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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: 4stars, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 136
1. #728-9 Busy Baby Friends & Busy Baby Trucks by Sara Gillingham

combo covers
Busy Baby: Friends & Busy Baby: Trucks
(Touch Think Learn)
Written & Illustrated by Sara Gillingham
Chronicle Books      9/15/2015
978-1-4521-4188-6
978-1-4521-4187-9
10 pages      7” x 7”      Age 0—2

“Baby is a little nervous to see so many new faces, but with a turn of the swivel headpiece and a reassuring word, baby can smile and make friends! In the new Busy Baby series, busy babies can play and share with friends, or ride in a fire truck and cement mixer and meet each new adventure with a smile.” [press release]

Review
In Busy Baby: Friends Baby meets many new friends and must learn to smile. By turning the swivel headpiece from a frowning baby to a smiling baby, young children can determine how well the Busy Baby makes friends. In the second spread, someone wants to play the tambourine but Baby has a hold of it. Busy Baby: Friends asks young children to help the other kids and in the process make new friends. From sharing the tambourine to helping a new friend stand up, Baby is busy making new friends and learning to smile her way through the day.

1Busy Baby: Trucks may be the first introduction of trucks to a young child’s world. Baby is asked to fix a crack in the sidewalk using a cement mixer; help the community recycle, race the fire truck to a fire and rescue the injured; and tow a disabled car. Not all is work for Baby. There is also an ice cream truck in need of customers. Young children, especially boys, will love th is introduction into the world of work vehicles.

Busy Baby Friends_Int 1Each book is made of thick cardboard that will withstand falls and the occasional throw. Tearing a page is nearly impossible. The thicker pages also make it easier for little hands to turn pages. The easily cleaned glossy pages will take care of spills and blobs of peanut butter and jelly wipe off with a quick swipe, getting the book back to your child in a jiffy (no pun intended). The swivel headpiece—smiling on one side and frowning on the other—is also made of thick material and spills with ease. At first, spinning the head may be the most fun part of the Busy Baby Series (it was for me).

Busy Baby Trucks_Int 1I think young children and parents will adore the Busy Baby Series (Friends and Trucks). These books are a great way to help a young child learn how a smile can help one make new friends or turn a situation from grim to happy. The illustrations are made of geometric shapes and bright colors that will delight young readers. In addition to other children, animals add a nice touch of whimsy. Young children can learn as they listen to the story and play along.

BUSY BABY:  FRIENDS. BUSY BABY:  TRUCKS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Sara Gillingham. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase Busy Baby:  Friends at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.
Purchase Busy Baby:  Trucks at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksChronicle Books.

Learn more about Busy Baby:  Friends HERE & Trucks HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Sara Gillingham, at her website:  http://www.saragillingham.com/
Find more board books at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

Also by Sara Gillingham

Love Is a Tutu - 2016

Love Is a Tutu – 2016

How to Grow a Friend - 2015

How to Grow a Friend – 2015

Felt Finger Puppet Board Books: On My Beach

Felt Finger Puppet Board Books: On My Beach

 

 

 

(reviewed here)

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How to Mend a Heart - 2015

How to Mend a Heart – 2015

Snuggle the Baby - 2014

Snuggle the Baby – 2014

I Am So Brave - 2014

I Am So Brave – 2014

Highlights of Your Life: A Journal That Glows as Your Child Grows - 2014

Highlights of Your Life: A Journal That Glows as Your Child Grows – 2014

—and many more

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

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Full Disclosure: title by author & illustrator, and received from Publisher, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Library Donated Books Tagged: Busy Baby: Friends, Busy Baby: Trucks, Chronicle Books, frowns, infants to age two, making friends, relationships, Sara Gillingham, smiles, spinning heads, Touch Think Learn

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2. #712 -If You Were a Dog by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka

cover lg.
If You Were a Dog
Written by Jamie A. Swenson
Illustrated by Chris Raschka
Farrar Straus Giroux BYR        9/30/2014
978-0-373-33530-4
40 pages              Age 3—6

“If you could be any kind of animal, what would you be? Would you be a sod that goes ARRRROOOOOOO? Or maybe you would be a sharp-toothed dinosaur that can CHOMP, STOMP, ROAR! Perhaps you might want to be a hopping frog that goes BOING, BOING, RIBBET! But maybe you would want to be the best kind of animal of all. Can you guess what that is?” [inside jacket]

Review
Using sparse text, including exuberant onomatopœia, and characteristics specific to the animal on the spread, Swenson asks young children how they would act if they were a dog, a cat, a bird, a bug, a frog, and a dinosaur. Each two-spread animal begins its question with a recognizable formula:

“If you were a . . . would you be a . . . ?”

For example, the first animal is the dog.

dog am combo “If you were a dog, would you be a speedy-quick, lickety-sloppy,
scavenge-the-garbage,
frisbee-catching,
hot-dog-stealing,
pillow-hogging,
best-friend-ever sort of dog?”

The following spread always asks one final question:

dog 2  combo“Would you howl at the moon?  Some dogs do.”

Youngsters will love the questions, especially each of the activity-type characteristics in If You Were a Dog. While not written in rhyme, the text flows nicely. The individual characteristics are ordered such that the similar suffixes following each other. Raschka’s illustrations are child-like in form, yet lively, and capture the text and the reader’s (listener’s), imagination. Young children will not only contemplate how they would act based on the given charactersitics, but are bound to come up with their own. I like anything that activates and stretches a child’s imagination and If You Were a Dog fits that bill nicely.

The final three spreads in If You Were a Dog acknowledge that we cannot become any animal we want, but we can imitate those around us. Besides, kids are told, the best animal to be is yourself.

IF YOU WERE A DOG. Text copyright (C) 2014 by Jamie A. Swenson. Illustrations copyright (C) 2014 by Chris Raschka. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers—an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, New York, NY.

Purchase If You Were a Dog at AmazonBook DepositoryiTunesMacmillian Children’s Publishing Group.

Learn more about If You Were a Dog HERE.
You can find the CCSS-Aligned Discussion and Activity Guide HERE.

AWARDS
Junior Library Guild selection

Meet the author, Jamie A. Swenson, at her website:  http://www.jamieaswenson.com/
Meet the illustrator, Chris Raschka, at his twitter page:  @ChrisRaschka
Find more children’s books at the Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR website:  http://us.macmillan.com/mackids
Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR is an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

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

Review section word count = 225

Full Disclosure: If You Were a Dog, by Jamie A. Swenson & Chris Raschka, and received from Farrar Strauss Giroux BYR, (an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: animal traits, animals, being oneself, Chris Raschka, creativity, Farrar Straus Giroux, If You Were a Dog, imagination, Jamie A. Swenson, self esteem

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3. #692 – Building the Golden Gate Bridge: an Interactive Engineering Adventure by Blake Hoena

coverx
x
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Building the Golden Gate Bridge: An Interactive Engineering Adventure

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

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

Building the Golden Gate Bridge

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

Building the Golden Gate Bridge2

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

Building the Golden Gate Bridge3

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

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

© bernard-gagnon-own-work-gfdl

© bernard-gagnon-own-work-gfdl

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

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

Purchase Building the Golden Gate Bridge at AmazonBook DepositoryCapstonePub.

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

YOU CHOOSE BOOKS: ENGINEERING MARVELS

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

Building the Empire State Building by Allison Lassieur

Building the Great Wall of China by Allison Lassieur

Building the Great Wall of China by Allison Lassieur

Building the Transcontinental Railroad by Steven Otfinoski

Building the Transcontinental Railroad by Steven Otfinoski

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review Section: word count = 614

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

building the golden gate bridge you choose book series 2015


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

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4. # 694 – Frankie Dupont and the Lemon Festival Fiasco by Julie Anne Grasso

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

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

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

sick teacher

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

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

you did it wrong again

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor

Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor

Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage

Frankie Dupont And The Science Fair Sabotage

Escape From The Forbidden Planet

Escape From The Forbidden Planet

Return To Cardamom

Return To Cardamom

Stellarcadia

Stellarcadia

 

 

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Review Section: word count = 491

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

frnkie dupont 2 lemon festival fiasco


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

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5. #695 – Waggers by Stacy Nyikos & Tamara Anegόn

stacy-nyikos-waggers-book-cover.
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Waggers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

campout

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

Purchase Waggers at AmazonBook DepositorySky Pony Press.

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

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing

Desi -  the Muse

Desi – the Muse

Desi as Waggers

Desi as Waggers

 

 

A Pretty Good Likeness?

 

 

Review Section: word count = 378

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

waggers


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

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6. #702 – Busy Little Dinosaurs (A Back-and-Forth Book) by Beth Schwartz and Lynn Seresin & Luciana Navarro Powell

cover
Busy Little Dinosaurs: A Back-and-Forth Alphabet Book

Series: Back-and-Forth Books
Written by Beth Schwartz & Lynn Seresin
Illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell
Capstone Young Readers        8/01/2015
978-1-62370-234-2
22 pages        9″x8″       Age 1—4
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“Busy little dinosaurs, as a rule, agree it’s fun to go to school! Follow dinosaurs through an alphabet of activities from A all the way to Zzzzzz. But wait—you’re not done! Go back to A and name the things that start with the letters along the way.” [back cover]

Review
Busy Little Dinosaurs will teach young children their ABCs in an unconventional manner. Each spread contains a four-line verse of rhyme and somewhere in that rhyme is a word with the letter or letters for that spread, going from A to Z. For example, the second spread is for the letters “Gg,” “Hh,” and “Ii.”

Dinos gather together,
hang a flag from a tree,
and imagine they’re pirates,
that sail the high seas.”

At the top left of each spread, in various colors, are the next letters in the alphabet. It would be easy enough to learn the alphabet by learning the letters while ignoring each verse and illustration, but that would not be much fun. The dinosaurs are doing all sorts of imaginative activities, many of which young children could also enjoy. In the above verse, the orange dinosaur looks at a map while wearing a pirate’s hat. The green dinosaur wears glasses and is looks over a different type of map, while the third dinosaur peers through a telescope—“Land Ho!”

