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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Middle Grade Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 182
1. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | December 2014

This month, Secrets of a Christmas Box, a fantasy novel where the Christmas Tree ornaments come to life once the family go to bed, is The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book.

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2. Find some Fantastic MG Authors and their Books during this Massive Holiday Giveaway...

Holiday Giveaway Kindle Fire Kids Edition 2014 - button

About the Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition 7" Tablet

Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet
I was pretty excited to see this pretty cool new product available through Amazon. This is a HOT PRODUCT! The all-new Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet also comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited (which means kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost!). It includes a quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio PLUS comes with a Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee - if they break it, return it and Amazon replaces it for free. No questions asked! Um... can you say Christmas present?   

Fabulous Sponsors (Bloggers)

Thank you to the following bloggers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Please consider visiting at least one or two and thanking them personally.

Fabulous Sponsors (Authors and Publishers)

A big thank you to all of the participating authors and publishers who are sponsoring this giveaway. Below you will find their fabulous books broken down by category. Please note that these categories are not mutually exclusive. For example, some of the middle grade books featuring dogs also feature a great adventure or some great tween books also have a hint of magical realism.

* PLEASE READ *

Under each category you will see a button to "Add to Amazon Wish List" and "Add to Goodreads". If you click on these buttons, you will be directed to a Listmania list or one of my bookshelves where you can add each book to either your wish list (Amazon) or want-to-read shelf (Goodreads). Doing this will earn you entries in the giveaway below. 

AMAZON: Hint...if you scroll to the bottom of the list on Amazon, you will see a button "Add All Items to Your Wish List". One click is all it takes! 

GOODREADS: If you do not see the column entitled "my rating", click on "settings" and make sure that the "shelves" box is checked. This will make it super-easy to add the books to your "to-read" shelf. 

Please consider purchasing one, two or more books that interest you as a "Thank You" to these generous sponsors. Some books are free, others only 99 cents!   

★★★★★★★

Picture Books for the Holidays

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  Santa's Birthday GiftLobo's Howliday by C.L. MurphyThe Christmas Owl by Angela MuseFrizzy the S.A.D. Elf by Dorothea Jensen        


★★★★★★★

Rhyming Picture Books

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   When Violet Was Blue by Deb TroehlerThe Magic WordPlay yayPeter and the Whimper Whineys -coverGimme Jimmy        


★★★★★★★

Award Winning Picture Books

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  My Fingerpaint Masterpiece - coverABC Adoption and MeGood-bye Baby Max by Diane CantrellCaptain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis 0 Comments on Find some Fantastic MG Authors and their Books during this Massive Holiday Giveaway... as of 11/17/2014 6:51:00 AM
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3. Win a Kindle with 50 Books!

Back in September, I was lucky enough to join the Emblazoners, a group of middle grade authors–some indie, some traditionally published–who strive to produce top-notch literature for kids. We have a shared goal of creating lifelong readers and all our books are geared toward tweens. Wouldn’t you know it, we’re already hosting a giveaway, and […]

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4. In My TBR Pile: My Friend Merlin by Joanne Lécuyer

merlin

There is a great legend that has been passed down through generations about two young boys who would change history. One was destined to become a great king. The other was a druid, and his guide, mentor and friend. This is the tale of the meeting of Arthur and Merlin and how they changed the fate of magic.

Paperback: 121 pages
Publisher: Topsy Books; 1ST edition (2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927353440
ISBN-13: 978-1927353448

Joanne Lécuyer is a Canadian indie author who loves writing positive fantasy/ fiction books for kids – chapter books for ages 7-10. Her catalogue of books includes: The Witch, the Cat and the Egg (2010), Kaptain Vamp (2011), The Tales of Anex and Bit (2012), La sorcière, le chat et l’oeuf (2012), Kapitaine Vampire (2014), The Witch, the Cat and the Water Dragon (2014) and My Friend Merlin (2014).

