowland, at his website:  http://andrewrowlandillustration.blogspot.com/

Find more books at the Millbrook Press website:

Millbrook Press is a division of Lerner Publishing Group:  https://www.lernerbooks.com/

.bookmarks.

Bookmarks (4) are available free HERE.

 

Also by Brian P. Cleary in 2014

Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What Are Irregular Plurals?

Feet and Puppies, Thieves and Guppies: What Are Irregular Plurals?

 Madam and Nun and 1001: What Is a Palindrome?

Madam and Nun and 1001: What Is a Palindrome?

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

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A Bat Cannot Bat, a Stair Cannot Stare: More About Homonyms and Homophones

A Bat Cannot Bat, a Stair Cannot Stare: More About Homonyms and Homophones

-ful and -less, -er and -ness: What Is a Suffix?

-ful and -less, -er and -ness: What Is a Suffix?

 

 

 

Review HERE

 

 

 

Also by Andy Rowland in 2014

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

Ode to a Commode: Concrete Poems

 

 

The Elves and the Shoemaker (November, 2014)

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if it rains pancakes

 

**PLEASE DON’T FORGET — SHOW YOUR STUFF! WRITE A HAIKU OR A LANTERN OR REALLY BLOSSOM AND WRITE BOTH IN THE COMMENTS! It is as easy as RAIN.


Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Poetry, Top 10 of 2014 Tagged: Andy Rowland, Brian P. Cleary, children's book reviews, haiku, Japanese poetry, lantern, Lerner Publishing Group, Millbrook Press, poetry

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17. #590 – Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death by T. A. Anderson

FrontCoverSizeB.

Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death

by T. A. Anderson

published by T. A. Anderson       2/4/2014

978-1-49229785-7

Age 9 to 13             460 pages

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“When twelve-year-old Colt Humboldt’s dad drags the two of them from perfectly good Dallas to ancient Edinburgh for a “fresh start,” Colt knows e’s in for a long, boring summer. Fat chance. That very first night, the peculiar Alesone and her little brother Peer crawl out of Colt’s closet, begging for his help to save their family from a horrible fate. Unfortunately, the instructions for doing so are contained in a fickle book that lies to make it up as it goes. Worse, those instructions give this ragged trio one week to journey across Scotland in a impossible adventure to capture three treasures—treasures fiercely protected by a hidden, treacherous world determined to see Colt fail . . . preferably by death. But if Colt and his new friends can survive a horror novel come-to-life, a madman and his minions, a disagreeable folklore legend, and the shocking discovery of just why Alesone and Peter are so odd . . . Well, the next wo treasures won’t come so easily.

Opening

“The flight attendant standing along the curb resembled a ripe blueberry volcano about to blow its top, thought 12-year-old Colt Humboldt from the backseat of the taxi. Her head-to-toe blue uniform appeared dangerously close to its design limits, with a blue cap squeezed over short blonde curls and three very prominent chins squeezing out of her collar.”

Review

Not long after Colt’s mother died in a tragic automobile accident—which Colt survived—his dad accepts a position at the Edinburgh Zoo. Colt is not happy about moving from Dallas to Scotland. He chooses The Keepers room for his bedroom, not knowing the room’s history. This begins the history kids will learn about while reading the book. There are many pieces of knowledge inside the story, the biggest being the black plague that wiped out many in Europe.

What Colt thinks are ghosts awakens him the first night. These “ghosts” are actually two kids from the 1645. Alesone and her five-year-old brother Peter are running from the soldiers who want them back into the close in which the government has trapped all the inhabitants, thinking it will stop the black plague. The two kids are after a cure for their parents. To get the cure and passage back to their own time period, they must complete three missions, which get progressively harder and more dangerous. Colt agrees to help them. He is smitten on Alesone and bored without his friends.

Peter, Alesone & Colt

Peter, Alesone & Colt

Throughout the story, Colt must explain items that are commonplace in the twenty-first century but unheard of in the 1600’s. Many appear to be magic to the two kids. Peter has a habit of smashing things he does not understand, like alarm clocks and television sets. Five-year-old Peter experiences his first sugar high after a breakfast of Frosted Flakes™. He loves the cereal so much he sneaks a box home with him. Sugar highs are not common in the 1600’s as they are now. Peter also likes Colt’s Dallas Cowboys helmet, which took an arrow, saving the boy’s life on one journey.

Peter is an interesting character. He never utters a word, is very resilient, and handy in some of the sticky situations the three kids get into. Pretty good for s five-year-old out of his element. Peter also supplies much of the humor. I did think it odd that Alesone, a bright girl, is oblivious to the changes from her world to Colt’s. It takes her quite a while to accept that she is not in her 1645 world, as she continues to search for a pastor from 1645 and runs from/is afraid of the present day police who have no interest in Alesone or Peter.

Kids who like adventures with fantasy and humor mixed in will love Colt Humboldt. I read the 445 pages in two sittings, staying up late at night. If I were a kid, I would have taken a flashlight to bed just to keep reading the book. I love the characters. They are easy to care about and actually fun to root on as they continue searching for the three items needed to send Alesone and Peter back home. Nothing is what it seems on these journeys. Some of the secondary characters suddenly pop up, instantly twisting the story. Colt Humboldt is not difficult to understand or keep track of these twists and turns, but one does need to pay attention.

New Image

Much of the humor comes from Alesone and Peter being out of place in Colt’s world. He has no idea why they are so surprised by much of what they encounter, not knowing for a long time where the two kids have come from. All he knows is their parents will die if they do not collect the three treasures the Brown Man requires. The Brown Man of the Muirs (folklore) is but one of the folklore and creatures of Scotland legends included in the story. The true villain will be quite a surprise. Though the big villain in Alesone’s world, Mr. Vermyne, is rather easy given his name. He is a rat all right. Vermyne is one of those twists that will surprise you, yet make sense.