Young children will have loads of laughs learning the alphabet with Busy Little Dinosaurs. The colorful, sturdy pages are glossy and wipe off kid-gunk with ease. The “A” dinosaurs enter school with their backpacks and big smiles. Throughout the day, the dinosaurs have a tremendous amount of fun as they enjoy many activities: play instruments, exercise in gym class, play soccer, paint, eat lunch, read books, and take a nap. All make for a rather decent kindergarten day.

Once those dinosaurs awake, they can flip back through the pages and, well, this part is actually a little tricky.

“Now go back to the cutouts
for surprises and fun.
Guess the letter things start with
and then you are done!”

The first spread is now letter “Z,” and in the cutout is a picture of a zebra fish—the object begins with the letter Z. On spread “Y,” the cutout is over the orange body of the yawning dinosaur. This could be the word “yawning” beginning with the letter Y, though not an object. “Ww and Xx” opens to a bookworm or a worm reading—begins with the letter W. But then “Tt, Uu, Vv” opens on the color purple on the dinosaur’s nose. I cannot think of anything beginning with the letter t, u, or v for this “object.” The spreads repeat this pattern of object then body color until the child is back to the front off the book. I love the idea, but do not understand what object each color represents, especially if the letter of the object is one of the letters of the spread, though that was not specified. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been to get an object in one cutout for two spreads. This does give a child the chance to use his or her imagination when deciding what object the colors might represent to them. Unfortunately, as a back-and-forth book, Busy Little Dinosaurs works well going forward and half the time in reverse.

Despite this problem, Busy Little Dinosaurs is a fun, imaginative, interesting, and colorful learning experience for young kids. Learning the ABCs in this manner is more beneficial than simply reciting the alphabet repeatedly until learned. Rote learning is never as much fun as experiential learning. I would highly recommend Busy Little Dinosaurs for teaching young children their alphabet. I believe, learning in this manner—non-rote learning—helps kids learn faster and remember what they learned longer. Busy Little Dinosaurs will have young children excited to learn the alphabet—and that is the best way to learn.

BUSY LITTLE DINOSAURS (A BACK-AND-FORTH BOOK). Text copyright © 2015 by Beth Schwartz & Lynn Seresin. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Luciana Navarro Powell. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Capstone, North Mankato, MN.

Pre-order Busy Little Dinosaurs at AmazonBook Depository—Capstone.

Learn more about Busy Little Dinosaurs HERE.
Meet the author, Beth Schwartz, her website:
Meet the author, Lynn Seresin, at her website: http://bit.ly/LynnSeresin
Meet the illustrator, Luciana Navarro Powell, at his/her website: http://www.lucianaillustration.com/
Find more picture books at the Capstone Young Readers website: http://www.capstonepub.com/

Capstone Young Readers is an imprint of Capstone.

Other Back-and-Forth Books
Puppies, Puppies, Everywhere! (opposites)
Ten Playful Tigers (counting)   (reviewed here)
You’re it, Little Red Fish (colors)

Plus – Hop, Hop Bunny (reviewed here)
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Busy Little Dinosaurs (A Back-and-Forth Book)

 


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Series Tagged: ABC's, alphabet, Back-and-Forth Books, Beth Schwartz, Busy Little Dinosaurs, Capstone, Capstone Young Readers, dinosaurs, experiential learning, humor, imagination, Luciana Navarro Powell, Lynn Seresin, rote learning

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7. #656 – Gollywood Here I Come! by Terry John Barto & Mattia Cerato

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Gollywood Here I Come!
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written by Terry John Barto
illustrated by Mattia Cerato
Author House       8/14/2014
978-1-4969-3509-0
30 pages        Age 4 – 8
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“When Anamazie isn’t twirling a baton, taking an acting class, or attending singing and dance lessons, she fantasizes about being a movie star. One day, after leading the Wattle View School Band in the 4th of July parade, and a few hard knocks, her dream comes true.”
The Story

Anamazie, a talented young turkey, leads the school band in the local holiday parade, and then hops in her doting mother’s car. They are off to the Korn-A-Plenty Community Theater for the finals of the Gobbleville’s Got Talent show. Though she gave a rousing performance, Anamazie does not win the show.
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Mom Henrietta is waiting backstage along with a talent scout from Gollywood Studios. He wants Anamazie to screen for the studio’s next motion picture. Anamazie wins the part, but has trouble working with the leading man. Will Anamazie lose her first starring role, or will she become the star she has always dreamed she would become?

Review

Gollywood Here I Come opens with an expansive layout of Gobbleville. There are homes, restaurants, a bank, a taco restaurant with half arches, and—hurray—a bookstore. In the distance is the GOLLYWOOD sign (similar to the large Hollywood sign in Los Angeles). The illustrations are quite detailed and the turkeys—Gobbleville citizens —are expressive, colorful, and imaginative.

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I like the length of the story and the illustrations, which are on every page sans one. Mom Henrietta is a stereotypical doting stage mom. She follows her daughter’s career so closely, trying to help at every juncture, that studio security must escort her off the movie set. Anamazie does have some difficulties, but I was disappointed that we do not get to see how she overcame those. Because of a lack of character development, it is difficult for the reader to care about her, though mom Henrietta Pearl is a hoot. Children’s story protagonists must solve their conflicts (problems, difficulties). Instead, the story glosses over this by simply telling the reader,

“Six months later, the film debuted . . .”

Suited more to the older end of the suggested reader age of 5 to 8, Gollywood Here I Come is a cute mini-version to fame with a message of perseverance, hard work, and a positive attitude as the means to success. This is the author’s first picture book. His second, Knickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon, released last December. (reviewed HERE (coming soon)).

GOLLYWOOD HERE I COME! Text copyright © 2014 by Terry John Barto. Illustrations copyright © by Mattia Cerato. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Author House LLC, Bloomington, IN.

Purchase Gollywood Here I Come at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryAuthor House.
Learn more about Gollywood Here I Come HERE.
Meet the author, Terry John Barto, at his website:  tjbkids.com
Meet the illustrator, Mattia Cerato, at his website:   http://www.mattiacerato.com/
Check out additional Author House books at its website:   http://www.authorhouse.com/
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Coming soon from Terry John Barton, Knickerbacher, the Funniest Dragon

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Author House, Gollywood Here I Come!, Mattia Cerato, movie stardom, Terry John Barto

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8. #657 – We’re the Center of the Universe!: Science’s Biggest Mistakes About Astronomy and Physics Series: Science Gets It Wrong by Christine Zuchora-Walske

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We’re the Center of the Universe!: Science’s Biggest Mistakes About Astronomy and Physics

Series:  Science Gets It Wrong
Written by Christine Zuchora-Walske
Lerner Publishing Group         9/1/2014
978-1-4677-3663-3
32 pages          Age 9 to 12
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“The universe circles around Earth.
Creatures live on the Sun.
You can tell the future by looking at the Stars.

At one time, science supported wild notions like these! But later studies proved these ideas were nonsense. Discover science’s biggest mistakes and oddest assumptions about physics and astronomy, and see how scientific thought changes over time.”

Review

Why is Pluto no longer a planet? What makes waves ebb and flow as they do? How did the universe begin? We’re the Center of the Universe will answer these questions and many more in this truly fascinating read. Even non-science buffs will find We’re the Center of the Universe interesting.

We’re the Center of the Universe packs a wild punch. Kids can learn about some of the greatest thinkers and scientists throughout history, and how their thoughts and postulates—once considered true—are now terribly off base. The physical sciences change with time. New information and tools improve research. New scientists bring new ideas. We’re the Center of the Universe will have kids laughing—and thinking—about the beliefs people once held, but as the author states,

“. . . in the future, people might think our scientific ideas are pretty goofy too!”

I loved the book and found it difficult to put down. Well-written and well-researched, kids will be drawn into to this primer on the misconceptions regarding our world and universe, specifically in the areas of physics and astronomy. The illustrations and photographs are fantastic and teachers can quickly incorporate We’re the Center of the Universe into the Common Core requirements.  

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Ms. Christine Zuchora-Walske knows how to write non-fiction for children. We’re the Center of the Universe is not a dry textbook, but rather a great adjunct text, a quick reference, and a fun read. In the resources section, she thoughtfully summarizes each book and website so readers can quickly find more information about whatever sparked their interest.

From ancient times to modern times, science continues to change and, sometimes, old ideas and thoughts are simply funny or just odd. Kids will find much to laugh about and learn inside the covers of We’re the Center of the Universe.
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WE’RE THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE! : SCIENCE’S BIGGEST MISTAKES ABOUT ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS (SCIENCE GETS IT WRONG). Text copyright © 2014 by Christine Zuchora-Walske. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Lerner Publishing Group, Minneapolis, MN.
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Learn more about We’re the Center of the Universe! HERE.
Purchase We’re the Center of the Universe! at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Publishing Group.

Meet the author, Christine Zuchora-Walske at her Lerner bio:  https://www.lernerbooks.com/contacts/987/Christine-Zuchora-Walske
View  Christine Zuchora-Walske’s linkedin page:  https://www.linkedin.com/pub/christine-zuchora-walske/5/998/847
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SevenCsEditorial
Find more from the Science Gets it Wrong series at the Lerner Publishing website:  https://www.lernerbooks.com/

DON’T FORGET to VOTE for YOUR FAVORITE BEST BOOK for 2014 HERE.

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

Last Chance! VOTE for YOUR FAVORITE BEST BOOK for 2014 HERE.


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, NonFiction, Series Tagged: astronomy for kids, Christine Zuchora-Walske, Lerner Publishing Group, physics for kids, scientific misconceptions, We're the Center of the Universe!: Science's Biggest Mistakes About Astronomy and Physics (Science Gets It Wrong)

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9. #658 – The Story Starts Here! by Caroline Merola

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The Story Starts Here!

Written and illustrated by Caroline Merola
Owlkids Books         9/15/2014
978-1-77147-079-7
40 pages      Age 4 to 8

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“Little Wolf wants to do things his way. And that includes starting HIS story from the back of the book. But Little Wolf’s topsy-turvy day gets a unexpected twist  when someone else decides to join in on the fun.

Play along as Little Wolf turns the picture book on its head!”

Review

Little Wolf is one stubborn little guy.

