What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'book review')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: book review, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,545
26. Review: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This is an incredible exploration of grief, family and identity and the pressures of expectations that come from each. The book opens with a death, one that nobody else knows about yet, the death of Lydia Lee; middle child of Marilyn and James and sister to older brother Nathan and younger sister Hannah. Lydia’s death […]

Add a Comment
27. Review – An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

One of the most uncompromising, unflinching, page-turning books I have read in a long time. It is a harrowing story that forces you to confront and challenge many important issues; gender, poverty, race and class to list but a few. Mireille is visiting her Haitian parents in Port-au-Prince with her American husband and baby son […]

Add a Comment
28. Teen Titans: Earth One Volume 1 Book Review

Title: Teen Titans: Earth One, Volume 1 Author: Jeff Lemire Illustrators: Rachael Dodson & Terry Dodson Publisher: DC Comics Publication Date: November 25, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-1401245566 144 pp. ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley I cannot begin to tell you how much I LOVED The New Teen Titans. I mean, seriously, this book saved me when I was a teenager. "A freak among freaks," Vic Stone

0 Comments on Teen Titans: Earth One Volume 1 Book Review as of 1/8/2015 1:11:00 PM
Add a Comment
29. Gone for Good Review

My first Harlan Coben book and will definitely not be my last.Gone for Good

I just love the way Harlan Coben writes. I think most authors struggle to pull of writing in the second person but you feel like Harlan’s having a conversation with you – the Reader – as you read this book.

It’s a story with many twists and turns and jut remember that nothing is ever as it seems.

Our protagonist has struggled to clear his brother’s name for most of his life. His brother has been framed as the killer of a girl he used to love. The police force think his brother’s guilty. The local community thinks his brother is guilty. The deceased’s family think his brother is guilty. Even his parents harbour doubts about his brother’s innocence. Still, Will believes his brother – Kevin Klein – is innocent. His brother goes on the run and for many years, it’d appear his gone for good and never to come back.

Will’s mother whispers something on her deathbed that sets his world upside down and opens a can of worms.

I liked how Harlan made Will Klein so vulnerable. You feel for him and wish him all the best. You wish him well but it seems his best intentions only hurt those around him and lead him to dead ends. Will discovers himself in the end and the truth sets him free.

Gone for Good will be a worthy addition to your library.

2 Comments on Gone for Good Review, last added: 1/3/2015
Display Comments Add a Comment
30. Review of Fearless Joe Dearbone

Just by looking at the book cover and the title, you immediately know that the main protagonist – Joe – is going to be placed in certain situations that will test him and cause him to overcome any internal or external forces pulling him to buckle under. I’m happy to say that this book does not disappoint!fearless joe dearbone

Early on, we see multiple incidents where Joe displays his bravery. Against all odds, we see him entering a burning building to save a puppy. I liked the chapter where he goes into a dark and dangerous cave to get an autographed baseball for  a friend. It seems there’s nothing that can stop our hero. Sometimes I wondered if Joe was a bit too gung-ho in some of the stunts he pulled but there’s a charm about him that shows his heart is in the right place. It seems as if Joe is unbreakable and unstoppable until a strange woman called Mrs Chill enters his life. I guess with a name like that, we can only expect something diabolical to eventually happen. You’ll have to get a copy of the book to discover how Joe confronts a challenge and evil that seems beyond him.

I loved all the twists and turns plus sub plots Lisa Mitchel weaved into the story. She also peppers the story with fun moments that will leave readers chuckling. Joe is a guy we can root for and I love the virtues he projects.

I believe this book will make a worthy addition to your library.

0 Comments on Review of Fearless Joe Dearbone as of 1/4/2015 4:37:00 AM
Add a Comment
31. Kishaz Reading Corner: Star Struck by Jamie Campbell

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Please note: This is a novelette. Shorter fiction is a fun and quick read, not a full length novel.

Melrose Morgan was your typical teenager, flipping burgers and surviving high school the best she could. Yet all that changed after a chance encounter took her face to face with the world's biggest superstar. Living every girl's fantasy, Melrose falls for one fifth of the most successful boy bands on the planet, Cole Newton. He invites her on a date and she can't help but fall in love with her idol. But in a world that is full of shining stars, can one small town girl really capture the heart of a supernova? Find out in the first installment of the Star Kissed series.

Buy the Book

The Star Kissed Series includes:

Book #2

Book #3

Book #4

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 3 stars

Here's why:

This was a quick read and I'm a little ambivalent about how I feel. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the best. There were some editing issues and I felt the flow of the story was choppy. Also the fact that this was a nod to a very popular boy band made me fell like this was a fan fiction.

I don't know if I would take a chance on the entire series or not. I'm still on the fence.

Would I recommend this book? Maybe. Depends on the reader's preference.

0 Comments on Kishaz Reading Corner: Star Struck by Jamie Campbell as of 12/31/2014 11:01:00 AM
Add a Comment
32. Book Review: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book: The Drowned Cities
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

In the future, America has been knocked from leader of the free world to a war-torn wasteland, torn to shreds by guerrilla civil war and abandoned even by the Chinese peacekeepers. In this world, four different people struggle to survive.

Mahlia and Mouse have already lived through the worst and are keeping their heads down in a backwoods village. Tool is a genetically modified man-beast, created to serve warlords and wage war. He’s decided to strike out on his own, serving no master. Ocho is a guerrilla soldier, sergeant of the squadron that hunts Tool and invades the village.

When Mahlia takes the risky step of saving Tool’s life and helping hide him from the soldiers, she sets off a chain of events that will take all four from the relative safety of the backwoods into the Drowned Cities and the heart of the never-ending war. None of them expect that they’re going to live to a ripe old age. They’ll settle for living to see tomorrow.

I told a colleague that if I’d known that this was about child soldiers and guerrilla warfare, I probably wouldn’t have read it. (Upon hearing that description, of course, he was all over it.) If I’d skipped it, I would have missed one hell of a book.

At every turn, the characters (minor and major) must make the decision about whether to see to their own safety or honor their connection to another person. Intriguingly, Bacigalupi doesn’t always prioritize one over the other. Sometimes you have to save your own skin. Sometimes, you have to save your soul instead.

A harrowing, powerful, and complex story about the things we do to save ourselves and others.

0 Comments on Book Review: The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi as of 12/31/2014 10:52:00 AM
Add a Comment
33. Commemorating Christmas in Bastogne 1944--Book Review of No Greater Valor

     by Sally Matheny

No Greater Valor commemorates
Christmas at Bastogne
      Seventy years ago, German troops outnumbered and surrounded the US troops in Bastogne, Belgium. Hopes of a silent night diminished. However, not only did the U.S. troops hold fast to their faith and courage, they witnessed divine miracles that Christmas. They held Bastogne.

     Dr. Jerome Corsi, author of six New York Timesbest-selling books, extensively researched numerous WWII resources including military documents, personal diaries and letters. The result of his research is his latest book, No Greater Valor: The Siege of Bastogne and the Miracle That Sealed Allied Victory.”
     “Battles are won by military power, but wars are won by spiritual power,” said William Arnold, the WWII US Army chief of chaplains.