Mr. Anderson’s writing is excellent. Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death is the first of a series of adventures involving Colt. I am anxious to read the next volume. I love the way Anderson told Colt’s first story, though he could have made this into three books. A nearly 500-page book, with multitudes of folklore creatures, can look rather daunting to some middle graders. The pacing is great and the adventures are believable, though the last mission is a tough fight. Kids are in for a wonderful ride. A publisher would be very smart to get Anderson under contract. Colt Humboldt, with some high-powered marketing, and focused publicity should take flight right onto the bestseller list where it belongs. It is that good. Colt Humboldt is also T. A. Anderson’s debut.

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COLT HUMBOLDT AND THE CLOSE OF DEATH. Text copyright © 2014 by T. A. Anderson. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, T. A. Anderson.

Buy Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death at AmazonB&NBook DepositorySmashwordsKoboAuthor’s websiteyour local bookstore.

.READ THE FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS HERE. (Click on book.)

Learn more about Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death HERE.

Meet the author, T. A. Anderson, at his website:  http://taandersonauthor.wordpress.com/

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If you only read one adventure/fantasy this year, make it Colt Humboldt and the Close of Death. Just my opinion and there are still several months left to find something better. We won’t.

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Filed under: 6 Stars TOP BOOK, Debut Author, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: black plague, children's book reviews, Colt Humboldt, debut work, folklores, Mary King's Close, middle grade novel, Scotland, Scotland legends, T. A. Anderson

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18. #587 – Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Crete and Enjoy! by Jen Besel

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Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy

by Jen Besel

Capstone Young Readers      2014

978-1-62370-136-9

Age 9+     112 pages

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“Bake up surprises in cupcakes and cookies. Create custom desserts with ease. Or decorate all kinds of creative confections like a pro. Forty fun, simple recipes will have kids (and kids at heart) creating delicious desserts to devour! Step-by-step instructions and photos make red velvet cookies, black-and-white angel food cake, cheesecake stuffed strawberries, and more easy to achieve and tasty to eat. Sweetly simple, appetizingly fun!”

Review

Just in time for Father’s Day, Custom Confections gives the artistic baker in you—something every kid has somewhere, and eager to bake—40 recipes of beautiful desserts and snacks. I was without electricity most of the day, unable to bake anything, but if this dessert book is anything like Dessert Designer: Creations You Can Make and Eat, also by Capstone Young Readers, I can guarantee these desserts are as scrumptious as the pictures are delectable. Most are quick fixes, meaning kids still have time to create something special for dad. An easy cupcake recipe, The Sweetheart Cupcake, with a magical surprise, can express your love for dad in one bite.

Kids can find a different fun recipe for every week of summer. Custom Creations contains fun snacks for the entire family. Cake recipes are in the majority. For the bibliophile in your life bake the Pile of Books Cake. Five layers of cake, each made to look like a bestseller, with noticeable pages and luscious covers—Photoshop not needed.  If you like ice cream with your cake, and really, who doesn’t, the Striped Ice Cream Cake will satisfy your sweet tooth. A fun treat for those who enjoy popsicles is the Frosty Frozen Cakesicles individually prepared on a Popsicle sticks.

1a

Every recipe has step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand and written without any extraneous information. To the side of the page is a list of ingredients and supplies needed for that particular recipe. No recipe requires unusual or strange tools kids have never seen. There may be a tool your child does not know how to use, which is where an adult comes in handy. It is also wise, depending on a child’s proficiency, for an adult to help turn ovens on to the correct temperature and help remove hot desserts from the oven. For those in the UK, the author included a conversion chart.

Photographs of each dessert clearly show the finished dessert, which is always helpful. For a delicate dessert, try making the Edible Flower Lollipops. Placed inside the clear homemade lollipops are pesticide-free, edible flowers from a florist. They look too good to eat. Cheesecake lovers will like Blueberry Cheesecake Tarts and the PB&J Cheesecake Brownies. On the last day of school, surprise that favorite teacher with a Mini Apple Cake, seeds included. My favorite, and the recipe I was planning to make, is the Molten Caramel Cake. Nothing is more luscious and creamy, or spruces up a dessert better, than a rich caramel. Mm, yum!

2a

Middle grade and older kids, and adults, who like baking and using their creativity will like Custom Creations. Who can turn away a luscious, interesting dessert? Not me. Custom Creations is a nice addition to any cookbook collection. It also complements Dessert Designer:  Creations You Can Make and Eat also for middle grade kids by Capstone. The only thing missing is a nice index of the recipes. There are several tips and tricks, plus a few icing recipes that are simple to make located after the last recipe: a Hedgehog Cake made with buttercream frosting, rice treats, almonds, and a cake of any flavor. The hedgehog is a cute little creature looking too loveable to eat with his big milk chocolate candy eyes. Kids, lacking such sentimentality, will dig right in. Enjoy!

CUSTOM CONFECTIONS: DELICIOUS DESSERTS YOU CAN CREATE AND ENJOY! Recipes copyright © 2015 by Jen Besel. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone Young Readers, North Mankato, MN.