Oh, wait! I forgot to tell you a very important thing—The Story Starts Here has the ending at the beginning and the beginning at the end.  So flip the book around and upside down, and then open the back “front” cover. Ready?

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Little Wolf is one stubborn little guy.

“Because I said so.”

He wants things his way, including with you; you are reading his book upside down and backwards. Little Wolf eats dessert first, puts his pants on his head, and plays piano with his toes. Little Wolf declares today is backward day to his unwilling and objecting parents.

“No, you will not begin with dessert.”
“No, you will not play piano with your toes!”

Sent to his room to think about his contrary behavior, Little Wolf sneaks outside (with his pants still fashionably atop his head). Outside, all the creatures are quickly running away from something. Little Wolf turns around and finds he is face-to-face with a monster. The Story Starts Here had me laughing from the get go at Little Wolf and his backward antics. Little Wolf playing the piano and wearing his trousers’ on his head is hilarious, but not as much as the twist. The monster is feeling a bit topsy-turvy itself. “It” explains this to Little Wolf, who seems to understand . . . until the monster tells Little Wolf to flip the book back over.

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Oh, wait! I forgot again. Keep the book open and flip back over so the beginning is the beginning and the end is the end. Now we can finish the story.

Despite the funny goings on the story could be better. Little Wolf is the same stubborn wolf as he was at page . . . the beginning of the story. He does not even think the twist is funny. (Spoilt sport, he is!)  I really like The Story Starts Here and the concept of an upside day. Feeling a little off is a good time to mix things up. Good thing dad understands his son.

I love “Dad Books.” The Story Starts Here will entertain fathers and sons, making a great reading experience for both. Little Wolf is generic and so can be any child; dad can be any father. Kids will love the craziness of flipping and reading backward, then suddenly flipping back. It is one more way to engage and interest them in reading. Kids will also love the surprise ending (a new fashion, which had me laughing, is born).  If the book does not make you dizzy—it will not—you and your child will enjoy a funny story and a great lead into a discussion on how sometimes a story—or the world—has more than one view.
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THE STORY STARTS HERE! Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Caroline Merola. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkely, CA.
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Purchase The Story Starts Here at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Books
Learn more about The Story Starts Here HERE.
Meet the author/illustrator, Caroline Merola, at her website:  http://www.carolinemerola.com/
Find more picture books at the Owlkids Books website:  https://store.owlkids.com
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews
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Last Chance! VOTE for YOUR FAVORITE BEST BOOK for 2014 HERE.


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: "my way", Caroline Merola, fathers and sons, Owlkids Books, stubborn, The Story Starts Here, tolerance, topsy-turpy, world view

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10. #661 – Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds by Dale Kutzera

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Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds

Series: The Amazing Adventures of Andy McBean
Written by Dale Kutzera
Illustrated by Joemel Requeza
Salmon Bay Books        10/6/2014
978-0-69202392-1
285 pages Age 8 to 12
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“Andy McBean is struggling to survive Middle School in the soggy hills of the Pacific Northwest. He’s messy, fearful of bullies, and hates the rain. And spending much of the last year in the hospital battling leukemia hasn’t helped. Then one night a meteor storm devastates the county, cutting off power and communications. One giant boulder skids to a halt right on Andy’s front lawn. The glowing meteor draws the attention of neighbors, the media, the army, and even the new girl from Andy’s art class. He is thrilled at the notoriety, but everything changes when the meteor cracks opens and a towering machine steps out. Separated from his family, Andy must fend for himself and rescue his friends. Join Andy on this thrilling adventure as he meets an alien, learns what they want on planet earth, and devises a bold plan to stop them.”

The Story

Andy wakes one morning to find an alien pod on his front lawn. Mom’s roses are ruined. The aliens are here to collect—using a Vaporizer—all the water found on Earth, including that of humans, who are more than 60% water. These creatures travel the universe harvesting water from planets without significant life. The “Big Heads,” who bark the orders, make a decision: humans are not significant. Large tripod machines crush homes and businesses with grabbers capable of sweeping up people and holding them in a cage, until it is time to vaporize them for their watery bodies.

Andy gets away and rescues Charlie from her ruined home and then his best friend Hector. They avoid the large, bulky “Thugs,” who bully the worker aliens until they obey the Big Heads’ commands, and the crushing arms of the grabbers. Andy befriends a worker alien by the name of Been’Tok. Been’Tok, Andy, Hector, Charlie, and Andy’s dad plan to shut down the vaporizer, free the hostages, and send the aliens back to where they came from. But can an eight-year-old boy, recently recovered from bouts of leukemia treatment, save his world?

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Review

Inspired by War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds actually brings the aliens to Earth. The action is fast. Andy and his friends are easy to like and fun to watch as they travel by foot. The story is believable, though Andy has several lucky escapes from the aliens (great fun!). Been’Tok is a cute, three-eyed monster with a heart and soul. He loves collecting the odd artifacts he finds while vaporizing various planets for the water his planet desperately needs. He disagrees with his commander, believing humans are significant, especially after Andy saves his life.

The cuteness of Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds reminded me of E. T., even though the two are different types of stories. Until the end, it is not clear whether Been’Tok wants to return home. He enjoys the company of Andy and his friends. The communication barriers make for some delightful scenes as Been’Tok tries to learn Andy’s language. World leaders and military might around the world meeting Been’Tok is funny. Unfortunately, there are several typos throughout the book, but I could actually ignore them—a first—thanks to the intense story that held my interest (though that does not excuse the sloppy editing). Black and white illustrations enhance the story.

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Middle grade kids, especially boys, will love the world Kutzera created.  The three-tiered aliens can be humorous and dangerous at the same time. Readers will find several surprises along the way and a happy conclusion. Andy is a terrific character from his loyalty to his best friend Hector, his desire to impress Charlie—the new girl at school—and his valiant attempts to move past his illness, despite his parents’ fears and coddling. Will Andy McBean have future adventures?* If he does, I hope Been’Tok finds a way to join him.am4
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ANDY MCBEAN AND THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Text copyright © 2014 by Dale Kutzera. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Joemel Requeza. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Salmon Bay Books, Seattle, WA.

*Series: The Amazing Adventures of Andy McBean
. . . . .   .    . #2: Andy McBean 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea released 12/29/2014

Purchase Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds at AmazonB&NSmashwords.
Learn more about Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds HERE
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Meet the author, Dale Kutzera at his website: http://dalekutzera.com/
Meet the illustrator, Joemel Requeza, at his website:
Find Salmon Bay Books here:
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Debut Author, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: aliens, Andy McBean and the War of the Worlds, Dale Kutzera, Joemel Requeza, relationships, Salmon Bay Books, saving the world, The Amazing Adventures of Andy McBean

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11. #668 – Alien Dude! #2: Mr. Evil Potato Man and the Food Fight! by E. K. Smith & Peter Grosshauser

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Alien Dude! #2: Mr. Evil Potato Man and the Food Fight!

Written by E. K. Smith
Illustrated by Peter Grosshauser
Zip Line Publishing              9/27/2014
978-0-9883792-1-3
64 pages         Age 7—9
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“When the villain Mr. Evil Potato Man puts a spell on the school food, students start turning into food and a huge food fight erupts. Alien Dude morphs into a peeler and peels, then fries the giant potato. Once the fries are eaten, the spell is broken.” [publisher summary]
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Review
Alien Dude is an early reader for reluctant readers. Aimed at boys (and girls who enjoy alien superheroes), Alien Dude is an enjoyable story about a little alien-student. As Alien Dude sits, quietly working on his lessons, the lunch bell rings. He flies off to the cafeteria, but a quiet lunch will not last long. As kids eat, they start turning into items of food. Pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, and a hamburger with all the works begin popping up at lunch tables. Veggies, too. What in the name of popcorn is going on?

Alien Dude realizes the EVIL Mr. Evil Potato Man has caused the chaos. Alien Dude jumps onto his table and yells,

“Don’t eat the school food! He put a spell on the food.”

Then Mr. Evil Potato Man—the villain—yells . . .

Can you guess what he yells?

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He yells,

“Food Fight!!”

The grey-scale illustrations show kids morphing into food. I would have preferred color interior illustrations. Grosshauser’s ability shines on the covers; a marvelous sight sure to catch passing eyes. The cover also masks the simplicity of the story inside. Young boys—and girls—will not be ashamed to read Alien Dude. a story geared toward reading ability, not the reader’s age. The three chapters are composed of one or two sentences per page, with large illustrated characters. Smith repeats words and simple sentence structures to build reluctant readers’ ability and love of reading.

Alien Dude has special powers, as all superheroes should possess. He can fly, fr course, but the little alien can also morph into any working object of his choice. To defeat Mr. Evil Potato Man, Alien Dude morphs into a potato peeler, following up with a slicer, and finally a fryer. Still, the spell . . . Alien Dude disposed of the villain, but the kids, they’re still cafeteria food.

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Young children will enjoy the cafeteria humor and the unusual ending. However, I wonder why Alien Dude flies off rather than finish his school day. Maybe this Alien Dude’s reward for cooking the villain’s goose, so to speak. Alien Dude is a series. Book 1: Alien Dude! and the Attack of Wormzilla!! is also available. I enjoyed Alien Dude and think young children will also like the school age alien. He could be sitting next to them right now.

ALIEN DUDE!: MR. EVIL POTATO MAN AND THE FOOD FIGHT! Text copyright © 2014 by E. K. Smith. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Peter Grosshauser. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Zip Line Publishing, Charlotte, NC.
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Purchase Alien Dude! at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryZip Line Publishing.
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Learn more about Alien Dude! HERE.
Meet the author, E. K. Smith, at her linkedin:  http://linkd.in/1CvjTyw
Meet the illustrator, Peter Grosshauser, at his short bio:  http://bit.ly/1FdmW5y
Find more reluctant readers at the Zip Line Publishing website:  http://zipintoreading.com/

Alien Dude! #1: Alien Dude! and the Attack of Wormzilla!!

Alien Dude! #1: Alien Dude! and the Attack of Wormzilla!!