Joanne Lécuyer is lives in a small rural community near Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She has a BA in Communications and Visual Arts from the University of Ottawa, a Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Quebec, and a Professional and Personal Coach Certification from Concordia University. She is also a Reiki Master.

 

Purchase here!


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5. Opportunity to Win a New Touch Screen Kindle Preloaded with 50 Tween Lit Books...


Attention teachers, librarians, tweens, and parents of tweens! Announcing a contest just for you... The Emblazon authors are giving away a brand new touch screen Kindle loaded with over 50 of their books. That’s a $300 value and hours of reading entertainment! Emblazon is a collection of authors who seek to create lifelong readers by creating top-notch literature for kids. They have a particular focus on ages 11 to 14. They’re hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate their first year and to treat you, the readers. The Rafflecopter contest runs November 3 through November 17 and is open to anyone who loves tween literature. a Rafflecopter giveaway Note: Signing up for the catalog is required for entry. Current subscribers are also eligible for entry. Winners must reside in the United States or Canada. 



List of Stops on the Blog Tour:

November 3rd:


November 11th:


November 12th:


November 15th:



You can help even more by sharing this post with your friends and family. If you know teachers or librarians let them know about how awesome the Emblazoners are by sharing the link to their website: http://emblazoners.com/

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6. Holiday Adventure Books Blast

This Book Blast is brought to you courtesy of Adventure Quest Books. Answer the hero’s call to adventure and enjoy more tales, legends and myths from the ancient and medieval worlds for MG and YA readers.

Adventure Quest Books - banner

Holiday Adventure Books Collage

 

About the Books

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur by Fiona Ingram

The Search for the Stone of Excalibur - coverTitle: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur (The Chronicles of the Stone, Book 2) | Author: Fiona Ingram | Publication Date: October 6, 2014 | Publisher: The Educational Publisher / Biblio Publishing | Pages: 399 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary: Continuing the adventure that began in Egypt a few months prior in The Secret of the Sacred Scarab, cousins Adam and Justin Sinclair are hot on the trail of the second Stone of Power, one of seven ancient stones lost centuries ago. This stone might be embedded in the hilt of a newly discovered sword that archaeologists believe belonged to King Arthur: Excalibur. However, their long-standing enemy, Dr. Khalid, is following them as they travel to Scotland to investigate an old castle. Little do they know there is another deadly force, the Eaters of Poison, who have their own mission to complete. Can Justin and Adam find the second Stone of Power and survive? And why did Aunt Isabel send a girl with them? And how annoying for them that their tag-along companion, Kim, seems to have such good ideas when they are stumped.

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Max’s Arabian Adventure by Wendy Leighton-Porter

Max's Arabian Adventure by Wendy Leighton-PorterTitle: Max’s Arabian Adventure | Author: Wendy Leighton-Porter | Publication Date: July 16, 2014 | Publisher: Mauve Square Publishing | Pages: 82 | Recommended Ages: 7+

Summary: In this spin-off adventure from the Shadows From The Past series, Max the talking Tonkinese cat goes on a solo mission without his usual time-travelling companions. Snatched from the house where he lives with eleven-year-old twins Joe and Jemima Lancelot, Max is dragged back into the past by an evil magician who has lined him up to perform a special task. Torn away from all he holds dear, the despondent cat fears he may never be able to return to the present and his beloved owner, Jemima. What will become of him? Will he make it back or will he be condemned to remain forever in a distant time and place, far from home?

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Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl Carpinello

Sons of the Sphinx by Cheryl CarpinelloTitle: Sons of the Sphinx | Author: Cheryl Carpinello | Publication Date: October 10, 2014 | Publisher: Independent | Pages: 182 | Recommended Ages: 10+

Summary: Armed with what she considers her grandmother’s curse, 15-year-old Rosa agrees to help the ghost of King Tut find his lost queen Hesena. Though Hesena’s ba inhabits part of Rosa, finding the whole spirit of Hesena so that she and Tut can be together for the first time in over 3300 years proves to be a harder task than Rosa first thinks. Thrust back into Ancient Egypt with Tut, Rosa discovers that finding Hesena is not all she must do. She must keep out of the reach of the living Horemheb—who crosses mortal boundaries using Seth’s evil magic—if she is to stay alive to make it back home.

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About the Authors

Fiona Ingram

Fiona Ingram, Author

I love ancient history, mystery, legends, and travel. Join my young heroes Justin and Adam in an exciting quest as they search for the Seven Stones of Power. Each book is a new adventure, so be part of it!

Website: http://www.fionaingram.com

 

 

Wendy Leighton-Porter

Wendy Leighton-PorterI spent 20 years as a teacher of French, Latin and Classical studies, but now write books for children instead of teaching them. I take young readers on a magical mystery tour through the past and hope that my love of history, myth and legend will rub off on them.

Website: www.wendy-leighton-porter.com

 

Cheryl Carpinello

Cheryl Carpinello AuthorI’m a retired high school English teacher. My hope is to reach reluctant readers with my Arthurian Tales and soon a series of stories from ancient lands and legends that will take readers on adventurous quests throughout history.

Website: http://www.beyondtodayeducator.com

 

 

* $100 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 100 gift card

Prize: One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card or $100 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice

Contest closes: December 9, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open to: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by Fiona Ingram, Cheryl Carpinello, and Wendy Leighton-Porter and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services


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7. Book Spotlight: Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

revenge

Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 8
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599902885
ISBN-13: 978-1599902883

PURCHASE HERE!


0 Comments on Book Spotlight: Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale as of 9/19/2014 2:54:00 AM
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8. Phil Rink Discusses Jimi and Isaac, A Middle Grade Series

Phil Rink is an author, a professional mechanical engineer, an inventor and entrepreneur, a licensed ship’s captain, and a private pilot. He also has run science fairs and coached kids for years in sports (mostly soccer) and for Science Olympiad teams.

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9. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | October 2014

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

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10. The Troubles of Johnny Cannon by Isaiah Campbell Book Review




Book received at no charge to facilitate review

Racial tensions and cold war hysteria fill the town of Cullman, Alabama. It's 1961 and twelve-year-old Johnny Cannon finds himself smack in the middle of the the town's troubles. Johnny's problems go from bad to worse when his older brother goes off on a secret mission, leaving him in charge of his ailing Pa. Johnny befriends the African-American pastor's son, Willie, drawing ire of the Klu Klux Klan and if that is not enough, his father's antics in their backyard shed and his secret radio station bring more unwanted attention from the CIA.

Though Johhny would rather be hunting, he ends up face to face with Fidel Castro and embroiled in  the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Though the story grows increasing more implausible, Johnny's lessons about friendship and the true meaning of family add heart to an already strong character.

Well developed characters and Johnny's original voice make for a fun adventure that will leave the reader with troubles of his own while hiding under the covers with a flashlight after bedtime to discover the fate of his new hero.

Rating: Highly Recommeded ★★★★★

Publishing Information:

Publisher: S&S Books for Young Readers (Oct. 14,2014)
ISBN: 978-1-48140039-8
Pages 
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchased from the following retailers: 


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11. MuseItUp Publishing Celebrates 4 Years with EBook Sale!

muse

 

Congratulations goes out to MuseItUp Publishing. They are currently celebrating their 4 year anniversary. During the month of October, select eBooks are 50 – 80% OFF! Here is a small sampling of the books on sale:

 

BEGGARCHARLIE200X300

Will Beggar Charlie and Hickory Dick be able to return to England after being lost in China? (80% OFF)

BLACKCATS200x300

Gemma Mayfield believes there is witchcraft going on at her middle school…can she unravel the truth about her teacher? (70% OFF)

DarinelDragonhunter_200x300

Friendship or love? To marry his love Princess Tuskja, Prince Darinel has to kill his best friend, Idunal, the dragon. (50% OFF)

Freaky Frank 200x300

It’s going to take a meeting of minds to bring Nasty Nate down. (50% OFF)

Ghostly Clues 200x300

Sarah Kay follows Grandma’s ghostly clues to discover the truth. (70% OFF)

Visit MuseItUp Publishing for further details athttps://museituppublishing.com/ 


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12. Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

teamA girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

PURCHASE AT:

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/k5y1mky

 

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4bev

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories. 