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Buy Custom Creations at AmazonB&NCapstoneyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Custom Creations HERE

Meet the author, Jen Besel, at LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jennifer-besel/b/943/635

 

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

Capstone Young Readers is an imprint of Capstone

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Coming Soon from Jen Besel & Capstone Young Readers

Baking Bliss!: Baked Desserts to Make and Devour

Sweet Tooth!: No-Bake Desserts to Make and Devour

Sugarcoat It!: Desserts to Design, Decorate, and Devour

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custon confections


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Holiday Book, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Capstone Young Readers, children's book reviews, cookbook for kids, desserts, Jen Besel, recipes

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19. May Favorites

It’s the last day of May, and time for another favorites post! Without further ado:

  1. My friends have new books, just released or about to be! Arree Chung’s book, “Ninja!” , Brian Won’s “Hooray for Hat,” and the new edition of Judy Blume’s classic novels, illustrated by the lovely Debbie Ohi!
  2. The happy realization that I know so many talented people that I can hardly keep track of what they all are doing.
  3. Reading this, which I’m sure you read in high school, but somehow I missed out on a few classics. Also crying at the end of this. (I weep easily.)
  4. This red scooter, and the owner who didn’t move it halfway through the drawing session:
    scooter-sketch
  5. Plein-air painting with my mom!
  6. NationSwell, a source of inspiring news stories.
  7. This umbrella. (It’s been a rainy spring)
    umbrella-colors

The post May Favorites appeared first on .

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20. #570 – When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . in the U. S. Navy!: Noah Tours an Aircraft Carrier by Wigu Publishing

Before we start today’s review, I wanted to let parents and kids know about a summer program they might enjoy and earn some bucks! Wigu Publishing is sponsoring a summer initiative called the WIGU Summer Superstars.

summerstars

Kids can earn money by reading and writing all summer long. Read 20 minutes a day and you could win a $20 Amazon gift certificate or $100 cash. Those who prefer to write can win a $25 or $100 Amazon gift card and their school library can win $1000 donation from wigu Publishing. For more information Go HERE and start your summer off right!

wigu navy.

When I Grow Up I Want To Be…in the U.S. Navy!: Noah Tours an Aircraft Carrier!

Wigu Publishing

Wigu Publishing      2014

978-939973-02-3

Age 7+         58 pages

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“Noah is excited for the chance to tour a real aircraft carrier with his Grandpa Ed, a proud Navy veteran. He is not excited that his little sister, Marina, is tagging alone. Still, Noah tries to be patient. Readers chuckle and follow along as the siblings learn that each deck, each crewmember, and each piece of equipment adds another chapter to the history of the U.S. Navy and its mission to protect our country. Noah and Marina’s curiosity helps introduce readers to the complex and exciting work of an aircraft carrier and how each crewmember plays a vital role in its functioning.”

Opening

“Noah was excited. A U.S. Navy aircraft carrier had come into port. Everyone was invited to visit. Noah’s Grandpa Ed promised to take him!”

Review

WIGO_USNAVY_page32_image7Noah and his Grandpa Ed—plus a tag-a-long younger sister, Marina—visit a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier while it is in port. Quickly into the story are pictures of the Navy Seals, helicopters landing, and planes taking WIGO_USNAVY_page32_image71off from a carrier, and a huge gold anchor. The diagramed USS Gerald Ford should interest model ship-builders. Throughout . . . in the Navy, various photographs visualize life on an aircraft carrier; what it is, who is on one, and why it exists. The general theme is protection of the U.S.

If you talk about ships, kids often think about pirates. Noah is no different. He learns pirates do still roam the oceans, marauding ships for their WIGO_USNAVY_page32_image62goods. Marina is pleased to learn there were girl pirates then and possibly now.

The three tour most of the important decks, including the bridge, flight deck, bunks, and the cafeteria where it smelled of French fries and, yes Marina, ketchup was available. Marina deliversWIGO_USNAVY_page32_image84 the majority of humor, though Grandpa Ed has a few good lines, most of which adults will catch faster than kids will. By the end of the book, both kids have decided the U.S. Navy is for them. Noah plans to be a pilot, while Marina decides to be a captain, taking the title right then. Both Noah and Captain Marina have a great time visiting the aircraft carrier. There is a thread left hanging:  was Grandpa Ed ever in the brig?

WIGO_USNAVY_page32_image85Boys will especially enjoy . . . in the Navy, though girls should check it out as well. . . . in the Navy includes illustrations of every current type of aircraft carrier used by the U.S. Navy. This Wigu edition makes a nice adjunct text for teachers planning lessons about the military.

As with the other When I Grow Up editions, in the Navy is loaded with useful information kids will enjoy. Whether as a reference or looking for a career, kids will find in the Navy useful. It is one more edition in the ever-growing series of When I Grow Up series that can help kids think about their future . . . until they change their mind. But that’s okay. Wigu publishing is planning tons more books for this series, so kids can keep changing their minds until they can say, “This is what I what to be when I grow up!”

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WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE . . . IN THE NAVY!:  NOAH TOURS AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Wigu Publishing. Reproduced by permission of Wigu Publishing, Laguna Beach, CA.

Buy . . . in the Navy and other editions at Amazon—B&N—Wigu Publishingyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about the When I Grow Up series HERE.

Find other When I Grow Up editions at the Wigu Publisher’s website:  http://whenigrowupbooks.com/

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Current WIGU Editions

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . in the U.S. Army

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . in the U.S. Armyreviewed HERE

 

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Teacher!

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Teacher!

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Firefighter!

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Firefighter!

Reviews:

US Army

Teacher

Firefighter

 

 

Upcoming Editions

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Good Person!

When I Grow Up, I Want to be . . . a Good Person!

 

 

 

 

 

. . . be a Rock Star!

. . . be  Veterinarian

. . . to be Green!

. . . be a World Travel!

. . . be a Race Car Driver!