     Dr. Corsi, intrigued by how the Siege of Bastogne was “won by a small group of American soldiers who largely believed in God in accordance with the Judeo-Christian traditions,” wrote No Greater Valor for a number of reasons, which he shares in a lengthy but enlightening introduction. He asks, “Is it possible to make the case, even today that the faith of those who fought at Bastogne invited God to play a direct hand in how the battle turned out?” Then, Corsi sets out to make that case.    
     At first glance, Dr. Corsi’s analytical style may not appeal to all readers. I encourage you to press through the military terminology. After a bit, it doesn’t dominate your mind, and the story begins to reign.

     Those with a military background or interest will have a better grasp of the military maneuvers mentioned. However, even civilian readers will appreciate the reality the historical accounts provide.

     Factual details reveal the days leading up to the massive Christmas Eve bombing and Christmas Day attack. The words of Patton, McAuliffe, and other officers bring the reader into the battle. An occasional German officer’s account gives us an additional perspective.     

McAuliffe and Kinnard II

     Dr. Corsi displays the superb ability to convey the frustrations of war without writing one curse word. Bravo. 
      It’s interesting to read from the field histories of US military historian Lt. Col. Samuel Marshall, who interviewed the 101st Airborne Division and its attached units just four days after the Siege of Bastogne ended.

     Corsi also draws attention to the chaplains who served at Bastogne, particularly Lt. Col. Francis Sampson. How the chaplains inspired the troops in 1944 will offer encouragement to readers battling evil forces today.

     Due to its historical accuracy, No Greater Valor should be included as a text for students. The insights on the power of faith and prayer, make it a must-read for all Christians. 


0 Comments on Commemorating Christmas in Bastogne 1944--Book Review of No Greater Valor as of 12/27/2014 12:46:00 PM
Add a Comment
34. Rediscovering Sueño. La Palabra Wraps for 14. GF Chicano.

Review: Martin Limón. The Iron Sickle. NY: Soho Press, 2014.
ISBN: 9781616953911

Guided serendipity led me to find a Martin Limón novel on the new books shelf of the library and in a flash I realized I hadn't seen a Sueño and Bascom novel in a while. Turns out I've missed two since enjoying 2009's G.I. Bones. Finding The Iron Sickle went ahead and made my day.

Reading a Sueño and Bascom crime novel comes with everything, and more, readers find in the best cop novels: Intriguing setting, local color, irrepressible heroes, insurmountable odds, ingenious plotting. The add-ons include an outcast Chicano detective, Korea, and the U.S. Army in the 1970s.

Martin Limón weaves all the elements together in The Iron Sickle, latest novel in the long-lived cop series. One needn’t have read other titles to enjoy everything The Iron Sickle offers, but Limón consistently alludes to events happening in earlier novels, head-turning, momentous stuff, dropped into a paragraph in passing. Limón gives a reader plenty of motivation to seek other titles in the series.

The Korea and Army setting will be completely foreign to all but a tiny fraction of U.S. readers. This makes the author responsible for a lot of explaining about language, culture, and attitudes, both Korean and Army. Limón uses that as a way to enrich the novels with fascinating local color and military slang.

George Sueño is the only Chicano in the novels, so his East LA background is noted only spottily in the series—he has no contemporaries at work, no one to talk to, so it doesn’t come up. Such is the life of being “the only one.” Plus, he’s a cop. But Limón isn’t glorifying cops shooting U.S. civilians. The cops in The Iron Sickle battle the Army as much as criminals.

In the novel, it’s been twenty years that events spun out of control on a remote mountainside during war, launching a murder spree for revenge and ruining lives. Sickled necks and a butchered rat lead the CID agents to a remote commo site in the middle of nowhere to discover a morally ambiguous criminality.

Bilingualism singles out the agent for going against the Army’s monolingual grain. In series novels, he speaks a little Spanish, but that’s not the issue. Sueño is the only CID agent in country who speaks and reads Hangul. Knowing the language inevitably leads to cracking the case while providing interesting insights into local language and culture. It’s also a signal that Sueño not only is a lifer, he’s addicted to Korea. Sueño’s so alienated from The World, as overseas GIs call the US, he’s never coming home.

Military culture puts obstacles in the investigation’s path. Hardheaded Officers and Senior NCOs follow the Army way which is uniformity and chain of command. Sueño and Bascom hold that in contempt and are the opposite of STRAC troopers expected of high headquarters minions.

Their results make them immune to all but spite, no matter how wild and impetuously the detectives act. Limón gives them lots of ways to act up; Bascom, a ville rat and short-fused jerk, Sueño, the oddball who thinks too much and hooks up with the wrong woman. When Sueño’s thinking too much he misses clues or gets his ass kicked.

When the boss or some general gets a case of the ass, the pair catch their ration of shit details, like arresting housewives for buying too many toothpastes. What really irks the chain of command is having the Koreans request Sueño and Bascom work a case.

Limón tirelessly exposes mindless military rivalry between US forces and local authority. These cops are righting wrongs despite established power, not to further the military’s goals. Solving crime often gives a well-deserved black eye to military politics. Higher ups prefer to keep matters quiet and tidy. Sueño and Bascom are loud and unruly, and that’s only half the fun of reading a Sueño and Bascom mystery.

The Iron Sickle treads on forbidden territory, cannibalism. While fiction can take readers into the most perverse territory, it won’t stop them from getting queasy at the horror of the crime, the imperative of revenge, and the unasked question, “how many wrongs make a right?”

The Iron Sickle is a great companion for a winter read. Curling up next to a fire and whiling away the hours until 2015 might be just the ticket for mystery readers with a hankering for off-the-wall travel writing.

Korean farmer at DMZ 1970. foto:msedano

La Palabra Has Last Word

Gente crowd into the main gallery at Northeast Los Angeles' Avenue 50 Studio. Here for the final La Palabra reading of 2014, the prospect of hearing three of the city's most distinctive poetic voices draws them in well after the Open Mic is underway. Late-arrivers line up against the wall between the art or step gingerly into the space between the circled chairs to sit on the floor. SRO means "sitting room only" for Poet Laureate Luis J Rodriguez and friends Peter J Harris and Hector Flores.

Today's reading culminates the first year of emcee Karineh Mahdessian's service organizing the monthly series. La Palabra at Avenue 50 Studio has enjoyed a thirteen-year run showcasing high calibre art and engaging an Open Mic poetry community nurtured by the social churn of working class eastside L.A.
Karineh Mahdessian
Mahdessian's high spirits spark the already energized crowd as she gets the Open Mic started. The day offers wonderful examples of the "community" in "poetry community." Visitors today include people from Arizona and the U.S. midwest. One reader is making her debut in front of an audience today. People exchange abrazos and introduce new friends.

The first speaker doesn't read. He's a social scientist with a book and rambles for awkward minutes before audience members interrupt him with applause. He's reluctant to finish but the relieved Mahdessian steps in and the fellow fills his chair. The presentation offers one of the awful moments in an emcee's role, how to use the hook.

Rudy Calderón
Rudy Calderón works from memory, in Spanish and in rhyme. The packed house and floor eliminate the lectern and lets speakers choose reading in situ or using the constricted bit of open space.

Calderón stands and projects with excellent resonance. There's so much energy in his body aching to break loose if allowed a stage. He controls it well and redirects much of that energy into the reading.

C.E. Jordan
C. E. Jordan is the fourth poet after Calderón. Jordan stands in place to share a holiday piece that makes an appreciated change-of-pace. That microphone is ironic because Jordan projects sonorously with crystal clear enunciation that serves her words well. One reader uses the mic and it doesn't go over well. No reader uses the mic again.