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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Books for Boys, Children's Books, Early Reader, Library Donated Books, Reluctant Readers, Series Tagged: Alien Dude!, Alien Dude! #2: Mr. Evil Potato Man and the Food Fight!, aliens, E. K. Smith, Peter Grosshauser, school, Zip Line Publishing

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12. #672 – The Water and the Wild by K. E. Ormsbee

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The Water and the Wild

Written by K. E. Ormsbee
Illustrated by Elsa Mora
Chronicle Books       4/14/2015
978-1-4521-1386-9
440 pages           Age 10—14
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“For as long as Lottie can remember, the only people who seem to care about her have been her best friend, Eliot, and the mysterious letter-writer who sends her birthday gifts. But now strange things and people are arriving on the island Lottie calls home, and Eliot’s getting sicker, with a disease the doctors have given up trying to cure. Lottie is helpless, useless, powerless.

And then a door opens in the apple tree.

Follow Lottie down through the apple roots to another world—a world of magic both treacherous and beautiful—in pursuit of the impossible: a cure for the incurable, a use for the useless, and protection against the pain of loss.” [book jacket]

Review
The beginning of The Water and the Wild draws the reader in with the sharp writing and imaginative descriptions. We meet 12-year-old Lottie, an orphan, who lives in a New Kemble Island boardinghouse with a reluctant Mrs. Yates, whom the author describes as dour with a dislike of children.

“In her opinion, children belonged to a noxious class of furless, yippy house pets that did nothing but make noise at inconvenient times and crash into her potted gardenias.”

Lottie has only two things she cares about: the apple tree, where she hides her keepsakes in a copper box she found hidden in its roots, and her best friend Eliot. Each year, Lottie placed a wish in her keepsake copper box and returned it to the roots of the apple tree. Each year, on her birthday, an unknown writer sent Lottie her wish.

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Eliot is ill with an unknown incurable disease, and nearing the end of his young life. Lottie decides to ask for a cure for the incurable. Soon after, her life changes course when Adelaide, a sprite, urgently whisks Lottie to safety down the roots of the apple tree to Limn, a mysterious place that exists under New Kemble Island. Here, Lottie meets Mr. Wilfer, a sprite healer, Adelaide and Oliver’s father, and Lottie’s benefactor. Mr. Wilfer has been working on an “Otherwise Incurable” potion. Problem is, this is supposed to be for the king, not Eliot, and when it does not arrive as expected, the king arrests Mr. Wilfer. With the cure in hand, Adelaide, Oliver, Oliver’s half-sprite, half-wisp friend Fife, and Lottie take off for the castle to save Mr. Wilfer.

I enjoyed The Water and the Wild but the journey to the castle felt like it would never end, though there are many bright spots along the way that I loved and will intrigue readers. The three kids travel through strange lands filled with danger. Along the way, Lottie learns she is half human-half sprite—a Halfling—and the Heir of Fiske making her heir apparent to the throne and a target of the current, rather cruel, king. The worlds of both New Kemble Island and Limn are easy to visualize.

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Oliver speaks in the words of poets, all of which the author annotates after the story. This can make Oliver’s speech confusing at times for both Lottie and the reader, but is an unusual and imaginative way to introduce kids to classic poetry. Lottie, the odd-girl-out in both worlds, is an easy character to cheer on and kids in similar situations will easily identify with Lottie’s loneliness and the cruel, bullying students she encounters at home.

I wish I knew how the story ended. Maybe there is a sequel in the works, but as it is now, Lottie is somewhere in Limn doing something and, as the author writes,

“This is better.”

I do recommend The Water and the Wild to advanced middle grade readers and adults who enjoy a good story filled with suspense, unusual beings, adventure, and a little magic. The illustrations at the head of each chapter are made from cut paper. See Elsa Mora’s website for more examples of this incredible artform. The Water and the Wild is K. E. Ormsbee’s debut novel.

NOTE: There is a sequel planned for Fall 2016, as yet un-titled.

THE WATER AND THE WILD. Text copyright © 2015 by K. E. Ormsbee. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Elsa Mora. Reproduced by permission of the Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Purchase The Water and the Wild at AmazonBook DepositoryChronicle Books.

Read an excerpt HERE or HERE
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Learn more about The Water and the Wild HERE.
Meet the author, K. E. Ormsbee, at her website:  http://www.keormsbee.com/
Meet the illustrator, Elsa Mora, at her website:  http://www.artisaway.com/
Find more middle grade novels at the Chronicle Books website:  http://www.chroniclebooks.com/

© KLR — Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

water and the wild 2015


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade, Series Tagged: adventure, Chronicle Books, Elsa Mora, imagination, K. E. Ormsbee, magic, sprites, The Water and the Wild, wisps

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13. #673 – Nickerbacher by Terry Jon Barto & Kim Sponaugle

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Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon

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

“BEWARE OF DRAGON”

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

“Every dragon has a duty to guard princesses.”

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

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

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

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

Purchase Nickerbacher at AmazonBook DepositoryAuthorHouse.

Learn more about Nickerbacher HERE.

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

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

 Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

nickerbacher by Barto - authorhouse 2015


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

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14. #689 – Dress Me! by Sarah Frances Hardy

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Dress Me!

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

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

Dress Me! interior 1pass JAM_page19_image17

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

“Teacher me.”

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

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

Dress Me! interior 1pass JAM_page19_image14

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

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

Purchase Dress Me! at AmazonBook DepositorySky Pony Press.

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

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Sky Horse Publishing

Also by Sarah Frances Hardy

Paint Me!

Paint Me!

Puzzled by Pink

Puzzled by Pink

 

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Review word count = 455

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews.

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dress me ftc


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

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15. #641–We’re Going to the Farmer’s Market by Stefan Page

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We’re Going to the Farmers’ Market

Written and Illustrated by Stefan Page
Chronicle Books        3/04/2014
978-1-4521-1834-5
Age 1 to 3          14 pages
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“TO MARKET! TO MARKET! We are on our way! Visit local farmers, fill baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables, and then head home to coo a healthy feast all with your goodies from the farmer’s market!”

Opening

“To market, to market, we are on our way.”

Review

What little one does not like going to the store with mom and dad? Farmer’s Market takes young children to an open farmer’s market where they can pick out the day’s groceries from assortment of fine stalls with fresh fruit and vegetables. Start at the dairy and pick up eggs, milk, and a slab of cheese. Next pick out fresh vegetables like lettuce, radishes, onions, celery, and potatoes. Now add those fruits. Choose from tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, black berries, mushrooms, and kiwi. With a full basket you are ready to head home.

“To kitchen, to kitchen, we, chop, stew,and bake.”

All that is left now is to wait for our feast and watch Daddy ice the cake. Ready? Let’s eat!

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_stalls

Farmer’s Market is a nice board book for younger children interested in grocery shopping, food, or spending time with mom and dad on errand—this time grocery shopping. The view is that of the child as seen in the line waiting for something, the view is of adult legs and hands holding shopping baskets. Oddly, none of the people with stalls to sell food from have a smile. Their looks are one of disinterest.

The pages are thicker than normal so little fingers have a much harder time tearing them. The pages also have a nice finish that let’s things like peanut butter and jelly wipe off the surface without leaving a stain.  And the book is the perfect size (6” x  6”) for little ones to carry and read.

Pages from ToMarketToMarketBB_Fruits and Veggies

The illustrations in Farmer’s market are basic, making it easier for young kids to understand and know what is illustrated. Each spread has a basic color in the background, such as yellow, green, and orange. The items pictures are large and easy to recognize. Kids will enjoy finding the item you ask them to find, or simply pointing to each and telling you hat it is. They could also then find the same item in your refrigerator or the next time you go to the grocer.

Young children will enjoy reading Farmer’s Market with mom and dad. It can prepare them for an actual trip or help them understand what each item you buy looks like. I think this is sturdy little book for little fingers can help kids learn about basic food, grocery shopping, and enjoying the entire process—especially the cake Dad is icing. Farmer’s Market is Stefan Page’s debut. Also available to enhance the child’s experience are a Farmers’ Market Mobile
and ABC Flash Cards. (images below)

“To table, to table, it is time to dig in!”

WE’RE GOING TO THE FARMER’S MARKET. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Stefan Page. Reproduce by permission of the publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

Buy Farmer’s Market at AmazonB&NChronicle Booksat your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Farmer’s Market HERE.

Meet the author/illustrator, Stefan Page, at his twitter page:    https://twitter.com/StefanPage

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

ABC Farmers' Market Flash Cards

ABC Farmers’ Market Flash Cards

Farmers' Market Mobile

Farmers’ Market Mobile

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farmers market

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Board Books, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction Tagged: board book, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, dairy, fruits, groery shopping, meal pereparation, Stefan Page, vegetables

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16. #644 – The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos by C.L. Murphy

Lobo cover

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The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #5: Lobo Goes to the Galapagos

Written and illustrated by C.L. Murphy
Published by C.L. Murphy         8/22/2014
978-0-9883187-5-5
Age 4 to 8        32 pages
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“Lobo returns in this adventure, sweeter and a bit salty this time. This lil’ wolf pup finds that there’s nothing like a little sea air to bring out the best in him and his unlikely tag-alongs. Take a trip to the Galapagos with Lobo and his right-hand raven, Roxy, as they help an injured, new feathered friend return home. Lobo faces some fears and witnesses the joy that comes from helping others in this “birds of a different feather DO flock together” tale.”

Opening

 “Ohh …….Rooooxxxyyyy . . . Roxy…..Roxy?”

The Story

After a stormy night, Lobo finds a bird lying upside down in the grass. It has blue feet, which worries Lobo, but it turns out the bird, named Bobby is a blue-footed booby. The storm blew Bobby all the way to Lobo’s home, hurting his wing in the process. Lobo’s friend Roxy the raven splints Bobby’s wing and then the two take Bobby home. He lives by the ocean, but none of the beaches Lobo arrives at is the correct beach. Bobby lives on Wolf Island—wolf population zero—an island of the Galapagos Islands. The islands are across the ocean rom Lobo’s forest. Lobo does not swim well and is afraid a sea creature might attack the group—or him. What does he do know? How will he get the injured Booby back home?