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wigu in the us navy

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Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Historical Fiction, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction, Picture Book, Series Tagged: aircraft carriers, carrier ideas for kids, Old Ironsides, US Navy, USS Constitution, voations, Wigu Publishing

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21. #571 – House of Secrets, Book 2: Battle of the Beasts by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

House-of-Secrets-Banner
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cover hs2House of Secrets, #2: Battle of the Beasts

by Chris Columbus & Ned Vizzini

Greg Call, illustrator

Balzer + Bray       3/25/2014

978-0-06-219249-3

Age 8 to 12    480 pages

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“Since the siblings’ last adventure, life in the Walker household is much improved—the family is rich and the Wind Witch is banished! But no Walker will be safe until she is found, and summoning her to San Francisco brings all the danger that comes with her and puts the Walkers in the crosshairs of a mysterious journey through Denver Kristoff’s books. As the Walkers travel from ancient Rome to World War II to Tibet, they’ll be tested in ways that cut deeper than before, by Denver Kristoff, the Wind Witch, and each other.”

Opening

“Brendan Walker knew the package would be there by eight a. m. It had to be.”

The Story

Eleanor, Brenda, and Cordelia Walker return, but not ready to take on more novel-dictated adventures. Dr. Walker (dad) is secretly—and quickly—tossing away all the fortune Eleanor arranged for the family at the end of book 1. Despite defeating the Wind Witch and safely returning home to finding mom and dad alive, none of the kids is faring well. Then Denver Kristoff appears as Dr. Walker and kidnaps Eleanor, taking her to the Bohemian Club in downtown San Francisco. He really wants Cordelia, but she ran off. Soon Brendan and Will arrive and finally Cordelia. Thus hs2 a4begins their adventures with the Wind Witch.

The kids land, house and all, outside the Roman Coliseum, once again in the middle of a Denver Kristoff novel. Brendan envies Emperor Occipus, ruler of Rome, and stays to live—and die—as a powerful, greedy Roman Emperor-in-training. Cordelia, Eleanor, and World War I pilot Will leave without Brendan. The trio deal with three Denver Kristoff novel changes. They face robotic World War II Nazis, odd Himalayan mountain top monastery monks with a wild frozen beast to defeat, the Romans once again, and then the Wind Witch once more.

Off all the battles, that with the Wind Witch proves to be the most difficult. She may lead the kids home, but what she says in the process will shock them, mostly Cordelia, as they try to understand and accept their fates. Book 3 is the final installment of House of Secrets.

Review

House_in_the_Sea1-550x511I looked forward to Battle of the Beasts and torn into once it arrived. I was immediately put-off by Brendan’s attitude and that carried into the Rome story. He behaves like a spoiled, whiny, rich kid. Leaving him in Rome suited me fine. After that, the story picked up and began to zoom just as book 1 had from almost the beginning.

 

Not as many of the secondary characters stood out as they had in the first book. World War I pilot Will returned to San Francisco with the kids but then became homeless and lost. I do not understand the reasoning behind this and find this storyline unnecessary, especially considering how quickly Cordelia found Will (though the kids had looked for a year prior to the start of book 2). hs2 a8 freeWill easily returned to his old self.

I enjoyed the gladiator Felix. Bravely he leaves Rome with the kids. This new strapping man is not the most educated and misunderstands much of the new worlds he encounters with the Walkers and Will. I wish Felix would have stayed, as Will did, ready to begin the final installment. There are many humorous moments and statements, and twists and turns to enjoy.   and loads of miscalculations by the Wind Witch, who can’t decide if she will kill the kids or if a relational endearment she feels, sI enjoyed them all.

spoiler

The strangest occurrence is not Emperor Occipus, robotic Nazis, frost beasts, odd monks, or anything else that occurs, except for one. The Wind Witch’s declaration to Cordelia that they are 1closely related—won’t say in what way—is the strangest, yet most logical twist. Cordelia found an old diary belonging to the Wind Witch’s mother. In it, she read more than she told the others I think she already knew but hearing it, straight from your . . . witch’s mouth, made this final and real.

That one statement explains the Walkers and their canny abilities to survive. The Wind Witch suffers many miscalculations and fights her own emotions. She wants the Walker kids dead, but her aims fail. Is it possible the relationship that exists causes an endearment toward the kids, which does not allow her to follow through? How this will play out in the final book I cannot imagine, but it should be one of the biggest sensations in middle grade novels when it does. Time will tell.

end of spoiler

The writing is great as it is in book one. I did notice a slight change, imperceptible but there, after the first half of the story. This made me wonder how much of Battle of the Beasts Ned Vizzini completed before his premature death. Something felt off, yet examples or proof elude me. I had to put the book down for a while and read something else. I enjoyed Battle of the Beasts, though not as much as the first book.

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Kids who enjoyed House of Secrets, book 1 will enjoy Battle of the Beasts. The action is constant, once it begins, and the adventures unusual and varied, yet play on what seem to be the same field. None of the novels is located far from the others, or so it felt. There is nothing that will give kids nightmares, but the action is imaginative and often intense. Boys will probably like the robotic Nazis best. This group reminded me of the white soldiers in Star Wars. At 480 pages, Battle of the Beasts is a long read, making this a great book for advanced readers and those with long attention spans. Reluctant readers should stay away.

HOUSE OF SECRETS #2: BATTLE OF THE BEASTS. Text copyright © 2014 by
Ned Vizzini and Chris Columbus dba Novel Approach, LLC. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Greg Call. Published 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY.

Buy House of Secrets #2: Battle of the Beasts at AmazonB&NiTunesAudible—HarperCollins—your local bookstore.