Juan Carlos Valadez
Juan Carlos Valadez follows Jordan in one of those change-of-pace presentations that keep audiences coming back to La Palabra.

Mahdessian announces the next reader. From his chair, Valadez introduces his wife and daughter. He walks into the open space, and asks the teenager's permission to read a poem letter he wrote her from prison.

Rosalio Muñoz
Rosalio Muñoz is the final Open Mic reader. He selects a few paragraphs from the Laguna Park section of Stella Pope Duarte's movimiento novel, Let Their Spirits Dance. Muñoz is sitting next to me so I point and shoot hoping for a good moment. This is approximately the perspective the crowd had of Rosalio up on the podium that day in Laguna Park.

Muñoz is the final name signed to the Open Mic. A number of poets have asked for a slot so Mahdessian announces a second Open Mic after the three featured readers.

The featured poets have conferred and adapted to the setting and audience. Rather than do three stand-ups, Hector Flores, Peter J. Harris, and Luis J. Rodriguez will do a round-robin. Harris goes first.

Peter J. Harris

Peter J. Harris
The round-robin is a wonderful way to treat an audience. People universally appreciate variety, whether within a single poem or a set. The three featured writers each performs with unique voice and distinctive style. Harris and Flores read so deeply moved by their own emotions that their words come out as heartfelt music.

Hector Flores
Hector Flores
Luis J. Rodriguez greets his audience today as a proud father, local poet, and Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. The Laureate vows to infuse LA with poetry during his tenure, though the exact program remains in development. Today's reading signals an important development.

It's not that Luis forgot his stuff back at the house and will read old stuff. Rodriguez' good stuff is timeless and he keeps working on them, if not in the craft in the performance.

Rodriguez has rarely read these poems with the kind of sustained energy he displays in the packed space today.

He's loud, he's angry, he's emotional, ya se cansó. Thoughts and emotions in words come out in his arms, eyes, brow, posture. He fills the space allowed. He reads today focused on content over form, breaking at thoughts instead of lines.

Media aren't the Laureate's friend today. One poem comes from an orange quarter-fold booklet, another from a telephone screen, two from a book. He needs his anteojos, plus he's getting off the floor every third reader.

Rodriguez, like Harris, works to personalize the reading through eye contact. Reliant upon their text, it's sparse and momentary. Their work has enough power that audiences don't miss what they're not getting. But because these poets could do these poems from memory without the prop, there's a lost opportunity to magnify their audience's enjoyment of the work.

Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodriguez

The Gluten-free Chicano
Good Mexican Girl Hits the Spot

Earlier in December, The Gluten-free Chicano sat around feeling sorry for himself that gluten-free analogs are crummy and he needed a snack. The Gluten-free Chicano, in a fit of antoja, wrote about a gluten-free bakery that sounded like it would hit the spot, the Good Mexican Girl's cookies.

The Good Mexican Girl herself took the column as a challenge, to get some of her cookies to The Gluten-free Chicano. She did it. And he's glad.

GMG gluten-free Mexican Wedding Cookies aren't quite the powdery puro butter and wheat flour nuggets of yesteryear, but GMG Mexican Wedding Cookies are number hana, as they say in Korea, number one.

They hit the spot.

GMG discovered the secret to a velvety texture on the tongue. Other GF treats have a raspy grit to them like 440 sandpaper on the tongue. Yuck. Bite into the crumbly texture of a GMG Mexican Wedding Cookie and all the flavor and a pleasing tooth greet one. Savor it and allow the crumbs to work their magic. Smooth all the way down. Next: GMG chocolate chip cookies.

¡Ajua! Good Mexican Girl. Te aventastes.

Late-breaking News!


Click link to get your tickets.

Floricanto for Michele Serros
Sunday, January 4, 2015at 6:00pm
Alumni House, UC Berkeley
1 Alumni House, Berkeley, California 94720

La Bloga encourages readers to purchase tickets to support Michele Serros' challenges during her health crisis. Gente in the Bay area will want to appear in-person for this important event. Here is the latest organizer report.

Joseph Rios- friend of Michele and poet
Jennie Luna- friend and Cal State Professor of Xican@ studies at Cal State Channel Islands

Readers/Friends of Michele: 
Melinda Palacio- author and friend
Joe Loya- author and friend
Cindy Cruz- close friend of Michele and professor of education at UCSC
Alberto Ledesma- friend, UC Berkeley professor and DREAM artivista

Silent Auction at the event with works by: 
Malaquias Montoya
Maceo Montoya
Melanie Cervantes
Mitsy Avila Ovalles
Santos Shelton
Lalo Alcaraz
Ester Hernandez
Jessica Sabogal

Signed vinyl records from the band, Chicano Batman 

0 Comments on Rediscovering Sueño. La Palabra Wraps for 14. GF Chicano. as of 12/26/2014 10:08:00 PM
Add a Comment
35. The Port Chicago 50 - a review

Sheinkin, Steve. 2014. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights. New York: Roaring Brook.

The Port Chicago 50, as they became known, were a group of African American Navy sailors assigned to load munitions at Port Chicago in California, during WWII.  The sailors' work detail options were limited; the Navy was segregated and Blacks were not permitted to fight at sea. The sailors worked around the clock, racing to load ammunition on ships headed to battle in the Pacific. Sailors had little training and were pressured to load the dangerous cargo as quickly as possible.

After an explosion at the port killed 320 men, injured many others, and obliterated the docks and ships anchored there, many men initially refused to continue working under the same dangerous conditions. In the end, fifty men disobeyed the direct order to return to work. They were tried for mutiny in a case with far-reaching implications.  There was more at stake than the Naval careers of fifty sailors.  At issue were the Navy's (and the country's) policy of segregation, and the racist treatment of the Black sailors.  Years before the Civil Rights movement began, the case of the Port Chicago 50 drew the attention of the NAACP, a young Thurgood Marshall, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Through the words of the young sailors, the reader of The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights relives a slice of history as a Black sailor in 1944.

Steven Sheinkin combines excellently researched source materials, a little-known, compelling story, and an accessible writing style to craft another nonfiction gem.

Read an excerpt of The Port Chicago 50 here.

  • Table of Contents
  • Source Notes
  • List of Works Cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Picture Credits
  • Index
See today's Nonfiction Monday roundup at http://nonfictionmonday.wordpress.com 

Advance Reader Copy supplied by publisher.

0 Comments on The Port Chicago 50 - a review as of 12/26/2014 3:35:00 AM
Add a Comment
36. Review: Emergence by John Birmingham

John Birmingham delivers in spades in the first book of his explosive new trilogy. Dave Hooper is not your typical hero. In fact he is a bit of an arsehole. He works on the oil rigs and blows most of his pay packet on booze, drugs and women much to the ire of his very-soon-to-be […]

Add a Comment
37. Taken by David Massey

Scholastic, 2014

Rio can't believe her luck.  Her dream job became a reality when she was chosen to work with the unique crew on Freedom, a custom outfitted yacht.  Starting in South Africa, the crews’ goal is to sail around the world.  Before Rio boards the yacht, she is caught off-guard by a bizarre man, rattling a dirty leather bag with his gnarled and stained fingernails, staring at her with manic eyes….