Review 

I have loved The Adventures of Lovable Lobo ever since Lobo ventured into a barnyard full of animals trying to make friends. He was a cool wolf pup when he refused to hunt and kill in his first adventure. Lobo was wonderful with a young Bigfoot. In Lobo Goes to Galapagos, Lobo must be maturing. He takes the lead, transporting an injured boobly bird, a depressed seagull, and a lonely crab by himself. Roxy helps by flying most of the time instead of landing on Lobo’s back for a free ride. Lobo never complains. These are his friends (even the sad seagull and the blue-footed boobly both of which he just met) so he steps out.

I loved the unexpected bits of humor, such as when Sandra popping onto the beach with the perfect timing of a great comedian One f the best lines is this one,

LoboGalapagos_page33_image38

“The water was so clear that if Lobo looked down he could see many things swimming around,   so he tried not to look down.”

Poor Lobo, he endures one fear to take a new friend, injured in the storm, home. The nice thing about Lobo’s stories is the lack of a message. Lobo is a good wolf, a wolf to aspire to be, and a friend to every animal without prejudice. This is Lobo’s makeup, not his message. Still, I take friendship, honesty, loyalty, and courteousness away from Lobo’s adventures.

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I was disappointed that Lobo Goes to the Galapagos was only to drop off a new friend. I thought he would go there to explore and show me creatures I did not know existed. True, I had never heard of a blue-footed boobly—and yes, it is real—but I wanted more.

The illustrations are once more fantastic. My favorite and one that Ms. Murphy will find hard to top, is her gorgeous sunset, sunrise beaches. I have been to the Caribbean many times and have seen many outstanding sunsets and rises, but none were as magnificent as the ones in Lobo Goes to the Galapagos. Ms. Murphy the magic touch. All of her illustrations are bold, bright, beautiful renditions of her stories. If the images are not hopping off the page at you, they bathe you in phenomenal patterns of color. She is a fantastic artist.

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Lobo’s latest adventure, Lobo Goes to the Galapagos, will not disappoint his loyal fans. Young children new to the lovable wolf pup will enjoy the story’s soft humor and awesome tale of friendship. As of this tale, Kindle readers can finally enjoy Lovable Lobo. Once again, Lobo and his friends captivated me. I hope one day, Lobo will make a longer trip to the Galapagos Islands. He would make the perfect ambassador.

THE ADVENTURES OF LOVABLE LOBO #5: LOBO GOES TO THE GALAPAGOS. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by C.L. Murphy. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, C.L. Murphy.

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Purchase Lobo Goes to the Galapagos at AmazoniTunes—Ms. Murphy’s Website.

Learn more about Lobo Goes to the Galapagos HERE

Meet the author/illustrator, C.L. Murphy, at her website:     http://lovablelobo.com/

Pop in on the author at her Twitter, Facebook, or Blog.

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Also by C.L. Murphy

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1:  Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #1: Lobo & Popo Fool the Pack

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2:  Lobo Visits the Barnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #2: Lobo Visits the Barnyard


The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3:  Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #3: Lobo Finds BigfootBarnyard

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4:  Lobo's Howliday

The Adventures of Lovable Lobo, #4: Lobo’s Howliday

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Review of Lobo #1

Review of Lobo #2

Review of Lobo #3

Review of Lobo #4

 

 

lobo galapagos
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: Blue-Footed Boobly, C.L. Murphy, children's book series, childrens book review, friendship, Galapagos Islands, helping friends, Lovable Lobo, loyalty, picture book, wild creatures

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17. #648 – Stanley the Builder by William Bee

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Stanley the Builder

by William Bee
Peachtree Publishing           9/01/2014
978-1-5614-801-1
Age 3 to 8           32 pages
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“When Myrtle buys a plot of land, she asks Stanley to build her a new house. He works step-by-step—from clearing the site with a bulldozer, to pouring the foundation, to painting the finished house in Myrtle’s favorite colors. Luckily, Charlie helps out too. Building houses is hard work, but all three friends are happy with a job well done.”

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Opening 

“What are Stanley and Myrtle doing?”

Review

Myrtle the mouse just purchased a plot of land and hires Stanley to build her a house. Stanley is an industrious hamster. After clearing the land with his bulldozer, Stanley and his helper Charlie, build the foundation. The tricky work of laying down the bricks is next. There is not a wolf around who will be able to blow this house down. When the house is finished, Stanley paints it using Myrtle’s favorite colors. All done, Stanley heads home, newspaper in hand, for dinner, a long bath, and bed. He will wake up ready for a new day.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-004

Young boys will love the Stanley the Builder. Stanley uses all kinds of machines to help him build Myrtle’s house. Will kids know what and how these machines are used? Stanley wears a yellow safety hat, possibly just as dad wears. Young boys, and some girls, who enjoy building things just like Stanley, will love a story about building, especially with the cute hamster Stanley. The illustrations are basic with large, easy to recognize shapes, separated by solid black lines, which help deepen the colors and drawing one’s attention. The colors are basic primary and secondary colors. Kids should be able to recognize each color if asked.

I love this clean presentation. The white background helps keep the eyes focused on the main illustration. I also like that Stanley’s friend Charlie helps and Myrtle finds a way to help out, too. These three friends work well together. Young children will enjoy pointing out the equipment Stanley uses—a crane, digger, cement mixer, and bulldozer. A game can be made of finding the machine, the item used to build the house, or a specific color, after reading the story, of course. In this way, Stanley the Builder can be a great way to prepare for kindergarten. Stanley has more adventures on the way. Young children will eagerly await each new addition. Next, Stanley runs a garage.

Stanley the Builder US interior-page-007

STANLEY THE BUILDER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by William Bee. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Peachtree Publishing.

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Purchase Stanley the Builder at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPeachtreeyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Stanley and his series HERE

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

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

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

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Also by William Bee

Worst in Show - 2014

Worst in Show – 2014

Digger Dog - 2014

Digger Dog – 2014

Stanley the Farmer - 2015

Stanley the Farmer – 2015

Stanley's Garage - 2014

Stanley’s Garage – 2014

 

Review HERE

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Migloo’s Day – 2015

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stanley the builder

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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Peachtree Publishing Book Blog Tour

Stanley the Builder

Monday 9/1

Green Bean Teen Queen

Tuesday 9/2

Jean Little Library

Geo Librarian

Kid Lit Reviews

Wednesday 9/3

Chat with Vera

Thursday 9/4

Kiss the Book

Blue Owl

Friday 9/5

The Fourth Musketeer


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book, Series Tagged: builds a house, bulldozer-cement mixer-crane-digger, children's book reviews, Peachtree PUblishing, picture book, Stanley series by William Bee, William Bee, young children

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18. #649 – Bonjour Camille by Felipe Cano & Laia Aguilar

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Bonjour Camille

Written by Felipe Cano
Illustrated by Laia Aguilar
Chronicle Books              8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2407-0
Age 3+           32 pages
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“It’s a Sunday morning, and Camille—adorned in a tutu and a top hat—has so many things to do! There is jumping on the bed (of course), choosing a new favorite color, drawing thousands of faces on thousands of balloons, hiding all of the umbrellas, seeking out the unexpected on a map, and more in delightful surprises, all experienced through the eyes of an inspired child.”

Opening

“On Sunday mornings, as soon as the sun comes up, Camille opens her eyes and . . . “

Review

Camille wakes and puts on a tutu and a top hat. This is her battledress. She has many things to do on this Sunday, beginning with jumping on the bed until . . .

“THAT’S ENOUGH!”

That was Camille’s mother. Camille has many things planned for her day. She plans on,

Bonjour Camille_Int_2

“Giving names to all the waves.”

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“Asking the wind in a whisper voice to tell her a story.”

There are so many things Camille has to do on a Sunday. She most definitely must get an ice cream cone and then let it melt away in her hand. Depending upon the height of your viewpoint, Camille’s plans are either delightful ideas or odd and impossible. As Camille continues making her plans, giving balloons’ faces and yelling at winter until . . . a voice penetrates her thoughts,

“STOP that jumping!”

Camille is a typical young girl, bored on a winter Sunday, trying to find fun things to do inside the house. While she conjures up her plans, Camille continues jumping despite her mother sternly saying it was enough (but she did not say exactly enough of what). Camille, deep in her thoughts, may not have heard.

I love Camille’s spirit and I adore her whimsical imagination. Though many little girls have had ice cream melt on their hand and drawn faces on a balloon, Camille plans these activities and then allows the ice cream to melt, and draws faces on thousands of balloons. Camille has an indomitable spirit.

The illustrations look drawn with Camille’s own hand. The images are simple, yet fun. Originally released in Spain, Bonjour Camille is different from most picture books from Chronicle. Other than its small 6 x 8 size, the colors are not as bright and bold as most picture books. None of this takes away from book’s charm. Bonjour Camille is the perfect gift for a spunky little girl or the parents of an adorable baby girl.

BONJOUR CAMILLE. Text copyright © 2011by Felipe Cano. Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Laia Aguilar. Reproduced by permission of Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.

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Purchase Bonjour Camille at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

Learn more about Bonjour Camille HERE

Meet the author, Felipe Cano, at his website:

Meet the illustrator, Laia Aguilar, at her LinkedIn:    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laia-aguilar/1a/493/bb0

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

First published in 2011 by BOBO CHOSES.

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bonjour camille

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Bonjour Camille, children's book reviews, Chronicle Books, Felipe Cano, imagination, indomitable, Laia Aguilar, little girl dreams, picture books, translated from Spanish, whimsical

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19. #650 – The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey by Gregory E. Bray & Holly J. Bray-Cook

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The “Tail” of a Boy Named Harvey

Written by Gregory E. Bray
Illustrated by Holly J. Bray-Cook
Published by Gregory E. Bray         6/01/2013
978-1-488271465-4
Age 4 to 8              32 pages
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“Harvey is always playing with his pets, but his pets don’t like the way he plays with them. When the tables have turned, will he enjoy the way he’s played with?”

Opening

“Harvey was an energetic boy. He loved playing sports.”