EXCERPT BOOK 2 BATTLE OF THE BEASTS

video is for House of Secrets, #1

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Filed under: 5stars, Books for Boys, Favorites, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Balzer + Bray, Chris Columbus, Denver Kristoff, dystopian novel, Greg Call, HarperCollins Publishers, Himalayan monks, House of Secrets #2, Ned Vizzini, Rome, Wind Witch

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22. #572 – Maggie Quick by Robert T. Rhode & Eleanor Y. Stewart

maggie quick edited.

Maggie Quick

by Robert T. Rhode & Eleanor Y. Stewart

Book Factory        2011

978-1-59672-107-4

Age 8 to 12        360 pages

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“Maggie Quick is a nine-year-old in a small Irish-American town in the Midwestern United States. Irish immigrants to the U.S.A. brought forms of witchcraft with them. Maggie discovers that she has special powers and that she alone must try to save her village from destruction by evil forces. By embracing nature and by trusting her instincts, she begins to transcend the restrictive society surrounding her. She pours out her hopes, her questions, and her fears to three wise women, who guide her toward understanding—in the nick of time!”

Opening

“Maggie wafted down the walk. She hadn’t meant to. She knew that such things were possible in fairy tales, but not in real life—especially hers. Here’s how it happened”

The Story

Maggie Quick learns she has special powers, handed down from generations of witches. Her grandmother, her great aunt, and Winnie, an ostracized woman and ex-best friend of the latter 2 woman. All have special powers that most people would call witchery. These three woman secretly guide Maggie in learning about her past and her newfound abilities. Maggie can understand and talk to animals, especially squirrels, and sees the little people living in her vegetation. An evil power is brewing, a force that will destroy not only Maggie’s village but also her entire family. The ruler of the good witches, a rarely seen protective goddess named Brigid, sends word by way of a banshee that Maggie is to lead the forces of good against evil. This unseen evil has been using fire to destroy barns around the village. It plans to destroy the entire village, if not stopped. On that fateful night, Maggie will learn more than the powers of good over evil. She will learn a larger family secret.

Review

First, let me say that Maggie Quick physically rivals any traditionally published book in workmanship. It is a well-constructed, beautifully bound, and jacketed book. The subject matter, though it could be dark and eerie, will not cause any nightmares for the middle grade kids for which it was written. The paranormal story begins with three thugs many believe are burning down barns, yet no one has ever seen them and others swear they were somewhere else at the time. Then Maggie’s father’s barn burns, and while neighbors look on, Maggie is caught with matches in her hand, but is she guilty? Not even her parents can fully let the possibility go until late in the story.

Maggie is a young girl who secretly has been wafting—gliding along rather than walking, often at breakneck speeds. Her conversations with the squirrels and especially the little people are some of the most humorous lines in the story. When Maggie first meets Michael Millikin, one of the little people—Michael vehemently states the proper term is good people—Maggie  tells Michael that Millikin is Winnie’s last name. Michael replies,

“Yes, yes! I’m from a smaller branch of the family!”

Michael’s sense of humor is odd to Maggie but I loved it. He tells Maggie he is a cobbler and when she asks what a cobbler is, Michael says,

“I make eyes, tongues, heels, and toes. I’m a shoemaker! Get it? If you were an elf, I’d make you a shoe, but I’d only make you the right one. [Maggie asks why] Because I refuse to make the wrong one! Besides, why would I waste my time making the shoe that’s left when the other one’s gone?”

The story moves at a steady pace, letting you soak in the information that is new and enjoy the story. Maggie initially sneaks over to Winnie’s house for witch lessons. Not until Grandma Quick makes a confession can Maggie openly visit Winnie. Soon, Maggie’s brother, William, learns to waft and also begins lessons with Winnie. Mom, concerned her children are spending so much time with a woman not days earlier the family strictly avoided, decides to watch these lessons and is soon learning to waft. She turns out to be an interesting student. Winnie’s lesson will not show kids anything they could replicate, nor anything stronger than what they would have read in Harry Potter.

Maggie Quick surprised me. First, I am not a big fan of paranormal stories, but this one I love. Also, the overall quality of the actual book, and then the quality of the story—both excellent. Normally, I refuse to review anything older than one year, as I try to keep the reviews current, yet once in a while a story grabs me and I cannot wait to let everyone know about a secret gem. Secret in that the story is not on a best-seller list—though it should be—nor heavily marketed by traditional economics. The only disappointment is the book trailer. Watching, one has no idea what this story is about and it fails miserably in its goal of peaking interest in reading Maggie Quick. Wafting is but a starting point—one which the trailer should have gotten to faster and then moved on.

Girls will love Maggie Quick, as all the major roles and the hero are all female. That is not to say boys will not enjoy the story, as I know they will. The secondary characters are wonderful creatures be they the good people, squirrels, Brigid’s brigade, or the assortment of family members and friends. A remarkably well-written story is really enjoyable to anyone with an interest. Adults will find Maggie Quick a wonderful story as well and should not skip this merely because it is a “children’s book.”

MAGGIE QUICK. Text copyright © 2011 by Dr. Robert T. Rhode and Eleanor Y. Stewart. Publisher copyright © 2011 by the Book Factory, Dayton, OH.