The crew consists of five veterans of the war, each with their own personality and abilities.  Ash has two blades instead of legs, and still has the strength and dexterity to match a man with legs.  Marcus has to be careful around the sun because of his severe burns to his body that are starting to heal, stretching the scars tight across his face.  Charis has a biotic arm, the first of its kind she can manipulate with her muscles.  Izzy fell from a helicopter and shattered her leg while also coping with Type I diabetes.  Rio and Jennifer are there as support for the team, and everyone is ready to take off. 

Then disaster strikes.  They only wished it had been a monsoon, but it is something much deadlier.  A group of pirates have seized the ship and ransacked it, taking them as hostages and sinking the yacht.  No one knows where they are or what has happened to them.  Now the crew is on their way to most savage part of Africa, where Joseph Kony and his army of children, known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, awaits their arrival.

Surrounded by children with guns and blank faces and eyes, the group must be careful around these trigger-happy soldiers, who care nothing about killing a human.  Although Ash and most of the others are veterans, they face something much more difficult – being able to survive with their handicaps.  Mwemba, the leader, is asking for a huge ransom, but he is only part of the problem.  Rio keeps her eye on a girl she calls the Empty Child, a girl whom the others shy away from, even the Sangomo (witch doctor) and Mwemba.  Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer is the tactic of Rio and her mates live as they walk their way through desert and jungle hanging on to every shred of hope in order to survive.

This is unlike any other YA novel I’ve read because the storyline is so very unique.  David Massey does an EXCELLENT job at taking a serious world issue that has come to the forefront of many nations and building a fictional account of it specifically for young adults.  The characters become a cohesive part of the novel, showing both the hopeful and hopeless situation they are a part of, whether it's personal or not.  Within the larger story are smaller ones that deal with the relationships between the crew, especially Rio’s relationships.  Most interesting is that Massey incorporates the strength of individuals with handicaps, examples of true human endurance.  This is one begging to be read and excellently delivered.  Recommended upper JH/HS. 

Non-fiction pair: graphic novel, Army of God by David Axe.

0 Comments on Taken by David Massey as of 12/23/2014 6:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
38. How Do You Resolve Conflict with a Penguin? Flora Knows How

I just have to say that I absolutely adore Molly Idle, her art, and her lovely little girl Flora. I can not seem to get enough of Flora and now there is a new Flora book! Flora and the Penguin does not disappoint.

Flora The Penguin

The pragmatic mom herself and I were discussing who we think is up for the Caldecott and who is going to win. Flora and the Penguin is a book that would make my entire year if it won the Caldecott. This book is perfect for ages 3 to 5 but I  have to confess this grown woman adores it too.

Molly Idle has a way of telling a story that keeps her readers engaged. Did I mention she does this all with innovative illustrations ? There isn’t a word in the book.

This wordless wonder is innovative and brilliantly creative as it uses clever flaps that reveal Flora and her penguin friend becoming acquaintances, drifting apart and then coming back together as only friends can do.

In her last book Flora mastered the art of ballet. In Flora and the Penguin, we find her on ice skates, twirling, leaping, and gliding and her penguin friend is up to usual penguin antics by gliding on his flippers.

The ever perfect ice-skating duo mirror each other in an exuberant ice dance.

flora-penguin dance

The penguin delighted with his new skating partner, dives into under the ice to give her the gift of a small fish. Ever disgusted at the idea of a fish, Flora throws it back into the water and gives her new friend the cold shoulder.

flora flaps

Realizing she has offended her friend she takes off her skate to use as a fishing rod, to try and capture the fish back. This in itself leads to a new adventure and back to a very funny ice dance. All’s well that ends well.

Molly Idle has a great gift of story telling. The use of flaps I think is just brilliant and engages the child as well as the adult on many levels. Flora is still one of my favorites. I can’t wait to see what happens at Caldecott time and I really can’t wait until the next Flora book.

Molly Idle began her career as an artist working for DreamWorks Feature Animation, contributing to movies including The Prince of Egypt and El Dorado. From there she leapt into the world of children’s books. She lives in Tempe, Arizona. Grab your copy of Flora HERE.

Something To Do

Though snow and ice and such are winter themes, the truth of the matter is thanks to ice skating rinks, we can go ice skating anytime we want to. To celebrate Flora and the Penguin why not head out to your local ice skating rink for an afternoon of frivolous Flora fun !!!

Once you get your balance and can stand up on ice skates, here are some really fun games for you , your family and friends to play,….oh on the ice of course.

Ice Skating Games

ice skating games

Freeze skate

This game is played similar to the classic party game of freeze dance. Instead of dancing, however, kids will skate along to the music in whatever manner they wish, perhaps while performing some of their favorite skating moves. When the music stops, all skaters must freeze in place. The last player to freeze is out. Play continues until all but one player have been called out. The last player left on the ice is the winner.

Skate Chain

Have kids line up with their hands on each other’s waists, like when forming a conga line. Play some music and have the kids wind around the rink while linked together in the chain. Gradually increase the speed of the music and challenge the chain to speed up as the music does. Any kids who let go or break the chain are out of the game. Play continues until only two players are left. They are the winners.


Have two kids stand behind the same starting line. On the start signal, these skaters may take three skating strides and then glide over the ice until they stop. The one who glides the farthest wins while the other player is out. Keep competing like this in pairs of two until everyone has had a turn. All of the winners will then compete against each other to see who can glide the farthest to win the game. To make it more challenging, you could also have the second round of skaters compete with one-foot-glides.

Ice Potato

This game is modeled after the traditional party activity of hot potato, but has been modified to play on the ice. Have your players skate freestyle around the rink. As they are skating, toss a foam ball to a random skater. That player must pass the ball off to the first player to cross his path. Kids will keep passing the ball from skater to skater until the music stops. Whoever is holding the ball when the music stops is out. Play continues in this manner until only one player is left. That skater is the winner.

Follow the Leader

This game is played very much like the well-known schoolyard game of Follow the Leader, except that it is played on the ice. To play, have skaters line up on the ice. Choose one to be the leader. That player will skate for a few feet, performing her best figure skating techniques as she does. All of the other players must follow her lead by repeating the same moves as they skate the same distance. Any player who fails to mimic the leader is out of the game. If all of the players are able to correctly follow the leader, then the leader is out and a new leader is chosen. Play continues until one player remains. That skater is the winner.

Ice Words

Write several words that have to do with ice, and ice-skating on small pieces of paper. Fold them and place them inside of an ice skate. All of the players gather on the sidelines. One player will choose a paper from the skate, look at the word (without saying it aloud) and then “spell it out” by skating. The other players must watch the motion of the skater’s feet to try and guess the word she is writing in the ice. The first player to guess correctly takes the next turn at writing a word with skates. A few suggestions for words to use include ice, skates, figure 8, rink, blade,, and a variety of common figure skating terms.

Need a last minute gift? Books always make a wonderful book for kids and A Year in the Secret Garden is a “must have” for any active family! This vibrant book is part of s huge holiday sale and is available for only $15.00 unti 12/31/14! Grab your copy of A Year in the Secret Garden  


A year in the secret garden

The post How Do You Resolve Conflict with a Penguin? Flora Knows How appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
39. Muddy Max - a graphic novel review

I have been busy lately with review and blogging obligations, as well as work and preparation for the holiday season, but I did take time out to read a copy of Elizabeth Rusch's graphic novel, Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek. Thanks to the hard-working intern who brought it to my attention and supplied me with a copy.