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com


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13. Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough

little author“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.”  This sentence opens Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the first in a series of children’s books that gave middle grade readers a glimpse into the life of America’s pioneer families. And for some–like myself–this would be the start of a lifelong desire to learn more about the real life of Laura, her sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace, and her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

In a style similar to the  Little House books, author Yona Zeldis McDonough has created a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder aimed toward middle grade readers that not only helps point out the fact and the fiction behind Wilder’s classic children’s books, but also celebrates the independent mind of the Quiner and Ingalls women along the way.

McDonough’s book opens not with Wilder, but with a brief prologue discussing the life of Caroline Lake Quiner, who would one day become Caroline Ingalls. This sets the tone for the rest of this biography, as it highlights how Caroline’s mother, Charlotte, believed in higher education for girls; something Ma Ingalls also wanted for her daughters.

Told in chronological order, Little Author in the Big Woods follows Wilder’s life and the journeys she took not only with her family, but later with her husband Almanzo and daughter Rose. It talks about the hardships the Wilders faced as a young married couple and of their leaving De Smet, South Dakota to settle in Mansfield, Missouri. Readers learn about the building of the dream house on Rocky Ridge Farm and Wilder’s early career writing for the Missouri Ruralist, before moving on to the creation of the Little House series. McDonough ends with an epilogue that discusses the longevity of Wilder’s work and Michael Landon’s classic television show, Little House on the Prairie, which is based upon the books. Readers are also treated to quotes from Laura Ingalls Wilder, details on some of the games that Laura played, crafts, and recipes. Also included is a list of other writings by Wilder and a list with some of the other books about her.

While I have to admit I learned little new about Laura Ingalls Wilder as a result, I believe middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know more about her real life and the independent nature of the women in the Quiner, Ingalls, and Wilder families. With a similar writing style and design to the Little House series, readers will feel right at home with this book. Jennifer Thermes did an excellent job in capturing the essence of McDonough’s book and Wilder’s life with her beautiful illustrations. I’m thrilled to add Little Author in the Big Woods to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

 

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080509542X
ISBN-13: 978-0805095425

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


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14. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | November 2014

This month we have some truly intelligent fiction for our middle grade readers that really are must-reads. The Children's Book Review's best selling middle grade book is a regular on the list: Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy, by Matthew Reinhart.

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15. At the Beach

corrie

We’re taking a two week break to rest and relax on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I brought some books with me, as is my usual practice. Only one of them ended up being for the youth market.

Corrie ten Boom and her family are watchmakers in Haarlem, Holland, where they give what little they have to spread God’s love and help others. But everything changes when World War II erupts and Hitler’s army takes over their country. As the Nazis round up Corrie’s Jewish neighbors and send them to deadly concentration camps, she knows that something must be done to stop them. But what can one small family do in the face of such great evil?

Read the amazing true story of Corrie ten Boom, a Torchlighter® hero of the faith, and discover how her obedience to God saved lives and continues to inspire others today.

Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: Christian History Institute (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563648733
ISBN-13: 978-1563648731

My hope is to blog a few times while we’re away, so don’t go far.


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16. Best Selling Middle Grade Books | July 2014

Seriously, there are some VERY good books on this list of best selling middle grade books; including Kevin Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller and Sharon M. Draper's Out of My Mind.