Buy Maggie Quick at Amazon—B&N—Book Factoryyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about Maggie Quick  HERE.
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Meet the co-author, Robert T. Rhode, at his website:  http://roberttrhode.org/

Meet the co-author, Eleanor Y. Stewart, at her facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.y.stewart

Find more books at the Book Factory’s website: http://www.bookfactory.com/

Also by Dr. Robert T. Rhode

Desktop Grammarian for Editors

Desktop Grammarian for Editors 

The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia: Glory Days of the Invention that Changed Farming Forever 

The Steam Tractor Encyclopedia: Glory Days of the Invention that Changed Farming Forever 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Eleanor Y Stewart

Desktop Grammarian for Editors

Desktop Grammarian for Editors

An American in Oz: Discovering the Island Continent of Australia

An American in Oz: Discovering the Island Continent of Australia

 

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maggie quick


Filed under: 5stars, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Anthropomorphism, Book Factory, Brigid's Brigade, Eleanor Y. Stewart, good vs.evil, little people, Maggie Quick, Robert T. Rhode, squirrels, witches

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23. #581 – The Race by Édouard Manceau

coverThe Race

by Édouard Manceau

translated by Sarah Quinn

Owlkids Books, Inc.     4/15/2014

978-1-77147-055-1

Age 3 to 7     64 pages

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“A group of caribou gather to run a race that begins at one line and ends at another. But what happens in between? The caribou engage in some rather outlandish tricks in order to be the first to cross the finish line. But in the midst of this titanic struggle for victory, some of the caribou stop to question the merits of their single-minded pursuit of winning at all costs. Follow this hapless herd of caribou in a race to the finish. Who wins? You decide.”

Opening

“It begins with a guy, a can of paint, and a paintbrush.”

Review/The Race

One inventive caribou lays down two lines:  one at the beginning and one at the end. He picks up a megaphone and shouts to the racers, who are limbering behind the start line. Six caribou—male, in case you were wondering—warm-up for the race. The starter’s gun gets the racers ready, and set, and number 4 takes off! Unbelievable. Unheard of. Under the starter’s gun, number 4 is marched back, front legs in the air.

The idea of six caribou racing from one line to another line is silly. They have a number stuck to their belly and wear running shoes of assorted colors. The hard-working caribou that painted the lines, and holds the starter’s gun, looks angry. Maybe because he’d rather race than officiate, but he cannot. It would be improper. A conflict of interest. A sure —“BANG!”

Number 5 jumps into the lead, the others not far behind. Wait, what is that in number 5’s hand? Why it’s a . . . Oh, no! The back five tumble into each other. A caribou-clog stops all traffic on the track; they are the traffic on the track. Now number 5 has an insurmountable lead. Even quick caribou couldn’t overtake him now. Wait, what is that? It’s a motto.

“Quitting is not an option!”

I love the scene where the five clumsy caribou sit on the sideline, tended to by caribou doctors. I mean, doctors who are caribou. One listens to a heart, another glues—gorilla glues—an antler that snapped in two, while the third sports scissors and orange gauze, wrapping up bruises, and gashes, and sprains, and anything else you can imagine are under those bandages.  Amid all the broken caribou and the medical supplies is the cause of the caribou clog-up; the thing number 5—and they are off!

Number 6 takes a fast second place. Wait, now what is on the course? A green truck!? Great, the caribou will be hit, clog up the racecourse, and need more medical attention. Where is the lead caribou? Oh my, the injured racers are all kiting toward him. Flying closer and closer, the five straggling racers have surpassed number 5! WAIT! Why are they stopping for water . . . fish . . . electrolytes? Number 5 is sure to retake the lead. Where is number 5? He’s where . . . up there!? Looks like number 5 is out of the race, folks.

One of the funniest things about The Race is the twists and turns that pop out of nowhere. The caribou all want to win, no matter the cost. They are making bold moves, possibly illegal-to-caribou-racing moves. Young children will love The Race. Zany and fast paced, the illustrations tell the majority of the story. Each spread has only one or two sentences. For example, here is the start of the race:

“That brings a bunch of other guys who start bending and twisting.” [spread 3]

“Then the first guy comes back with a pistol, and everyone freezes.” [spread 4]

“Sometimes, one of them tries to get away.” [spread 5]

“It doesn’t usually take long to catch him. That’s called a false start.” [spread 6]

The words don’t always seem related to the action. The above example could have been a criminal line-up as easily as the start of a race. I like how that possible confusion emphasizes the role and importance of illustrations in picture books. The two parts — Look, someone took off, leaving the refueling station and the rest of the racers behind! He is quickly moving away. Look at that lead! Wait, here come the rest, led by number 3 holding an empty bottle in his hoof. With one eye patched—after the caribou clog up—it is quite possible he will miss number 4. Oh, but look! Right behind 3 is number 1 carrying a fish, and he is not eating it.

Number 6 finishes his drink on the run, then he and number 3 shove those bottles onto number 4’s antlers. Number 3 takes the lead with 6 on his hoof “heels.” What a caribou. Numbers 1 and 2 pull up the rear. Number 2 has avoided last place all race. Wait! Number 1 surpassed number 2! Poor number 2, he looks so pooped. Look! He tore off his number. The caribou is hoofing it home. He quit.

If they are extremely competitive, from sports or video games, kids might call that caribou a quitter. I don’t think he is a quitter. Did he really quit or decide racing is not for him? He went home, spruced the place up, and now enjoys himself and his home. He did take number 2 home for a souvenir. It lays on his —Number 4 is in a hole! Number 6 looks on viciously at the top-heavy caribou. That caribou is as mean as he looks. What is he doing to . . .

Phew! A review amidst a race makes for a long post. I think I will stop now. You’re welcome.

Messages. The Race’s messages include whether winning at all costs is worth the win. Is hampering the other players with tricks so you can win fair play? Who really won this race? The first banged up racer to cross the finish line or the racer who realized it was not worth the cost and quit? I coached kids for seven years and know the players’—and parents’—win-at-all-cost attitudes often harms the child. Kids are better off learning to enjoying the journey—while playing hard, trying to win—win or lose. Not everyone can win all the time and not everyone deserves a trophy. That’s life. Games are a way to prepare kids for adult life. Many of those caribou will end up in caribou jail if they live as they played.

When The Race arrived, I quickly read it, as I do all picture books. Then I read it again. Then I shared it. I think The Race is a hoot. Messages aside, The Race has multi-level humor that “cracked me up.” Kids and parents will adore this book. Not only will parents not mind repeat readings, kids will read it on their own, using their imagination to “write” the text as they read. Those stories might be the best as the child makes The Race their own.

THE RACE. Text and illustration copyright © 2012 by Édouard Manceau. Translation copyright © 2014 by Sarah Quinn. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Inc., Berkeley, CA.                               **Originally published in France under the title La course in 2012 by Éditions Milan.

original cover

original cover

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Buy your copy of The Race at AmazonB&NOwlkids Booksyour local bookstore.

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Learn more about The Race HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Édouard Manceau, at his website:   http://edouardmanceau.blogspot.com/

Meet the translator, Sarah Quinn, at her website:

Find top-notch books at Owlkids Books, Inc. website:   http://www.owlkidsbooks.com/

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Also by Édouard Manceau

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

Hatch, Little Egg

Hatch, Little Egg

Windblown

Windblown

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Édouard Manceau, author/illustrator

Édouard Manceau, author/illustrator

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Since 1999, Édouard Manceau has been an author and illustrator.
He draws for the press, publishes games, and books for children from two years.
Édouard has published over a hundred children’s books so far, translated into many countries.

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.the race

*The jump in review number is due to reviews never numbered from last year. Everything is correct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you noticed that the review number jumped up a few, you are very astute. I am not. I missed several reviews that had a title other than a book title. Noticed one, so I checked them all. Now I am on review 581. Not fudging the numbers, but rather fudging up in my counting. So sorry if this caused you any mathematical harm, as none is intended.


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Édouard Manceau, caribou, cheating, children's book reviews, foot race, good versus bad sportsmanship, Inc., Owlkids Books, quiting a game or sport, Sarah Quinn, The Race, who is the real winner?

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24. #582 – The Berenson Schemes #1: Jack the Castaway by Lisa Doan

cover_Castaway_JPG-330-exp The Berenson Schemes #1: Jack the Castaway

by Lisa Doan

illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic

Darby Creek          1/01/2014

978-1-4677-1076-3

Age  7 to 12           152 pages

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“Jack’s parents have been chased out of Tokyo, gone broke in Greece, and hosted Nairobi’s least successful safari. Next they’re taking Jack on a Caribbean vacation—whether Jack wants to go or not. The Berensons are about to start a snorkeling business. It’s their latest get-rich-quick scheme. With these experienced world travelers at the helm, what could go wrong?

Jack’s used to staying indoors and not taking chances. When his parents take him out on the water, he ends up shipwrecked. Now Jack has to survive on a tropical island . . . and avoid a whale shark that’s swimming near the beach.”

Opening

“Jack’s parents had finally returned from the heart of the Amazon. They stood at the front door, browned and emaciated.”

Review

Eleven-year-old Jack Berenson has lived most of his life indoors with his Aunt Julia, reading or playing video games . . . until a bus runs over Aunt Julia. With no other relatives, Jack must go with his parents. Richard and Claire Berenson have spent their lives traveling around the world chasing one get-rich-quick scheme to another. They are not rich. School starts soon and Jack wants to be there. Instead, his parents take him to an “undiscovered” Caribbean Island with plans to start a “lucrative” snorkeling business. They have a “master plan” which they follow, even after a failure. The Berensons decided a long time ago that nothing could go wrong if you have a master plan. Each time I say “Berenson” I can’t help but think of the bears and for some reason, it makes me laugh.

Jack’s parents are unreliable and self-interested to the point they often forget about Jack. They also have no idea how to be a parent or care for a child. The two act as if Jack is an adult as capable as they . . . well, as capable as most any adult. During the first trip out in the “new boat” Jack is expected to keep the skiff following his snorkeling parents, but instead the skiff runs out of gas, stranding Jack and a bird named Loco on an uninhibited island. His parents search for him—a couple of days later, but get distracted by some shiny thing or another and forget why they went out in the boat.

Jack the Castaway will entertain kids with laughs and twists. Most of the laughs come from dad, who makes daffy comments. Like when Jack tells his parents to enroll him in school.

         “ . . . We’ll figure out this homeschooling thingy as soon as we get the business sorted out.” (said Mom)

        “This is more than a thingy,” Jack said. “ . . . You would both be horrible at homeschooling. I doubt you’d even check my homework.”

        His dad laughed. “We’d never give you homework.”

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The illustrations pop up every so often and I wish there were more. The black and whites illustrations capture the action of the moment perfectly. Stevenovic creates two parents who never had many worries and see the sky with a permanent rainbow. Jack is more realistic and his face easily transmits his current worries. Jack the Castaway flows well from one situation to another in realistic fashion. I think reluctant readers would like the story. The chapters are short and there are only a total of 143 story pages. I wish the author had included a short glimpse into book #2:  Jack and the Wild Life.

Jack’s situation is just what many kids think they want. Living in one of the best places in the world, swimming every day, doing what you want, when you want, without restrictions, and no homework. Heck, no school. To kids, Jack is the nerd that wants school and homework. But, by stories end, Jack won’t be thought of as that nerd. He survives being stranded on an island for several days—without eating the bird—and finds a way to get his parents to agree to a permanent home and some “family rules.” As the story ends, all is hopeful for the survival of the Berenson clan . . . until the next get-rich-quick scheme. Hold on, Jack!