Rusch, Elizabeth. 2014. Muddy Max: The Mystery of Marsh Creek. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel.  Illustrated by Mike Lawrence.

Max lives in the aptly-named suburban town of Marsh Creek. In addition to the marsh on the outskirts of town, mud is everywhere in town as well, making it almost impossible for the child of neat-freak parents to stay clean!  Max becomes suspicious of his parents'secretive habits, frequent trips to the marsh, and fanatical obsession with his cleanliness.  When he accidentally discovers that mud gives him superpowers, he and his friend Patrick become determined to figure out exactly what is going on in Marsh Creek.

This is an easy-to-read graphic, sci-fi novel that should be popular with younger kids and reluctant readers. The panels are easy to follow, with simple, but expressive drawings in muted browns and grays that reflect the book's muddy locale. Hopefully, future installments will add some dimension to the Max's female friend. Not willing to completely divest herself of her nonfiction roots, Rusch adds some real science about mud and its denizens in the back matter.

I predict that more than one member of my book club will want to take this one home.  I'll have to place some holds on library copies.

A Teacher's Guide to Muddy Max is available here.

Elizabeth Rusch is also a talented author of nonfiction. Last year I reviewed her book, Volcano Rising.

0 Comments on Muddy Max - a graphic novel review as of 12/16/2014 7:40:00 AM
Add a Comment
40. Back with a Review of a Marvelous Book on Writing

My writing corner when it's tidy.
Although this is what is usually looks like.

Hello, again, at last, after the long silence. I have keenly missed blogging and connecting with blog friends, but I had to put writing first these last few weeks, and it's paid off. I finished my mystery, and now I'm doing the re-thinking, re-conceiving, additional research, etc. that is so much of the re-writing process. And I have been reading a wonderful book that I just have to share. The Art of Character, by David Corbett.

I first came across Corbett's insights in an article titled, "Characters, Scene by Scene", in the January, 2015 issue of Writer's Digest. (Yes, I know it's not January yet, but that's how magazines do things.)

In his article, Corbett emphasizes that "dimensional characters are born from drama—not description." Yes, you should know descriptive and biographical details: eye color, hair color, height, weight, hobbies, work history, biographical information, etc., but that's doesn't create characters who live and breathe. What brings them alive on the page is interaction with others in scenes that serve a purpose in the story.

To paraphrase just one of his examples: How your character looks isn't as important as, say, how her appearance makes her feel, how it makes others feel, and how this translates into behavior. The same is true of age: How does her age affect her interactions? I have to say that just reading this article inspired several insights into my main character and a couple of others, and I immediately sent off for his book, The Art of Character.   Here's the book at Amazon, although several sites sell it.                                                      
And I bought the paperback, not the kindle. (When I read something this pithy, I do a lot of underlining.)

The Art of Character does not disappoint. It's like a course in creative writing, with exercises that are challenging but oh-so useful if you want rounded out characters that truly drive your story. It's also like a course in psychology, probing your characters fears, desires, hates, loves, spirituality or lack of it. Or a course in sociology. Or philosophy. Or literature. (Corbett gives solid examples of stories, plays, novels, that illustrate the concepts he covers.)

You can tap into this book as deeply as you feel your work calls for, but the advice and insights gleaned from it are useful for any genre: light fiction, cosy mystery, MG or YA novel, literary adult fiction. It's the best book on writing I've come across in a long time. And it's the kind of book you can return to again and again.

You can visit his website to learn more about this book and the best-selling mysteries he writes. Meanwhile, I have to get back to the last chapter, the one on "voice". Happy reading.

And happy writing.

0 Comments on Back with a Review of a Marvelous Book on Writing as of 12/12/2014 8:04:00 PM
Add a Comment
41. Joan Aiken for Grown Ups…!

“It was dusk, winter dusk – snow lay white and shining over the pleated hills…”  Sound familiar? The opening lines of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase could almost describe a scene from Joan Aiken’s first adult novel, The Silence of Herondale published just two years after her most famous children’s classic.  The novel draws on […]

0 Comments on Joan Aiken for Grown Ups…! as of 12/11/2014 11:02:00 AM
Add a Comment
42. Do You Remeber the Joys of Paddington Bear? The Paddington Treasury

{Guest Post by Hannah Rials}

The Paddington Treasury by Michael Bond and illustrated by R.W. Alley is a collection of six wonderful stories from the bear that we all know and love—Paddington Brown.

Paddington Bear


This story is the introduction to Paddington Bear’s tale. In here, we meet a young bear from the Darkest Peru who is found by the Brown family in the train station where they are meeting their daughter. Mr. Brown notices the bear and asks him if he needs any help. Not only are they stunned that he can speak, but he is also very impressed with the bear’s manners. After deciding that the bear should come home with them, they name him Paddington, after the train station, and get him some tea to drink. They collect their daughter Judy and Paddington, who makes a mess of his tea and snacks, and take a taxi back to their home where their son and nanny, Mrs. Bird, are waiting. At the Brown’s house, he impresses Mrs. Bird with his very fine manners and experiences his first bath, where he again makes a mess of bubbles, shaving cream, and other bathroom materials. Paddington ends his first day with the Browns by starting to share his story, but ends up falling asleep in their extremely immensely arm chair.

The Paddington Treasury

Something To Do Activitiy

Paddington’s Marmalade**A recipe for Paddington’s Orange Marmalade:
Paddington looovveess his orange Marmalade! Here’s how you can create your own from the Food Network:

Orange Marmalade

2. Paddington at the Palace
Mr. Gruber takes Paddington to the place so that he can see the changing of the guards. When they first arrive, he sees a figure in one of the windows, and waves his British flag just in case it is the queen, who happens to be in the castle on this particular day. As the parade starts, Paddington is unable to see over the heads of the people in front of him, and by the time he crawls his way to the front under people’s legs, the parade has passed—he didn’t get to see a single guard. Before Paddington and Mr. Gruber leave, they are invited onto the grounds so that they can take a proper picture for Paddington’s scrapbook—the queen must have seen him waving his flag for her.
Fun Facts about the English Flag:
The flag of the United Kingdom is commonly called “Union Jack.”
The three colors—red, blue, and white—represent the three countries under one ruler, England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
The flags of the three countries became combined under the rule of Queen Anne Bolenyn in 1801.
The red cross is England’s flag. The white and blue X is Scotland’s flag, and the red X is Northern Ireland’s flag. Together, they make the Union’s flag.

3. Paddington at the Zoo
Judy and Jonathan decide to take Paddington for a zoo day. Paddington decides to make six marmalade sandwiches in case they get hungry. However, the day does not start off right. When they arrive at the zoo, the guard announces that pets are not allowed in the zoo. Offended, Paddington stares hard at the guard until he lets them pass. Inside, he takes pictures with each of the animals—parrots, donkey, elephant, lion, and penguins. Each time, the animals take a sandwich, and his last sandwich is stolen by a man in the penguin exhibit. At the end of the day, looking back at the pictures, Paddington decides to put the picture of him with parrot in his scrapbook because the parrot is the only one who said thank you for his sandwich.