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17. The Torchlighters Biography Series: Corrie ten Boom by Kaylena Radcliff

corrie

From the Christian History Institute comes a biography from their Heroes of the Faith line. Corrie ten Boom and her family are watchmakers in Holland. When World War II erupts, Hitler’s army takes over their country and begins rounding up their Jewish neighbors. Read the story of how one family stood strong in faith against a great evil.

Recommended for ages 8 – 12, this biography shares the life of Corrie ten Boom, her sister, Betsie, and their father who hid Jewish people from the Nazi army during World War II. They would end up arrested, some going to concentration camps, and Corrie struggled to hold onto her faith in such darkness. Her amazing story is shared in this biography that is accompanied by historical photographs, illustrations that match the artwork from the associated DVD, interesting facts about the Netherlands, a timeline and a glossary of terms.

My daughter and I watched the DVD together. In spots, I had some difficulty understanding what the characters were saying, but overall the sound quality is good. Some of the images–though animated–might be disturbing for the youngest viewers; like the scene of the Nazis banging on doors with the butts of their guns and yanking people out onto the streets. Betsie is beaten with a club by a German guard in the camp and an ill-mannered nurse informs Corrie when she comes to see her sister that she is “in there with the other dead bodies.” Female prisoners are seen being carted off in trucks to the gas chambers; but while Corrie looks upon the gas chambers, it is not made apparent to young viewers what is going on there. So there is definitely historical accuracy worked into this production.

This is a moving story that will remind readers/viewers of the power of forgiveness and how leaning on faith can bring you through adversity. I am glad to add this book and DVD to our home library. It would also make a fabulous addition to a church library.

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)dvd

The Torchlighters Biography Series: Corrie ten Boom
Author: Kaylena Radcliff
Paperback: 85 pages
Publisher: Christian History Institute (May 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1563648733
ISBN-13: 978-1563648731
List price: $9.99

DVD

Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, NTSC
Language: English
Region: All Regions
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Vision Video
DVD Release Date: October 25, 2013
Run Time: 34 minutes

I received a copy of this book and DVD from the Christian History Institute. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

 

This post first appeared at the Christian Children’s Authors blog.


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18. My Laura Ingalls Wilder Adventure

little house

 

Perhaps you didn’t know exactly how nerdy I am, but once I tell you what I am doing you will know for sure. I leave Tuesday for a Laura Ingalls Wilder adventure. I am flying to Wisconsin, where I will meet an Ingalls relative and a Wilder relative. We, along with three other Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie (television show) fans, will be spending the following eight days visiting some Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and attending a 40th Anniversary Little House on the Prairie Cast Reunion taking place in Walnut Grove, Minnesota over the weekend.

Told you. Total nerd.

This will be the only time I do something like this. My girls aren’t into my whole obsession, so I knew if I planned this it would have to be just me and my friends. I’m not bringing much technology, so I won’t be blogging or posting pictures online until we get back. I’ll be sharing my adventures when we return at my Laura Ingalls Wilder blog: http://lauralittlehouseontheprairie.blogspot.com/


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19. #640 – Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10) by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

coverx

Jackpot: An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#10)

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

Opening

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

The Story

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

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

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

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_Denver_Museum

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackpot_AldoZelnick_BaconBoy_IndianaJones

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

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

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Purchase Jackpot at AmazonB&NBook DepositoryBailiwick PressYour Favorite Bookstore.

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Learn more about Jackpot HERE.

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

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

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

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Also by Karla Oceanak & Kendra Spanjer

Ignoramus:  An Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel (#9)

Ignoramus #9

Hotdogger  (#8)

Hotdogger (#8)

Read Hotdogger Review HERE.

Read Ignoramus Review HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews


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

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20. New Books!

I treated myself to a new book right before going on vacation. I’ve wanted to read the series for a while, but only bought the first book because I got such a deal on it. I really have too many books here to justify buying more.

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Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer–they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

 

While we were away, this one arrived in the mail. I’ll be reviewing this book for the author.

little author

Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don’t always realize is that Wilder’s books are autobiographical. This narrative biography describes more of the details of the young Laura’s real life as a young pioneer homesteading with her family on many adventurous journeys. This biography, complete with charming illustrations, points out the differences between the fictional series as well as the many similarities. It’s a fascinating story of a much-celebrated writer.

 

Hope you had a great week.


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21. Why is Middle Grade better than Young adult?

Why do I write Middle Grade? Good question, faceless reader, and one I will answer forthwith.

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22. Writing Multiple Points of View | Writing Tips

The main challenge in writing multiple points of view is helping the reader keep everybody sorted out.

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23. Guest Book Review: Saving Wombats by Emma Homes

wombatsPrint Length: 53 pages
Publisher: Spark Street Communications Pty Ltd (June 25, 2014)
ASIN: B00LB8ZDG6
Age Level: 8 – 11 | Grade Level: 3 – 6
Juvenile Fiction/Wildlife

Five Stars

Ruthie, dad Tom and mum Kate, along with Ruthie’s younger siblings, Liam and Bel, and their pet wombat Womble are en route to her cousins’ farm to spend a lovely holiday in the countryside. Up ahead they see a sad sight: a wombat has been run over by a speeding truck. Ruthie’s parents stop to check the animal and discover it has a tiny baby in its pouch. The baby is still alive. Luckily, the Jirringbah Wildlife Shelter is on the same route and soon they get the baby, called a pinky, to Jo Matthews who shows the kids how to take care of the pinky. While they are there, the kids learn a lot about Australia’s wildlife and some of the skin diseases that can affect these animals; one is a horrible disease called mange! Ruthie doesn’t want to admit that soon Womble will be old enough to be released into the wild – imagine if he gets a nasty, itchy skin condition from the mange. Once they get to their cousins, the kids find out more about wombats and mange because there is a wombat on the farm that looks as if it has a bad case of mange. Medication can cure the condition, but it’s catching the animal and applying the medication regularly that’s the problem. Wombats are also pretty quick when it comes to getting away! With the help of some wildlife experts and her Uncle Dave, they devise a clever way of getting the medication onto the skin of the elusive wombat. Will the medicine cure this sick wombat? Will Ruthie be able to release Womble back into the wild?

Saving Wombats by Emma Homes is the second book in Ruthie’s Wildlife series. Ruthie is a great role model for kids since she is a Zoo Youth Ambassador. With wild animal habitats declining worldwide because of human encroachment, it’s important for today’s kids to learn about animals, and to care for them and respect their rights. This is a charming tale that will appeal to its target audience. Author Emma Homes turns Ruthie’s family trip into quite an adventure – wombats may look cute and cuddly, but don’t get on the wrong side of them or try to invade their burrows! There is a wonderful warm atmosphere between the characters of Ruthie’s family and the people they meet. Ruthie and her siblings are real and believable and any parent would be proud of them. In this simple tale an amazing adventure unfolds, with the kids committed to helping animals. The author cleverly feeds necessary information into the story so that by the end of the book young readers will have learned an amazing number of facts about wombats. I really loved reading this!

Purchase here!

 

Reviewer’s bio: Fiona Ingram is an award-winning middle grade author who is passionate about getting kids interested in reading. Find out more about Fiona and her books on www.FionaIngram.com. She reviews books for the Jozikids Blog.


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24. Coming in November: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

wimpyGreg Heffley and his family hit the road in author-illustrator Jeff Kinney’s latest installment of the phenomenal bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141971189X
ISBN-13: 978-1419711893

 

Pre-order at Amazon!


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25. Book Spotlight: Bone: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith

boneAfter being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures…

Humor, mystery, and adventure are spun together in this action-packed, side-splitting saga. Everyone who has ever left home for the first time only to find that the world outside is strange and overwhelming will love Bone.

Age Range: 11 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: GRAPHIX; First Edition edition (February 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439706408
ISBN-13: 978-0439706407

PURCHASE HERE!


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