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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: scholastic, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Peek-a-Boo Zoo

Board Book: Peek-a-Boo Zoo. Joyce Wan. 2015. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Review copy]

With brown fuzzy fur,
I grumble and growl.
I live in the woods
where I like to prowl.
Guess who?
Peek-a-boo!
Bear

Premise/plot: Zoo animals play peek-a-boo with young readers in Joyce Wan's Peek-a-Boo Zoo published by Scholastic.

My thoughts: I really loved, loved, loved Joyce Wan's You Are My Cupcake. I've been interested in Wan's books ever since. What did I like best about Peek-a-Boo Zoo? Well, I really liked the illustrations. The text is simple. It rhymes. Young readers can guess the animal and then lower the flap to see if they're right.


© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2. The Sky is Falling (2015)

The Sky is Falling. Mark Teague. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One day an acorn hit Chicken Little on the head. She popped up, screeching, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" "I don't think so," said Squirrel. Squirrel knew a thing or two about acorns. "See, it fell from a tree."

Premise/Plot: Chicken Little is convinced that the sky is falling when an acorn hits her on the head. Soon other chickens join her in that belief. (Not every animal on the farm is convinced. Not all get carried away). So what does a chicken getting carried away look like?! Well, in this book, it looks like DANCING. The book embraces the chicken-dancing concept. It keeps building and building. "They did the moonwalk, the mambo, and the twist." While Squirrel and his 'reasonable' friends (like Cat and Rabbit) know that the sky isn't falling, they are soon inspired to join in the dance because dancing is fun.

It was NO ACCIDENT that an acorn hit Chicken Little on the head. Though I admit I didn't catch this the first time I read it. There is a certain recurring character on each page. He's to be SEEN long before attention is called to him in the text. The FOX thought the chickens would react very differently if the sky were thought to be falling. And he was ready for his plan. But the dancing reaction, well, it leaves the Fox puzzled and a bit threatened. (He hates it when it is suggested that HE CAN'T DANCE.) Will the Fox have his way and enjoy chicken for lunch or dinner?!

My thoughts: I liked this one more than I thought I would. It improved upon second reading. I've now read it twice, and browsed it a third time. It's a clever book in a way. I'm not saying I love, love, love it. But I definitely enjoyed it!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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3. Stephen Michael King’s Triumphant Trio

What is it about Stephen Michael King‘s illustrations that make his picture books so sublime? How can his drawings make us want to delve into those stories over and over again? Well, that’s just it! It’s the artwork that adds another dimension to those already meaningful stories, allowing us to dive right in with those […]

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4. First Grade, Here I Come (2015)

First Grade, Here I Come. Tony Johnson. Illustrated by David Walker. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'm zooming off to first grade now. I need about five friends to play good games like hide-and-sneak and where-the-sidewalk-ends. Then all of us will crouch around like tigers on the prowl. We'll lash our tails and flash our eyes and clash our fangs and growl.

Premise/Plot. A boy shares his excitement about going to first grade. When the book begins, the boy thinks he NEEDS five friends in order to have a good year. By the end of the book, he decides that five isn't enough after all, he WANTS to be friends with everyone. The emphasis in this book is on play--imaginative play. It isn't on learning or sitting still or being obedient and following all the rules. Does the book say the boy has trouble not playing? It doesn't. But I imagine that anyone who LOVES to play that much, would struggle a bit--even if it's a tiny bit--when it was time to work and learn.

My thoughts: I didn't love the text. It was super descriptive, which could be a good thing. But. I am not sure the book flows well--narratively speaking--from page to page and scene to scene. It seemed a bit all over the place. Perhaps reflecting his personality?! That's certainly one way I could interpret it!!! I am not sure how I feel about this one.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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5. ABC School's For Me (2015)

ABC School's For Me. Susan Katz. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Alphabet from A to Z, Books that are just right for me. Crayons for coloring, in my hand, Dump trucks, playing in the sand. Eating snack around the rug, Friends who share a hello hug. Glue sticks for some glitter art, Hats hang in the dress-up cart.

Premise/Plot: This book stars bears going to school (preschool or kindergarten, I imagine either one would work). Each letter of the alphabet describes a school activity.

My thoughts: I liked it very much. I thought it was cute and simple and covers the basics. I liked the illustrations best.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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6. Review – Pig the Fibber by Aaron Blabey

Pig the Fibber, Aaron Blabey (author, illus.), Scholastic, May 2015.   Okay, Pig fans! He’s back! And he’s up to a whole lot of mischief…again!   Award-winning author / illustrator, Aaron Blabey, is renowned for his ability to create books with clear morals, but particularly his distinguishable style of outlandish characters in farcical situations…mostly self-inflicted! […]

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7. 8 An Animal Alphabet (2015)


8: An Animal Alphabet. Elisha Cooper. 2015 [July] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Find the one animal on each page that is pictured 8 times--8 ants, 8 badgers, 8 chickens. Find all the other animals too. Some may be familiar, such as a cat, and some not, such as a muskrat. (For help, see the "Did you know?" section in the back.)

Premise/Plot. Each alphabet page features lots of animals. Only one animal, however, is pictured 8 times. All animals for each page are listed in small print at the bottom of the page. The book concludes with a "Did You Know?" page sharing facts about all the animals.

My thoughts: I didn't love it. I didn't hate it. I liked it well enough. If you're looking for a counting-to-eight concept book, an alphabet concept book, or, a book about animals, then this one may prove satisfying.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustration: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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8. Best Selling Kids Series | April 2015

This month's best selling kids series from The Children's Book Review's affiliate store is the wonderfully educational series The Adventures of Riley.

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9. The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life: An Annotated List of Multicultural Non-Fiction Picture Books About Trees

The Life of Trees and the Tree of Life: An MWD Annotated List of Multicultural Non-Fiction Picture Books About Trees

Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth, written by Rochelle  … <a class=Continue reading ...

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10. Prince of A Frog (2015)

Prince of a Frog. Jackie Urbanovic. 2015. [May] Scholastic.  32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence:  Once, in a faraway pond, lived a frog named Hopper who loved to play. He crooned tunes, but the fish thought he was off scale. He kicked like a pro, but the ducks thought he was quackers. Even the herons thought he was too odd to eat. Hopper just didn't fit in.

Premise/Plot: Hopper the frog doesn't fit in at the pond. He decides to leave the pond after listening to a turtle's advice. The turtle had spoken of a certain frog who was really a prince in disguise. She had told of a magical kiss that could transform him into someone "charming, brave, and loved." The frog heads off to find the princess. But his journey to his princess, well, it won't be quick and easy. And the turtle never spoke a word about the dangers of life away from the pond. (This book has a fox!) The frog may not have found his princess, but he found something better--a true friend.

My thoughts: Adorable! I loved the dog, Princess. I loved seeing these two become friends. I especially loved the illustration of them singing together. Overall, this is a sweet book that is so easy to love.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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11. Never Ask A Dinosaur to Dinner (2015)

Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner. Gareth Edwards. Illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Never ask a dinosaur to dinner. Really, never ask a dinosaur to dinner. Because a T. rex is ferocious and his manners are atrocious, and you'll find that if he's able…he will eat the kitchen table. He'll grow fatter while the rest of you grow thinner, so never ask a dinosaur to dinner.

Premise/plot: The narrator shares with readers why they should never ask a dinosaur to dinner, why they should never share a toothbrush with a shark, why they should never let a beaver in the basin, why they should never use a tiger as a towel, why they should never choose a bison for a blanket, and finally why they should never share a bed with an owl. All in rhyme of course. This is a book all about the bedtime routine. It's a silly book, as you can tell.

My thoughts: I liked it well enough, I suppose. I think the rhymes worked for the most part. I can be a bit picky when it comes to judging rhyming books. I can get annoyed quite easily when it doesn't sound right. That being said, I didn't love this one especially. It was nice, but, not an amazing read.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. Video Sunday: “You fill me with inertia.”

Hallo, folks!

So today is the last day of National Library Week.  In celebration, enjoy this delightful video from Common Craft for your average non-library literate layman.  If you are a librarian, show this video to those members of your family who heard you had to get a Master’s degree and asked you, “What? So they teach you how to put your hair in a bun and go ‘Shh’ all day?”

More info here.

There is a saying in my family: A music video isn’t viral until soldiers perform a version of it.  Admittedly it’s a relatively new saying.  The same might also be said for librarian parody videos, though.  When they’re doing a song you haven’t heard of, you best be looking that puppy up.  Case in point . . .

The moment he’s reading Beloved sort of stands out.  Otherwise, perfectly fine.  The ending is pitch perfect.  Thanks to Melanie for the link.

One more.  This time with a Taylor Swift-centric vibe.  Author Patricia Hubbell ought to be well pleased:

In other news I was so pleased to see James Kennedy and his 90-Second Newbery shenanigans appear on this recent episode of Kidlit TV.  You should watch it if, for no other reason, the fact that you get to see Ame Dyckman briefly prance.  And prance she does!!

Next up, the Mazza Museum!  I love that place, but the smiling blonde is way way way perky.

Speaking of perky, Scholastic ups the ante with a professional announcer talking up their summer reading challenge.  Not a bad idea.  Offer kids the chance to be in a world record and watch your participation numbers skyrocket.

And for our off-topic video, this week this post alerted me to the existence of this movie scene from the film Bedazzled.  This constitutes my new favorite thing.

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13. Jampires (2015)

Jampires. Sarah McIntyre. Illustrated by David O'Connell. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: "There's no jam!" yelled Sam. "This doughnut's all wrinkly! This doughnut is jamless and dry! Someone got to this doughnut before me and sucked out the jamminess! Why?"

Premise/plot: Sam, the hero, gets mad when his doughnut is missing jam. He decides to set a trap in his room to catch the jam thieves. What he didn't expect was that the thief was actually thieves. Jampires. Creatures that suck out jam with their fangs. The jampires take Sam on an adventure, they take him home to where they live, a place with plenty of jam to be had every day.

My thoughts: I didn't like this one. Of course, you may feel differently. You may love the play on words--jampires instead of vampires. But I thought the book was bizarre and creepy. Besides the weird story, the text itself seems awkward.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 4 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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14. Side by Side (2015)

Side by Side. Rachel Bright. Illustrated by Debi Gliori. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Deep in the heart of Wintermouse Wood, down in the grass where the autumn trees stood, lived all kinds of creatures--some big and some small--some spiky, some furry, some short, and some tall.

Premise/plot: Mousling is the smallest mouse in her family. She's a lonely mouse who longs for a friend. While many answer her call and offer friendship, only one creature--a small black vole--is the exact, perfect forever-and-ever friend. These two make quite a pair.

My thoughts: The story is a good one. Sometimes the text is quite lovely. "And now, side by side, they heard the same tune, so they sang to the stars and they danced to the moon." Overall, I liked this one.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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15. This Little Piggy (2015)

Board Book: This Little Piggy. A Finger & Toes Nursery Rhyme Book. Natalie Marshall. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: This little piggy went to the market.

Premise/Plot: A board book adaptation of the traditional nursery rhyme. Though these little piggies won't be eating any roast beef. I don't have a problem with adapting any of the lines. That's part of the fun of playing little piggies.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one! I love the sturdiness of the pages. I think the pages will be easy for little hands to turn. All books--even board books--can be "loved" too much and wear out quickly. But this one seems a little better than some I've read and reviewed. I thought the illustrations were nice.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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16. Red light, Green Light

Board book: Red Light, Green Light. Yumi Heo. 2015. [June] Scholastic. 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Let's take a ride. Here's your seat! We'll drive down this: One way street!

Premise/plot: Red Light, Green Light is a concept board book on driving and road signs. It's a lift-the-flap book. Each sign is a flap that can be lifted to reveal what it means.

My thoughts: It's okay. Not wow-worthy perhaps. It's obviously focusing more on the teaching elements, but, it does have a slight story to it. The family is on the way to the playground. Some of the rhymes work okay for me. Some don't. For example, "Slow down, car, the brakes go pop. Traffic light says red means stop."

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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17. Klutz Activity Kits | Book Review

Klutz’s book based activity kits are exceptional for providing inspiration and convenience and for allowing children to explore and uncover new interests and talents.

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18. Ice Cream Summer (2015)

Ice Cream Summer. Peter Sis. 2015. [May] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Dear Grandpa, Thank you for your letter. So far, it's been a delicious summer. I am very busy. But don't worry, I am not forgetting about school. I read every day. I am conquering big words like tornado and explosion!

Premise/Plot: A young boy assures his grandpa--via letter--that his summer is going well, and that he's still hard at work learning many things (math, history, cartography, to name just a few). Readers see that all relates back to ice cream in one way or another making Ice Cream Summer a fitting title for the book. This young boy LOVES his ice cream.

My thoughts: I like this one very much! Though I can't enjoy ice cream, I am glad that others can. And the hero of Ice Cream Summer certainly ADORES ice cream. I imagine that every day of his summer involves ice cream. The word play was cute and fun, for the most part. For example, "As you can see, Grandpa, I've been working hard all summer (though I always take a break on sundaes)."

Rating: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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19. 13 Authors to Write Short Stories For a Summer Reading Program

Scholastic SRC15 authors (GalleyCat)Scholastic has enlisted 13 children’s books authors to help with the Summer Reading Challenge program.

The participants include R.L. Stine, Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pierce, Gordon Korman, Michael Northtrop, Varian Johnson, Jude Watson, Blue Balliet, Patrik Henry Bass, Roland Smith, Tui T. Sutherland, Lauren Tarshis, and Wendy Wan-Long Shang. These writers will create original short stories; kids will be able to access these “rewards” by tracking the minutes they spend reading.

According to the press release, “each of the authors has written a unique short story using the same opening sentence which is, ‘I glanced over my shoulder to make sure that no one had followed me into the shadowy library, then took a deep breath and opened the glowing book…'” The organizers behind this venture hope to break the record of 304,749,681 minutes (spent reading) that was set last summer.

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20. Best Selling Kids Series | May 2015

This month's best selling kids series from The Children's Book Review's affiliate store remains the same, it's the wonderfully educational series The Adventures of Riley.

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21. What I Saw in the Teachers' Lounge (2015)

What I Saw In the Teachers' Lounge. Jerry Pallotta. Illustrated by Howard McWilliam. 2015. [June] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I saw the sign on the door at school every day. It wasn't fair. Why couldn't students go in there? Oops--the door was open. I thought I'd take a peek. The first time I looked, I saw my teacher. She was surfing. Another teacher was in full hiking gear. She was climbing a rugged mountain.

Premise/plot: A young boy with a BIG imagination keeps peeking into the teacher's lounge. Each time he peeks, he sees something different, something strange and wonderful all at the same time. He tells everyone, but, few believe him.

My thoughts: It's certainly creative storytelling. Perhaps not as memorable as And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, but, along those same lines. It was a nice read.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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22. Scholastic Acquires Minority Stake in Make Believe Ideas

Scholastic has acquired a minority stake in Make Believe Ideas (MBI), a UK-based children’s book publisher. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Make Believe is known for its educational books for babies and young children. The two publishers will reveal their first co-branded books for Early Learners ages 0–5 at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair next week. The series is slated for a global English language release in Fall 2015.

“Make Believe Ideas’ focus on early learning and creativity and its engaging product line extends our publishing program and fits seamlessly into our distribution channels at Scholastic,” stated Ellie Berger, EVP, Scholastic, and President, Trade Publishing.

“With a renewed focus on the importance of reading with babies beginning at birth, we are thrilled to expand our offerings in the global English language market with co-branded, gorgeous, colorful books that make reading and learning fun for babies and young children,” continued Berger.

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23. YouTube Sensation Jenn McAllister Inks Deal With Scholastic

JennxpennYouTube sensation Jenn McAllister (also known as JennXPenn) has landed a deal with Scholastic for a book called Really Professional Internet Person.

According to the press release, the 18-year-old internet star’s title will be “a personal and funny guide to creating successful online content and handling the pressures of internet fame.” It will contain pictures, screenshots, social media posts, and biographical stories.

Vice president and publisher Debra Dorfman negotiated the terms of the agreement. A release date has been set for September 2015. Click here to watch McAllister’s video announcement about this project.

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24. Rapunzel: The One With All the Hair

Twice Upon A Time: Rapunzel The One With All The Hair. Wendy Mass. 2006. Scholastic. 205 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I wanted to enjoy this adaptation of Rapunzel by Wendy Mass. I'd read Wendy Mass and really enjoyed her work in the past. So my expectations were high, perhaps TOO high.

Both Rapunzel and the Prince are on the young side--around the age of twelve. So this isn't a fairy tale romance that sweeps you away. (Not that the original story is oh-so-romantic. Far from it, as I see it. The Disney movie is another story almost!) Was I reading it FOR romance? Not really. That's not where I was disappointed.

I'll be honest. I didn't enjoy the writing style or narration. The story is narrated by Rapunzel and the Prince. His name is Prince Benjamin. Both narrators are on the childish or immature side. (For example, Rapunzel is EQUALLY concerned about a pimple as being locked away in a tower by a witch.)

I guess what disappointed me the most was how light it was. It wasn't a substantive story in terms of characterization or action. It was almost impossible to take it seriously. Perhaps that was the point. Perhaps I was in the wrong mood for this one. But the writing wasn't wonderful or witty enough for me to see it as a comedic retelling. And it wasn't dramatic enough or action-packed enough for me to take it seriously.
© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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25. Ten Pigs (2015)

Ten Pigs: An Epic Bath Adventure. Derek Anderson. 2015. [April] Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: One pig. One very happy pig. "This bathtub is perfect for just me and you." But along comes Pig Number Two. Two? Two? This tub is too small for a duck, two pigs, and a bouncy ball!

Premise/Plot: One pig's oh-so-perfect bath with his ducky is interrupted multiple times--this is a COUNTING BOOK AFTER ALL--by pigs who insist on joining him in the tub. Each pig has his/her own bath toy. DRAMA is to be had within the pages of Ten Pigs. What will Pig #1 do to get his tub back to himself. He may resort to trickery!

My thoughts: This one is quite cute. I liked it. I liked the text. I liked the illustrations. It's just a fun read.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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