A recipe for Cheese and Marmalade sandwich:

cheese and marmalade sandwich

4. Paddington in the Garden
Paddington is very thankful for the Brown’s garden. It is very beautiful and peaceful, even with the building area nearby. Mrs. Bird decides that it will be a good idea to let Paddington, Judy, and Jonathan have a piece of the garden for themselves to take care of and keep them out of trouble. Judy decides to plant flowers. Jonathan arranges tiles for a fountain, but Paddington has no clue. So he goes in search of ideas. In the market, he finds a book on gardening that talks about looking at your garden from up high to get ideas. Paddington goes to the construction site near the Brown’s house, setting his marmalade down so that he may climb high while the workers are on their tea break. When the laborers begin to work again, his marmalade is knocked over and stains a pile of concrete orange. Instead of throwing the concrete away, as the workers would have otherwise had to do, they let Paddington take them back to the Brown’s, where he makes a rock garden, finished off with some plants that the workers give him. On National Garden day, Paddington’s garden wins first prize, with a gold star due to his extraordinary orange stones.
How to make your own piece of a garden —
1. Ask yourself…what do you want to plant?
2. Picture how you want your garden to look.
3. Make sure everything is planned out and has enough room to grow.
4. Plant and watch the miracle of life!
5. Paddington and the Marmalade Maze
Mr. Gruber takes Paddington for another outing to Hampton Court Palace. Here they see the various rooms, the huge beds, the tall fireplaces, and the orange fish in the pond. Before they leave to go home, Mr. Gruber says that they must go through the maze, even though some people get stuck for hours. A group of tourists overhears them and wishes to see a real english home. In order to lose the group—so that Mrs. Bird will not get angry at them for bringing a big group back to the house—Paddington tricks them into the maze where they get lost. In order to find his way out, Paddington leaves a trail of Marmalade to follow—a trick he learned from his Aunt Lucy, that and keeping a spare marmalade sandwich in case of emergencies.
—What have you learned from your family?
All families have tricks that have passed down through the generations, whether it be recipes, every day tips, or history. So what have you learned?
6. Paddington the Artist
Mr. Gruber takes Paddington to an outside Exhibition, but Paddington does not enjoy any of the paintings that are for sale. Instead, he decides to paint pictures of his own. He paints a sunset, rain, and a self portrait. But the sunset becomes dark before he can finish. And it rained on his painting of the rain. And Paddington could not for the life of him remember what he looked like, even though he kept looking at himself in the mirror. He sets up an exhibition of his own outside his house to sell his paintings, but he falls asleep in the warm afternoon. When he wakes up, all of his paintings are gone, and an envelope of cash rests in his coat pocket. But Paddington does not need to know that Mr. Gruber was the recipient of all of Paddington’s paintings.

—Painting and never giving up.
Painting is not as easy as it seems. But painting is a great outlet for feelings and experiences. Even if you are not the best painter in the world, you can still paint. Artists don’t paint for every one else. They paint for themselves. Never forget that. Paint whenever and whatever you want, and never ever give up!

Thanks for reading!


Born in the hills of Louisiana and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, Hannah Rials is an eighteen year old aspiring author and editor. Now a freshman in college, she’s been writing short stories since she was a little girl, but for the past several years, she has been writing, editing, and reediting a novel of her own that will soon be published by Audrey Press. Hannah has always loved reading and the world of books. With a librarian grandmother who can tell the most magical stories, how could she not fall in love with the written word? Her library collection and love for books grows every day.

The post Do You Remeber the Joys of Paddington Bear? The Paddington Treasury appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
43. What would you do with a Dreidel that doesn’t Spin ?

It’s nearly Hanukkah time once again and do I have a most magical tale to share with you!

The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard is a precious tale which shares an important message of the heart.


Two days before Hanukkah, a peddler goes to the toymakers shop and sells him a beautifully painted wooden dreidel. This particular dreidel comes just in time because the shop keeper had sold his last dreidel.

“Remember,” said the peddler. “That the miracle of Hanukkah cannot be bought. ”

In a strange series of events, two different children bought the dreidel and then returned it the next day insisting the dreidel didn’t spin. How does a dreidel not spin?


Each time the shop keeper refunded the customers money. He himself would try spinning the dreidel and it always spun perfectly with no problems.

Later that same afternoon, a man and a boy came to the shop looking in the windows. They were very poor wearing ill fitted and patch clothing. They had no money but the shopkeeper invited them in any way just to look around. The young boy was delighted in all that he saw and wanted nothing, just the joy of looking at everything.


The shopkeeper was so touched that he gave the boy the beautiful dreidel that wouldn’t spin for the other children. The shopkeeper told him that the dreidel was broken but this very special boy could make it spin. The boy with the golden heart could spin the dreidel. As the dreidel spun and landed it left a special message but I’ve told you enough of the story now. I’ll leave that for you to discover on your own.

This book is magically written and the story masterfully told. Durga Yael Benhard’s illustrations are colorful and captivating bringing this tale of the heart to life.

Pssst: Would you like to WIN a copy of “Dreidel?” Starting tomorrow (12-10-14) I will be giving away a copy of this wonderful book along with other lovely Wisdom Tales Press titles! Remember, this giveaway won’t be live until Wednesday, but be sure and stop back to enter to WIN!

Wisdom Tale Press Giveaway

Something To Do

Though I’m not Jewish, I can share that our best friends are and we’ve celebrated Hanukkah with them for years and years. Hanukkah is December 16th-24th this year !!!

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights. Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, celebrating a miracle which happened a long time ago.

In 165 BC the Greek Emperor captured the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. A group of brave Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees recaptured the temple. As they were re-dedicating the Jewish Temple, they only had enough olive oil to light the sacred lamp, the menorah, for on day. This little bit of oil ended up lasting for eight days and nights. During Hanukkah a new candle is lit each night for eight nights.

Latkes Recipe


One of our favorite parts of the Hanukkah celebration is our friend Suzie’s Latke party. Latkes are potato pancakes. Here’s her fabulous recipe. Enjoy !!!


1 -1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour (or more)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

In a food processor grate the potatoes. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and transfer potatoes to the sieve. Set sieve over a bowl, twist cheesecloth into a pouch, squeezing out some moisture. Let mixture drain for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour off liquid from the bowl but leave the white potato starch that settles in the bottom of the bowl.

To that starch add shallots, eggs, flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper. Return drained potatoes to this mixture and toss to combine.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking pan with paper towels. When you are ready to eat, in a large skillet heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of potato mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes a side; latkes should be golden and crisp on both sides. Eat right away or keep warm in oven. Serve with applesauce or sour cream or cottage cheese mixed with sour cream.

Dreidels and Chocolate


One of the nights of Hanukkah we head over to the Roseman’s for dinner, and some serious dreidel spinning and geld ( chocolate gold coins) eating.

The dreidel is a four-sided top which has four distinct letters in Hebrew on each side. The object of the game is to spin the dreidel and collect coins or candy depending upon what letter appears after each spin.

Each side of your dreidel will need to have on it one of the following Hebrew letters;

נ (Nun)

ג (Gimel

ה (Hei)

ש (Shin)


You can make your own Dreidel here.



Here’s how to play

Each player starts with some gelt (or money, sweets or counters). Each player puts one coin into the pot in the centre. The players take it in turns to spin the dreidel, following the instructions of the letter which lands facing up.

נ = Nit (Nothing), play passes to next player.

ג = Gants (all), the player takes all of the pot.

ה = Half, the player takes half of the pot.

ש = Put, the player puts all of his coins into the pot.