THE BERENSON SCHEMES #1:  JACK THE CASTAWAY. Text copyright (2014 by Lisa Doan. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Lerner Publishing Group, Inc. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Darby Creek, Minnesota, MN.

Buy Jack the Castaway at AmazonB&NDarby Creekyour local bookstore.

Learn more about The Berenson Schemes series HERE.

Meet the author, Lisa Doan, at her website:   http://www.lisadoan.org/

Meet the illustrator, Ivica Stevanovic, at his website:   http://ivicastevanovicart.blogspot.com/

Check out more books at the Darby Creek an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.website: https://www.lernerbooks.com/ 

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Also by Lisa Doan

The Berenson Schemes #2:  Jack and the Wild Life

The Berenson Schemes #2:  Jack and the Wild Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Ivica Stevanovic

Monsters Can Mosey: Understanding Shades of Meaning

Monsters Can Mosey: Understanding Shades of Meaning

The Royal Treasure Measure

The Royal Treasure Measure

Where's My Tushy?

Where’s My Tushy?

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Review HERE.

 

 

berenson schemes 1 jack the castawy

 

 

 

 

 

 


Filed under: 5stars, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: Berenson Schemes series, Caribbean Islands, Darby Creek, get-rich-quick schemes, Ivica Stevanovic, Jack Castaway, Lerner Publishing Group, Lisa Doan, middle grade books, reluctant readers, whale shark

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25. #584 – Jumping Jack by Germano Zullo & Albertine

cover.

Jumping Jack

by Germano Zullo & Albertine, illustrator

Chronicle Books         5/13/2014

978-1-4521-3152-8

Age 4 to 8              32 pages

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“Jumping Jack is a winner! At least, he used to be. Now this superstar show-jumping champion is stumbling and tumbling all over the course like a colt just learning how his legs work. How could this happen? What could possibly be wrong? Jumping Jack’s best friend and rider, Roger Trotter, is determined to find out. This dynamic duo is about to uncover an eye-opening new way of seeing success.”

Opening

“Jumping Jack and Roger Trotter were show-jumping champions. They were a perfect pair, practically invincible.”

Review

Sometimes the solution is right in front of your face. Really. It is right there on the tip of your nose. Ask Jumping Jack and his best friend and rider Roger Trotter. They were at The International Tournament of Primrose, favored to win. The champions to beat. The crowd was electric, literally shocked. Here was star-studded team Jumping Jack falling over rails, landing in water, tripping, and tangling on every jump. What has happened to this excellent pair?

Do you like horses? If so, you will like Jumping Jack. The large sized book gives Jack the room he needs, which is more than can be said for those hired to treat him. The vet’s waiting room chairs, all filled with relatively smaller animals, leaves Jack to a stool, his knees up to his chest. The psychologist, obviously Jungian, wants Jack to lay down. To get his hoofs off the floor, poor Jack once again gets his knees bashed against his chest. Only on his vacation can Jack stretch out correctly.

tripping

No longer jumping, Jack consulted a veterinarian. Diagnosis: tendinitis, contractions, neuralgia, bruising, flatulence, and cat allergies. The vet said, “Mere boo-boos.” Can’t jump Jack tried therapy. Diagnosis: a teeny-tiny bit nervous, anxious, cranky, and tired. Roger said, “Nothing unusual,” and took Jack on vacation so he could rest. Two weeks of sunshine.

 

I love the illustrations. As Jumping Jack flops over the rails, hangs upon another, and lands rear first into a water trap, he and Roger’s eyes look similar. When one looks anxious, so does the other, as if Jack and Roger are inseparable, identical in spirit. What happened to these champions? The illustrations are really good. Poor Jack. I feel so bad for him.

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Kids will love these tests and treatments. Jack looks silly going through a psychological appointment, laying down in a classical position. Laying in this “comfortable” position doesn’t help the hapless psychologist. Once their vacation ended the Jumping Jack team head to The International Tournament of Martingale, the most important tournament of the year. Roger Trotter (I love that name), was nervous, but did his best to keep Jack calm and relaxed.

 

At the first Jump, Jack didn’t. Thrown forward, Roger lost his glasses. They flew off his face, landing onto Jack’s nose. No time to correct this, Jack hit the second jump, the third, fourth, and fifth. Roger couldn’t hold onto Jack. He could no longer see as he flew around Jack, hung onto Jack’s belly, and then slid down Jack’s leg—but he never let go. Meanwhile, Jack gracefully hit every single jump, flying over the poles mistake free. They won!

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These jumps are hilarious with Roger trying to stay off the ground and on Jack, even when that meant under Jack. They were a team. Jumping Jack was jumping once more. Roger took Jack to one more doctor to find out what happened, though he thought he knew. Do you know? Kids will love Jumping Jack. He is an expressive horse and quite animated. Jumping Jack is one horse story that will have you wishing you had bet on this husband and wife team.

JUMPING JACK. Text copyright © 2013 by Germano Zullo. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Albertine. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

**originally published in Switzerland under the title Dada.

.Buy Jumping Jack at AmazonB&NiTunesChronicle Booksyour local bookstore.

.Learn more about Jumping Jack HERE.

Meet the author, Germano Zullo, at his website:

Meet the illustrator Albertine, at her website:     http://www.albertine.ch/

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

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Also by Germano Zullo & Albertine

Sky High

Sky High

Little Bird

Little Bird

 Line 135

Line 135

 

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jumping jack


Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Albertine, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, cross poles, equestrian sport, fences, Germano Zullo, horse jumping, horse racing, Jumping Jack, picture books

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