The Story

Harvey is a typical five-year-old. He is rambunctious, energetic, imaginative, and self-centered. Harvey loves playing with his pets: a dog and a cat (names not given). Being a young boy, he does not think of either pet’s feelings or consider how they might like to play. The pets are like large dolls that breathe. Harvey puts clothes on them, uses the cat as a basketball, and dresses both up in military garb when he wants to play army—sending the cat up into the air so it may return in a parachute. To say Harvey plays rough with his companions is a mild way of describing his actions. Harvey plays like a little boy plays, with energy and enthusiasm.

The poor dog and cat are not happy and try to avoid Harvey at all costs. His parents cannot figure out why the pets react so adversely to their son, until the day mom catches Harvey ready to catch his parachuting kitty.

“She sent him to his room after dinner and he was only allowed to come out for school and meals.”

Harvey’s response to his punishment further shows he has no idea what he did to get into so much trouble.

“Stupid pets!”  [Harvey said, while lying in bed.]

Review

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I really like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Subconsciously, Harvey understood what he did was wrong. In his dream, he is the “pet” and the pets “own” him. The pets play with Harvey exactly as he played with them—thrown up in the air, dressed up, and abruptly awakened. Harvey hates this “playing.” The army games the pets play with Harvey terrify him enough to jolt him awake. Mom tells him it is only a dream, but Harvey has other thoughts on his mind,

“I’m sorry guys. I didn’t know how bad I treated you. I promise to play nice with you for now on!”

I like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey because animal abuse starts with that first inappropriate action. While most kids do not continue on abusing animals—and later extend the abuse to humans—the sooner they learn to respect their pets, the faster they will learn to respect other people and themselves. Harvey’s self-centeredness, typical for his age, opened up a notch with his revelation. I love that Harvey came to this realization mainly by himself, though he would have gotten there much slower had mom not punished him. This is a perfect example of how kids learn. The author’s inspiration for the book came in part from his son Liam and their cat Harvey. The author got it right.

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Now, what I do not like about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. I am not a fan of the 8 x 8 format mainly because little hands need the stronger pages of a traditional picture book format. A couple of pages came loose from the binding in my copy. The main problem with the story is the lack of action. The narrator tells us 90 percent or more of what is happening instead of letting the characters do this. The story would be more engaging had this happened. The reader would also be able to add to the story by adopting character voices and further charm their child. Please remember the key maxim: Show not Tell.

The illustrations are good, not traditional looking picture book illustrations, but nicely done. The pets are great at showing their dislike through facial expressions, though my cat would have simply hissed or bit, then run away. When the pets do run away, their fast retreat is nicely illustrated. The illustrator made sure we understood Harvey’s point of view drastically changes when he becomes the pet. The dog and cat (wish they had names) are adorable. Nice job with the little details I love so much.

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I think kids will like The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey. Young kids will appreciate the story and laugh at Harvey’s predicament. Those with pets will quickly learn from Harvey and that is a great thing to happen. Classrooms with a pet would do well to read this story, as would any child soon to get their first pet. The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey is the author’s, and the illustrator’s, first children’s book. They both did a nice job bringing the story of Harvey (the cat or the boy, I am no longer sure which) to life.

THE TAIL OF A BOY NAMED HARVEY. Text copyright © 2013 by Gregory E. Bray. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Holly J. Bray-Cook. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Gregory E. Bray, Sacramento, CA.

For a young lad’s critique, click HERE

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Purchase The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey at Amazon—B&N—CreateSpace—Gregory Bray—your favorite bookstore.

Learn more about The Tail of a Boy Named Harvey HERE

Meet the author, Gregory E. Bray, at his blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Meet the illustrator, Holly J. Bray-Cook, at her website:

Gregory E. Bray published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

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tail of a boy named harvey

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews

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A Little about Gregory E. Bray

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“Gregory E Bray (1967-present) was born and raised in Sacramento, CA where he still resides He was a film major in college who now works in the IT industry. He has written scripts for corporate videos and shorts and uses humor in everything he writes. He uses his humor in this, his first children’s book, to help get the books message out to children. His inspiration for writing this children’s book comes from his wife Lita, their son Liam and their cat Harvey.”

How to Find Gregory E. Bray

Website:

Blog:   http://gregoryebrayauthor.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/gregoryebray

Goodreads Author Page:   https://www.goodreads.com/geb1967

Amazon Author’s Page:    amazon.com/author/gregorybray


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Debut Illustrator, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: be kind to pets, cats, children's book reviews, dogs, Gregory E. Bray, Holly J. Bray-Cook, imagination, pets, picture books, relationships, respect

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20. #653 – Woodland LItter Critters ABC by Patience and Robert Mason

HAPPY GRANDPARENTS DAY!

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Woodland Litter Critters ABC

Written by Patience Mason
Illustrated by Robert Mason
Patience Press 6/01/2014
978-1-892220-10-3
Age 2 to 5 32 pages
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“The Litter Critters were all found hiding by Patience Mason. As they gather to watch the sunset at the shady river the Litter critters introduce young children to the alphabet.”

Opening

“Near the shady river at the end of the day, Andy Acorncap ambled along.”

The Story

Here is how it happens: Clarice the Caterpillar is long and sleek and singing a song as she watches the sun set. Greta the Giant Gnat buzzes as Luisa and Leif Liveoak, with their long legs and huge feet, dance and put on a show. I doubt anyone is looking at the Nut Family, the bunch of show-offs. Certainly not Rupert the Reindeer, he is too shy to look at anyone. Sarah Sweetgumball, who only wants to fly, keeps both her eyes upon one-eyed Tilly Thistlebottom instead of the setting sun. Tilly likes to bounce around the ground.

Wallie the Walking stick towers over the Volt Vines’ family, whose ties are a tangled mess. Blue, one-eyed Xat and his master Xerxes the Xenos are the only foreigners, having flow in from the stars or maybe even Mars. Finally, everyone gathers around Zippy the Zygodactyl to watch the sun make its final descent and disappear. And that is how it happens most every evening.

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Review

As the day slowly winds down, various woodland creatures—litter critters—watch the sun set. From Andy Acorncap to Zippy the Zygodactyl, various critters from A to Z teach young children their ABC’s and a little about creativity. The author created each of these critters from various pieces of the woods that fall upon the ground, hence “litter” critters. Each is remarkably lifelike in appearance.

These critters are cute with their twig arms and legs, acorn bodies, and various decorations. Most of us walk over these cast-off pieces, never thinking at all about the possibility these could be critters. Patience Mason doesn’t think this way. Instead of stepping on the twigs and nuts, leaves and scattered seeds, she sees hiding woodland critters waiting for her to pick them up and give them life once more. These critters look real. Patience has done a remarkable job putting each together with imagination and creativity. Any child could do the same, though not at her level of artistry. Yet, with a little help, kids could create all sorts of litter critters never before seen. There is no artificial coloring added to any critter. Critters like Mike Magnoliacone and Greta the Giant Gnat, get their color naturally—Mike from magnolia cone seeds; Greta from sparkleberry leaves.

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An unusual feature in Woodland Litter Critters ABC, aside from all the critters, is the ABC’s are not only in upper case, as in every other ABC book, but also in lower case. Children can walk into their first day of school knowing both and be ahead of the class.

I think kids will enjoy looking at each critter, trying to find them in subsequent pages, and possibly making their own. In fact, I cannot imagine any child who reads Woodland Litter Critters ABC not wanting to make its own critters. For families that have a creative day, this is an ideal book. The possibilities are endless. While this is not a craft book, there are certainly many ideas represented for kids to follow or mix up. Woodland Litter Critters ABC is the most imaginative and creative ABC book I have ever seen. The pages are not thick as in most ABC books, but torn pages are worth the risk to introduce your child to the likes of Ulysses Unicorn and Elvis Evergreen (with wife Elvira).

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WOODLAND LITTER CRITTERS ABC. Text copyright © 2014 by Patience Mason. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Robert Mason. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Patience Press, High Springs, FL.

Purchase Woodland Litter Critters ABC at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryPatience Press—your favorite bookstore.

See the individual creatures of Woodland Litter Critters ABC HERE
Meet the author, Patience Mason, at her website:   http://patiencepress.com/patience_press/Welcome.html
Meet the illustrator, Robert Mason, at his website:   http://www.robertcmason.com/
Find other books at the Patience Press website:   http://patiencepress.com/

Also by Patience Mason

Recovering from the War

Recovering from the War

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Robert Mason

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Chickenhawk Back in the World

Solo

Solo

Weapon

Weapon

 

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woodland litter critter ABC

Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: ABC's, children's book reviews, creativity, outdoors, Patience Mason, Patience Press, picture book, Robert Mason, woods

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21. #657 – Jump! by Julia Dweck & Brian Allen

Jump-Cover-Square-600x600x
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Jump!

Written by Julia Dweck
Illustrated by Brian Allen
Sleepy Sheep Productions           9/01/2014
Age 3 to 6                24 pages
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“What’s a Jack-in-the-box without his home? Poor Jack has never jumped out of anything before, but his worn out box. Can Barker, the neighborhood dog, prove to Jack that there are many more exciting jumps outside in the great, big world?”

Opening

“Jack’s little heart began to thump,
As he prepared to take a jump.
He swung around and then he flexed.
His thousandth jump was coming next.

“Then tightening his coils, he sank,
And listened to the music crank.
He sprung out free, no longer trapped.
His rusty spring broke loose and SNAPPED!”

The Story

Cue music, wait . . . wait . . . wait . . . JUMP!

There goes Jack, from jack-in-the-box fame, making his thousandth jump, give or take a few. He‘s flying high. He’s flying a little too high. Oh, my Jack is flying higher than he has ever or should ever fly. He lands with a thump and realizes he jumped clear out of his box, and the box—his home—is gone!

Jack takes off looking for his home. Down the hallway he jumps over all sorts of toys—hula-hoop, little green army guys, jacks (of the spiked kind) and balls of assorted sizes. He rounds the corner and instead of his home, he runs into a big nose dog. Jack grabs a bubble gum wrapper to protect himself, but Badger is not interested in hurting Jack. Badger wants Jack to go outside with him and see all the ways he can jump.

Together, Badger and Jack jump into a twisting jump rope, hop on a trampoline and reach the sky, and then jump off a cliff into a waterfall, bungee jump off a bridge, and ride a jumping horse. Best of all, Badger and Jack jump into a 7-layer chocolate cake. They fall to the bottom and must wait for the birthday girl to set them free. Still, Jack has not found his home. Will he ever figure out where it landed?

Review

Jack is a highflying jack-in-the-box. The illustrations fill each spread from edge to edge with brightly illustrated scenes of Badger and Jack jumping high from the most unusual places (for a dog and a toy). They turn upside down, flip one way then the other, and wear equipment for some of their jumps. Badger is a cute small dog, perfect for Jack. Young children will adore both characters.

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I like the idea of the scene in which Jack grabs the bubble gum wrapper as a shield against a canine attack. The scene is funny. Everyone knows a bubblegum wrapper will not provide protection from an oncoming dog attack. Everyone but Jack, that is. Looking at this illustration, the garbage can does not look like it is on its side. It looks like another wall, or a door, with its flat, unadorned presentation against the flat detail-less wall.

Badger has the biggest, most adorable eyes, set in a face every child and parent will love. Jack conveys much emotion on his tiny face. He is dressed like a medieval joker. As a jack-in-the-box toy, Jack would please any child with his brightly colored hat and clothing. His jumping skills will definitely be the hit of the house should he ever put them on display.

Jack must literally think “out of the box” after losing his box/home. How is he going to jump, and enjoy jumping, without a box to hide in and then jump out of on cue? Badger has the answer and is eager to show Jack how to jump. Badger looks like a puppy and puppies must play. Is that why Badger buried Jack’s box/home? When Jack and Badger return home Badger gives Jack his other half. Jack jumps over and around it but refuses to jump in it. He wants to keep jumping with Badger. With a high five (no fist bump for these two—refreshing), Badger and Jack seal their friendship.

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I like Jump. It follows the prolific Julia Dweck formula: a good story told well with interesting, brightly colored illustrations. She has not gone wrong yet with this formula and has produced one more hit. Young children will love Jump’s story and illustrations. It has loads of humor, wonderful rhyming, and unusual messages for kids so young: think out of the box, expand your horizons, and seeking out friends that are different than you can be rewarding. Jump’s messages are perfect for parents, too, making Jump a truly exceptional story.

JUMP! Text copyright © 2014 by Julia Dweck. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Brain Allen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Purchase Jump! at Amazon—Sleepy Sheep Productions.
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Learn more about Jump! HERE
**Also includes word games and definitions used in writing stories. There is also an invitation to writer your own Jump! story, and then send your story to Ms. Dweck. See the guidelines at the end of the story.
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Meet the author, Julia Dweck, at her facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/juliadweckbooks
Meet the illustrator, Brian Allen, at his website: http://www.flylanddesigns.com
Find more picture books at the Sleepy Sheep Productions website:  http://sleepysheeppro.com/
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Also by Julia Dweck in 2014

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Zombie-Kids Go Green

Eville, USA

Eville, USA

Beewitched

Beewitched

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

Brianna the Ballet Fairy

 

 

 

 

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Also by Brian Allen

Great Things To Be

Great Things To Be

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

The Old Man Who Lived in a Shoe

I Can, I Will

I Can, I Will

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jump
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Digital Book, Picture Book Tagged: Brian Allen, children's book reviews, Fly Land Designs, jack-in-the-box, Julia Dweck, jumping, kindle .mobi, picture book, puppy, Sleepy Sheep Productions

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22. #659 – Fat and Bones and other stories by Larissa Theule & Adam S. Doyle

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Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Written by Larissa Theule
Illustrations by Adam S. Doyle
Carolrhoda Books            10/01/2014
978-1-4677-0825
Age 8 to 12           104 pages
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“Welcome to Bald’s Farm. Well, perhaps it’s not Bald’s Farm anymore. The old man has kicked the bucket, setting off a wave of conflict from the muddy pig pen to the tall wheat fields. In this darkly funny, slightly supernatural chain of tales, no creature is safe. Not Leonard Grey, a spider with sophisticated tastes. Not Esmeralda, a resentful one-footed pig. Not Tulip, a plant with a mean streak. And as for Bones, the old man’s son, and Fat, his winged rival? They’ll learn that danger lurks in the strangest of places . . .”

Opening

“Fat stood on the topmost branch of the tree, gazing in the direction of the farmhouse.”

The Story

Bones is the son of his father, the farm owner, who has most recently passed away. Fat is the former farmer’s fairy. They hate each other with a passion usually reserved for love. Now that Bone’s father has died, Bones will run the farm and his first priority: get rid of excess Fat.

In the span of one day, Bones tries to take out Fat, who tries to take out Bones. The pigs must move around on less and less feet to supply Bones with his favorite meal of pig foot stew. Pa may be dead, but Bones is still hungry. Ma, who is crying herself blind ventures out to the pigpen to grab a foot. Which one does she get?

Leonard’s family thinks he is the strangest spider that has ever spun a web. He cannot sneak and lives alone. He reads poetry while drinking herbal tea. Down below, Fat is making a new potion and needs the fresh blood of a spider. Leonard picks this moment to prove he can sneak. He cannot.

The Dead Man Song is for Priscilla Mae, the escaped spider for which Leonard has found love. She sees a group of animals honoring the dead farmer’s passing. Jimmy’s in Love pits mouse against mouse for the love of a mouse across the kitchen floor. Cat lurks on the floor, waiting for a wandering mouse. Sometimes he greets the mouse.

“Good afternoon, mousie-pie.”

Sometimes he pounces. Occasionally, that tricky cat does both. A mouse just never knows. Jimmy decides to take a chance but the floor is full of water—salty, tear stained water. Daisy and Tulip are the best of friends, sharing a puddle. All is well, until little sprouts move in and choke the water supply. Daisy and Tulip argue over how to get the sprouts to leave. The differences could mean the end of Tulip or Daisy.

Finally, Dog Alfred visits his Ma. Ma wants Alfred to go home. Alfred is sneezing. He has a cold. Alfred is upset, (and sets up Ma to speak a line of funny I love)

“Ma,” he said, [pleading voice] “I came all this way. I can’t go home now.”
“You live next door,” she said.

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories

Review

Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is a fast read with only 104 pages. On those 104 pages, every word counts thanks to wonderful writing and editing. Each story has something to teach kids. In Leonard Grey III, Leonard learns it is okay to be yourself and love is better than alone. Fat feels morally obligated to care for his neighbors, even when he is the one who injured said neighbor. Be nice to others; get to know your neighbors; be responsible for each other. Esmeralda must decide which is more important, her jealousy and “revenge” or the good of the group. Fat and Bones is philosophy 101 for the middle grades.

I am not a fan of the cover. The moon grinning as it does is eerie, but that is the intent. The illustrations use dark tones of green, grey, and black. The image is often part of the shadow or obscured by it. I am sorry to say, I am not a fan of these illustrations. I love the individual stories. I enjoyed the way one story depends on the other. What happens in one story—or does not happen—affects another story, which affects another, and so on, yet none may be the wiser. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories play this out for kids in a way they can understand.

Humor plays a big part, easing what are actually dark themes of death, jealousy, war, and dejection into an enjoyable, funny story, odd as that may sound. Some kids may not like the darker, philosophical themes, while others will love them. I think the older the child, the more they will enjoy Fat and Bones.

These Seven stories, all intertwined, are a great read. Each story has a unique mix of characters from the Bald Farm. Each has their own plot, conflict, and resolution, yet the stories build on each other, need each other to live. There are many things kids can learn from these stories while reading a funny, heart-felt whole divided into parts that seem to stand on their own—because they do. Older kids will enjoy this book. Adults will enjoy this book. Fat & Bones: And Other Stories is the author’s debut.

FAT AND BONES AND OTHER STORIES. Test copyright © 2014 by Larissa Theule. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Adam S. Doyle. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Carolrhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.
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Purchase Fat and Bones at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryLerner Booksyour favorite bookstore.
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Learn more about Fat & Bones: And Other Stories HERE
Meet the author, Larissa Theule, at her twitter page:    https://twitter.com/larissatheule
Meet the illustrator, Adam S. Doyle, at his website:    http://adamsdoyle.com
Find other middle grade novels at the Carolrhoda Books blog:   http://www.carolrhoda.blogspot.com/

Carolrhoda Books is a division of Lerner Publishing Group.

fat and bones
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Debut Author, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Adam S. Doyle, Charolrhoda Books, children's book reviews, Debut Book, fairies, farm life, feuds, Larissa Theule, Lerner Publishing Group, middle grade novel, pig foot stew

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23. #660 – In This Book by Fani Marceau & Joёlle Jolivet

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In This Book

Written by Fani Marceau
Illustrations by Joёlle Jolivet
Chronicle Books                8/01/2014
978-1-4521-2588-6
Age 3 to 5            94 pages
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“I am in the poppy, said the bee. I am in the nest, said the bird. I am in space, said the planet . . . And there is beauty all around us!

“From bestselling author and illustrator duo Fani Marceau and Joёlle Jolivet comes an art-immersive experience featuring early concepts and themes for infants, toddlers, and anyone delighted by the wonders of everyday life. Inspired by linocut art techniques, the illustrations offer windows onto ordinary objects and experiences. Open the book, delve into the details, and discover animals, people, and surprises large and small gracing each oversized page in this whimsical book that makes the perfect springboard for storytelling, learning, and dreaming.”

Opening

“I am in the poppy, said the bee.”

In This Book_Int_Barette and Nest

Review

At first glance, one would think In This Book about finding the bee in the poppy or the bird in the nest. The objects that are in things are not hard to find. This is not another Where’s Waldo type of art book for children. Far from it. In This Book brings a certain amount of sophistication to the picture book genre for very young children. A total of 52 images fill the pages. A few run the full spread but most just the single page. All begin with the phrase,

“I am in the [blank], said the [object in the blank].”

Repetition is good for this age group, yet reading this first-person phrase over and over and over becomes tiresome. Young children should have no trouble finding the object on each page and will enjoy their success. The biggest problem with the text is a lack of story. The languid phrase “I am in the . . . “is the only connection between each page, each object. Interestingly, the final spread is that of a child asleep in the lap of a sleeping adult. Wonderfully, the adult is dad, who does not get his share of representation in picture books. The child is holding a book—In This Book—and I wonder if the phrasing put them to sleep or if it was simply that time of day.

In This Book_Int_Box and Boat

The illustrations are an art technique called a linocut. For those, like myself, who need an explanation of a linocut, there is a wonderful visual explanation of the art from HERE. Once the illustration is drawn onto a piece of art-grade linoleum, and the artist carves out their image, the result is used somewhat like a stamp to make the prints that became this book. The carved linoleum must be a reverse-cut of the image, meaning any part of the image remaining white is carved out of the linoleum. The areas inked remain untouched. This is a rather simplest explanation. For those who want a better, visual “mini-lesson” in the art of linocut printing, please click HERE. (This is the same link as the above link.)

I think the fun In This Book comes from the stories a reader can make up about each object. Why did the monkey sit in the tree? Why is there only one person on the multi-car train? This spread of the train is a wonder shade of purple in a backdrop of green and purple. It looks to be a super train or a bullet train. Where might it be doing? The number of questions and stories imaginable are endless for each object. Those question, or simply talking about the illustrations, can further stimulate each child’s imagination and sense of wonder. For every reading, the stories can change, making In This Book a never-ending adventure.

In This Book_Int_Arms

IN THIS BOOK. Text copyright © 2012 by Fani Marceau. Illustrations © 2012 by Joёlle Jolivet. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA.
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Purchase a copy of In This Book at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryChronicle Booksyour favorite bookstore.

In This Book, originally published in France, in 2012 by hélium, is entitled, Dans le livre.

Learn more about In This Book HERE.
Meet the author, Fani Marceau, at her website:
Meet the illustrator, Joёlle Jolivet, at her website:
Find additional picture books at the Chronicle Books’ website:   http://www.chroniclekids.com/
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Also by Fani Marceau

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

My Big Book of Colours

My Big Book of Colours

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also by Joёlle Jolivet

Panorama: A Foldout Book

Panorama: A Foldout Book

365 Penguins

365 Penguins

Rapido's Next Stop

Rapido’s Next Stop

Oops!

Oops!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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in this book
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books, NonFiction, Picture Book Tagged: children's book reviews, children's picture book reviews, Chronicle Books, Dans le livre, Fani Marceau, hélium, In This Book, Joёlle Jolivet, linocut, picture books

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24. #662 – Hatch, Little Egg by Édouard Manceau

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Hatch, Little Egg

Written & Illustrated by Édouard Manceau
Owlkids Books 9/15/2014
978-1-77147-077-3
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
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“The little bird is hatching! The little bird is hatching!

“Animals gather. Cameras Flash. The excitement builds. Is it happening? How much longer? Will the little bird live up to the crowd’s expectations? Get ready to find out! One . . . two . . . three . . . “

Opening

A reindeer, with a camera slung over his shoulder, rides his motorcycle. Where is he going? I have no idea. “Hey, Jack! Are you going to see the little bird hatch?”

Review

A flat tire has Jack stopped on the side of the road. Reindeer gives Jack a lift. As they travel, the road becomes congested with cars, bikes, and campers. Everyone is excited. Little bird will be hatching soon. With cameras in hand, the visitors walk toward the egg. Even a few bees have flown in for the occasion. I was hoping a couple of the bees would have a teeny-tiny camera. Actually, all the cameras are real, not an iPhone in sight. At the egg, a mouse raises her purse. She wears a black almost square hat and appears to be in charge of the gathering, or maybe she was just the first to arrive. The light-orange egg waits, sitting upright, unaware of the happenings around it.

“Ooooh! Here we go!”
“Hatch little egg!”
“Get ready! One, two, three . . . “

The egg cracks. The crowd’s excitement grows. Eyes widen in anticipation. The top of the egg pops off and the little bird is free. No one takes a picture. No one smiles. Everyone looks surprised, yet no one looks happy. Only the mouse has her arms stretch out as if to say, “Tada!” Someone else says,

“What on earth”

Everyone looks confused. Still, not one flash fills the area around the egg and it’s former tenant. He waves. Asks why no one wants to take his picture. No one moves. The mouse looks angry. One by one, the crowd disperses. They are disappointed, denied the show they came to see. The egg’s occupant is completely free and stands smiling as the crowds go home.  Why, what just happened? Something is wrong, or at least not right.

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The illustrations in Hatch, Little Bird are wonderful. They are very similar to The Race (reviewed here). Bright eyes fill every car and bike. The enthusiasm is palatable. The happy crowd contains the reindeer, Jack (owl), birds, bears, and bees, the mouse, and at least one rhino. Really, it’s a zoo. Kids will love these animals and will understand both, what they came to see and why they leave disappointed.

The humorous twist is totally unexpected. Actually, I had no idea why this egg hatching was so important, at least to the crowd. There will be kids who will want to know how what came out of the egg, got into the egg. It’s a very good question. Slowly, turn the page. Pretty funny, I thought. Kids will think it is funny, too. They may not get the crowd-mentality, or even care, but they will get the twist, or the joke, if you will.

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Kids will like Hatch, Little Bird and be able read it themselves after hearing the story once. They can go off and make up story after story about why they came, and what happened the day the egg hatched. Imaginations free to go wild or mild. This is one reason I like Mr. Manceau’s work. The other reason is the strange creatures he draws. Positioned against a white background, the creatures seem to pop off the page. Hatch, Little Bird is a goofy story with endless possibilities for your child’s imagination. A book they can read by themselves. Hatch, Little Bird, a French import, is a delightful picture book for young children. The multiple layers will tickle adults.

HATCH, LITTLE EGG. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 Éditions Milan. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.
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Purchase Hatch, Little Bird at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryOwlkids Booksyour favorite local bookstore.
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Learn more about Hatch, Little Bird HERE
Meet the author/illustrator, Édouard Manceau, at his website:    http://edouardmanceau.blogspot.com/
Find more pictures books that delight at the Owlkids Books website:    http://www.owlkids.com/

Translated by Karen Li

Éditions Milan originally published Hatch, Little Bird in 2013, in France.
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Also by Édouard Manceau

Clic Clac

Clic Clac

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

Presto Change-O: A Book of Animal Magic

My Little Library

My Little Library

The Race

The Race

 

 

Reviewed HERE
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 LOOK!  coming in 2015

LOOK! coming in 2015

 

 

 

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hatch little egg
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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Children's Books, Favorites, Library Donated Books, Picture Book Tagged: Éditions Milan, Édouard Manceau, children's book reviews, egg hatching, Hatch, Karen Li, Little Egg, Owlkids Books, picture book, young children

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25. #663 – OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! by Talia Aikens-Nuñez

 

OMG…Am I A Witch?!

Talia Aikens-Nuñez, author
Alicja Ignaczak, illustrator
Central Avenue Publishing/Pinwheel Books          8/06/2014
978-1-77168-025-7
148 pages      Age 7+
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“April Appleton is s annoyed at her older brother that she searches the Internet for a spell to turn him into a dog. When it works, April realizes she has more power than she ever dreamed of! Now she has to figure out how to turn him back to normal before her parents find out.”

About the Story

April turns her older brother Austin into a little soft, poofy dog when he harasses her on the school bus. Yep, she is wearing huge red glasses and braces, but that does not give Austin the right to tease her. Now realizing she cannot keep Austin cute and cuddly forever—lest mom and dad will be unhappy—April tries in vain to turn Austin back into an annoying brother.

Things do not go well for April, who is getting better at opening and closing doors at will, but could not get the reversing spell to work. With the help of help best friend Grace and new friend Eve (her grand-mere is a witch doctor), April must perform some nasty tasks before the undo-spell might work. The Old Magic Book’s paper-thin pages are so dusty, reading might be difficult—and it is in French!

Review

First, I am not a fan of texting “terms” used in a story, and most definitely not in the title. I also do not like the double sign (?!), and because of this, think the title needs polished. The back cover preview (above), contains a sentence ending in a proposition. A few more are in the story. The expertly drawn black and white line drawings, at the onset of each chapter, help mark each new beginning, but do not add anything to the story.

omg1a

With that out of the way, OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a cute story with energized dialogue. Read in one sitting, I found the story entertaining and it held my attention throughout. Most of April’s magic occurs as she thinks of what she would like, such as thinking her doggy-brother looks white and billowy as the clouds above, then he begins floating upward. April does a lot of thinking and worrying. The humor is light, which suits the urgency of the story.

“Austin is fluffy like those clouds. Ha ha. I could just imagine him floating off like a cloud . . . I just made him float. He floated like a cloud in my daydream. I am a witch. Wow. I am . . . a . . . witch.”

Girls will especially love the main character and her female sidekicks. OMG . . . Am I a Witch is a short 148 pages that can be read one chapter at a time or entirely in one sitting, making this a good story for younger middle grade kids. I believe this is Ms. Aikens-Nuñez’s first MG book. She has written a fine first foray into writing for the late elementary and middle grades. I would love to find out how April uses her newfound magic and how her friends will influence her choices. I loved all the characters.  I think OMG . . . Am I a Witch would make a fine series, especially if April ages along the way.

OMG . . . AM I A WITCH?! Text copyright © 2014 by Talia Aikens-Nuñez. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Alicja Ignaczak. Published by Central Avenue Publishing, British Columbia, CAN and Point Roberts, WA.
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Purchase OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! at Amazon B&NBook DepositoryiTunesPublisher’s Website.
Find out more about OMG . . . Am I a Witch?! HERE.
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Meet the author, Talia Aikens-Nuñez, at her website:  http://talia-aikens-nunez.vpweb.com/
Meet the illustrator, Alicja Ignaczak, at her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/alicja.ignaczak.102
Learn more about the publisher, Central Avenue Publishing, at their website: centralavenuepublishing.com
Learn more about Pinwheel Books: http://pinwheelbooks.com/

Interview with Talia Aikens-Nuñez: HERE
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


Filed under: 4stars, Chapter Book, Library Donated Books, Middle Grade Tagged: Alicja Ignaczak, Central Avenue Publishing, chapter books, fantasy, magic, Pinwheel Books, Talia Aikens-Nuñez

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