Play can go either for a set amount of time or until one player has won all of the coins.

Make a Hand Print Menorah

It wouldn’t be the Festival of Lights without a Menorah. Here’s a great way to remember your little ones as they grow and celebrate at the same time. You can find it here.



FREE GIFT from Jump Into a Book!

Free Activity Book – Celebrating A Santa Lucia Christmas

Free Activity Book – Celebrating A Santa Lucia Christmas

Click the picture and sign up to get your Free copy of this family fun-filled activity book!

Need gift ideas for Christmas? Give the gift of education and guidance with Donna Ashton’s The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook Now available through Audrey Press Books!

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post What would you do with a Dreidel that doesn’t Spin ? appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
44. Jackaby by William Ritter

2014, Algonquin Young Readers

All Abigail Rook wants is to live the life of adventure her father instilled in her.  When she leaves Europe to come to America in 1892, she finds more than she could have imagined….

Nearly penniless and without a place to stay, Abigail sets foot into the city of New Fiddleham hoping work is plentiful but finding nothing but the oddest man she’s ever met.  People tell her he’s a sham, others say he has a gift, still others won’t even say his name…Jackaby.  Abigail tends to believe what they say when her first encounter with him involves him seeing all sorts of fairy creatures hiding within the folds of her skirt.  With what little money she has, she finds a room for the night hoping the next day will prove more fruitful.

The next morning proves just as dismal as her entrance, with little to no job offers available until Abigail notices an ad for an assistant for an investigative services.  Immediately going the address all she can hope is that the job isn’t filled.  When she rings the bell of the odd house she’s standing in front of, Jackaby appears on the other side.  His is a job that can solve incidents using not only the power of deductive reasoning, but also using his skills at detecting creatures from ghosts to trolls to banshees and more.  Both of them are uncertain about the other (Is he off his rocker? Can she handle the duties involved with the job?) but a murder of dire concern needs his utmost attention, and Abigail follows along, hoping to impress her potential employer.

At the scene of the murder, Jackaby realizes this isn’t just a murder, but one involving a dangerous creature others cannot detect.  Clues left behind are important, but more important are the auras Jackaby sees leading him further down the dark and dangerous path to find the creature who is craving new victims and the reason behind it.  Along with a young police officer named Charlie, who hides a secret of his own, the trio begins this supernatural investigation that could lead to their untimely demise.  All isn’t what it seems and Abigail learns not only more about Jackaby and his peculiarities, but also something about herself as well. 

This is a brilliant book that entwines historical fiction with hints of mystery and fantasy all blended into one amazing adventure the reader becomes a part of right from the start.  The author, William Ritter, uses descriptive language to create that dark mood and setting but has the ability to use his main character for a break from the dark and dangerous, creating a balance of edge-of-your-seat action with those smiles that occur when Jackaby shows his quirks and curiosities.  Along with the plot, Ritter creates a character in the architecture as well, creating a mansion Jackaby lives in more than meets the eye.  With all of this combined, it makes for a quick read and a hope that there are other adventures Jackaby and Abigail will share with new fans.  New England and YA readers, meet a new breed of Holmes and Watson!  Recommended 7-12 grades

Book pairs:
Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Ripper by Stefan Petrucha

0 Comments on Jackaby by William Ritter as of 11/29/2014 9:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
45. Book Review: Superfab Saves the Day

If you love super-hero books, here is a super-fun one with a twist. Superfab is the best-dressed superhero around. He's got a walk-in closet, an extensive collection of outfits, and fabulous style to boot. The only problem is, he can't leave his house to go fight crime until he has the perfect outfit ––and sometimes that takes awhile. It often takes so long that by the time he arrives at the scene of a crime, another superhero has already gotten the job done.

Superfab finds himself less and less in demand, until one day he gets called to help out in a crisis where all other superheroes have been defeated –– and he discovers that his exquisite sense of style is just the weapon he needs to beat (and befriend) this particular monster.

Published by Owl Kids and written by Jean Leroy, this fun, quirky superhero story will have the reader rooting for the underdog and celebrating Superfab's unique pizazz. 

The whimsical illustrations, by Bérengre Delaporte, are loose and childlike in their colored-pencil style, filling the page with lots of hidden details and energy. And Leroy's fresh approach redefines the traditional superhero and shows the value of embracing your own unique interests and talents.

0 Comments on Book Review: Superfab Saves the Day as of 11/30/2014 3:29:00 PM
Add a Comment
46. You Can’t Pay for This

Well, actually you can. People buy reviews all the time – even Kirkus is happy to take money from indie authors to furnish them with a glowing review. Which makes this honest-to-God-they-really-like-me review from Publishers Weekly on Friday even more wonderful: Though first-time author Petersen’s story flits through time and space, it’s easy to follow, […]

0 Comments on You Can’t Pay for This as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
47. How Do We Change Mine into Ours? The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston

Today we are venturing to the land and country of Lebanon and reading a most enduring and powerful story about sharing and restoration called The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston and Illustrated by Claire Ewart.

The Olive Tree

For many years Sameer lived next to an empty house which had been deserted during the Lebanese civil war. One day the family returns and with them came their daughter Muna. There is a quiet politeness between the two families. Respectful and polite but not friendly.

Separating the two houses is a stone wall and a very old olive tree. The trunk of the tree is on Muna’s side of the stone wall and the branches hung over Sameer’s side of the wall.

Muna feeling the tree is hers because the trunk is on her side of the fence, forbids Sameer to pick up the fallen olives which have dropped on his side of the wall.

Now no one benefited from the olives as they lie on the ground rotting.

One night a storm destroys the tree, leaving nothing left to fight over.

Both Sameer and Muna feel the loss of their ancient friend the olive tree. Trying to make Muna feel better Sameer said, ” At least you’ll have firewood. ” Sameer then started picking up wood chunks and quietly placing them by the side of Muna’s house.

Muna started picking up wood and branches and stacking wood next to Sameer’s house. Quietly they put their differences aside, stacking wood at each other’s houses until all the wood was picked up. Muna picked up the fallen olives and laid them on a chair outside of Sameer’s house.

Finally in one last gesture, they decided to plant a new olive tree between the houses so each family could benefit.

This story is beautifully and simply told. It tugs at the heart-strings and encourages all of us to do better, be generous, and work together. Along with Elsa Marston poignant story are exquisite illustrations by Claire Ewart which bring the story to life and gives us a glimpse into the beautiful country of Lebanon.

I highly recommend the The Olive Tree. It’s one that will grace our coffee table for years to come.

A Closer Look

Some of you may know this and for some this might be news. My husband is from Lebanon and I’m happy to say that I have visited this country for nearly 30 years. It is beautiful in it’s variety of terrain. It’s largest city, Beirut sits on the Mediterranean Sea but Lebanon also hosts very high mountains with forests of pine and cedar trees. It is totally possible to be skiing in the mountains and looking at the sea below.

We have many wonderful family memories of Lebanon and olive picking season is one of them. The harvest has just finished and it brings to mind one of the oldest olive groves on the earth which just happens to be in Lebanon.

Noah’s Olive Trees

There is a grove of ancient trees way up north in the mountains of Lebanon. It is known that these are the very trees that a dove took a branch in it’s beak to bring to Noah to show him the flood waters had subsided and land had been found. For thousands of years these trees have seen, feast, famine, good times, war, and in a simple word, life. To this day the trees still bear fruit and they press olive oil from it.

Here’s a look at these old and beautiful giants who carry such a large lineage.

Noah's Olive Tree 1

noah's olive trees 2

noah's olive trees 3

noah's olive trees 4

noah's olive trees5

noah's olive trees 6

just a note: Because of the incredible difficulties the countries of Lebanon and Syria are facing these days I am not giving the specific location of these trees. I want to protect them for future generations and keep them from harms way.

Something to Do

Fun facts about Olives

Olives have been a staple in the Mediterranean for at least 5,000 years.

Olive trees may live to be 1500 years old, the average life span is about 500 years. There are olive trees in Lebanon and on the island of Crete that are at least 5000 years old.

Over 90% of world olive production is used to make oil, and almost 98% of the acreage is in the Mediterranean region.

Green olives are picked early in the season and black olives are picked later in the season as they have ripened and turned black.

California is the only state where olives are grown commercially.

There are 500 million olive trees in Europe, and 50 million in California. California produces less than 5% of the world crop, but it produces more than 70% of the ripe olives consumed in the U.S.

How to Cure Olives


Olives can’t be eaten right off the tree. The fruit of an olive tree is known as a drupe. It is very very very bitter and needs to be picked or cured. I couldn’t leave you today with out our family olive curing recipe.

1 pound of green olives
1 pound of black olives
Lemon wedges
2 tablespoons rock salt per 1 cup of water

Green olives are picked before they ripen. To prepare green olives, wash and then soak in water for 2 days – this helps remove any bitterness. Change the water at least twice a day.

Place the olives in sterilized jars with lemon wedges and cover with brine. Add a little olive oil on top, and seal. Leave them at least for 1 month before eating.

Black olives are picked at harvest time. Rub with coarse salt, cover with water and set aside for about 4 days. Place the olives with lemon wedges in sterilized jars and cover with brine. Add a little olive oil on top, and seal. Leave for at least 1 month before eating.

Added kick: You can put a hot pepper in the brine mix as the olives cure or pickle. It will make your pickles spicy with a kick but not too spicy.


**some of these links are affiliate links

Don’t Miss this Extended CyberMonday DEAL! Starting Sunday, November 30th through December 7th you can get the Cyber Monday price!

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook $15.00

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

The post How Do We Change Mine into Ours? The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

Add a Comment
48. The Terrible Two - a review

Barnett, Mac and Jory John. 2014. The Terrible Two. New York: Amulet.

Miles is moving away from his beloved home at the beach to Yawnee Valley, where the slogan is "Come Look at our Cows."  Miles Murphy, the best-known prankster at his old school, will be attending the Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy,

     Miles awoke with a sense of dread.  He opened his eyes and stared at his blank ceiling.  Last night he'd dreamed it had all been a dream, and now he wished he were still dreaming.
     Miles shut his eyes tight.  He tried to fall back asleep, but downstairs he could hear his mother shuffling around the kitchen, preparing breakfast.  Breakfast smelled like eggs. And cows. Although that might have just been the cows.
     Miles ate his eggs.  They tasted like dread, although that might've just been the dread.

When he's paired up with the insufferable school helper, Niles Sparks, Miles thinks things can't get worse, but they do. Someone else in school is a prankster, and whoever it is, he's outpranking Miles.

What's the best part about pulling a great prank?  Getting away with it, or getting credit for it?  Miles is about to find out!

This illustrated novel is the first in a series that's sure to appeal to middle-grade jokers and pranksters.  The writing style is conversationally funny with great black-and-white illustrations that add to the humor, A goofy, cud-chewing cow with a bell stands in a pasture adorning half of page one, which reads,

Welcome to Yawnee Valley, an idyllic place with rolling green hills that slope down to creeks, and cows as far as the eye can see. There's one now.
The Terrible Two has more than just humor. There are some intricate pranks woven into the plot, and there are well-developed characters in Miles, Niles, and Principal Barkin - all of whom are sure to reappear in future installments. It's got more text and fewer illustrations, but this series should be popular with Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans.

I have to add that this book had the best Advance Reader Copy promotion ever!  I was totally pranked!  I received a large box in the mail marked "Perishable."  Inside was the big milk carton, and inside the milk carton was my copy of The Terrible Two, a coffee cup featuring cartoon images of the authors, and a signed certificate from The International Order of Disorder proclaiming the holder to be "a distinguished member of the International Order of Disorder."  I will raffle this off to the members of my book club.  Someone is going to be as happy as a cow in a cornfield!

Advance Reader Copy supplied (with coffee cup and milk carton) by the publisher.

0 Comments on The Terrible Two - a review as of 12/3/2014 6:59:00 AM
Add a Comment
49. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

2014, Candlewick Press

It began with the beautiful marriage between Beauregard Roux and Maman in the mid-late 1800s.  He, with his big personality, and she with her small one.  Beauregard's dream was someday to move to the American city of Manhatine and eventually this became reality.  Between the dream and reality came four beautiful children to the couple.  Emilienne was the first and she would fall in love exactly three times.  Rene was next, and he was so beautiful people would stare when he passed by.  Margeaux was the third and devoutly followed Emilienne's footsteps.  Pierette was the baby and the tiniest fragile creature of the four siblings.

Reality hit hard when the Roux family moved to Manhatine.  Living in squalor and a filthy tenement, the children didn't understand why anyone would consider this paradise.  When you live in a place like this, things get worse most of the time instead of better.  Death took most of the family, and Emilienne knew she had to escape.  She found her way out of the tenements and into the lush, green world of Seattle,  where she started her own family in a periwinkle house on Pinnacle Lane.

Life didn't come easy for Emilienne but she braved through the storms and eventually had a baby girl named Viviane.  She was a bright and intelligent girl and was talented in many ways like her mother, but was especially gifted at being able to attune her sense of smell to not only people, but situations as well.  Rain would smell different during the seasons.  And the love of her life would always smell of soap and Turtle Wax.  Their love produced a set of twins, Ava and Henry, both of them carrying on the uniqueness of the Roux side of the family.

Ava was born with wings, and Henry was born not wanting to be touched or to talk.  Hers was a gift people could see, while his was a talent not fully understood until that tragic day....a very tragic day for the Lavenders...

Leslye Walton writes such a beautiful story filled with allegories, metaphors and lyrical writing.  It's in her writing that the characters fully form in all of their gloriousness as well as the juxtapositions she explores in the settings and personalities found in the book.  Walton's book is meant to be read, but it should be read not only with the eyes, but the soul as well.  Not only meant for teens, this is a novel that adults, especially those who enjoy depth, will love.  No wonder this is a finalist on YALSA's Morris List (new debut authors).  I LOVED this book!!  HIGHLY Recommended high school and up.

Link to a book trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDF-B4n6mEs

0 Comments on The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender as of 12/4/2014 12:27:00 PM
Add a Comment
50. Mayday Book Review

Title: Mayday Author: Jonathan Friesen Publisher: Speak Publication Date: April 10, 2014 ISBN-13: 320 pp. ARC provided by author The premise for Jonathan Friesen's Mayday is pretty intriguing. Eighteen-year-old Crow tries to protect her sister Addy, but ends up in a coma. During that coma, she has the chance to go on a "walkabout," an opportunity to go back in the past and change things.

0 Comments on Mayday Book Review as of 12/7/2014 6:43:00 PM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts