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Results 26 - 50 of 2,493
26. Children's Picture Book Review - The Adventures of Wally and Warren: The Reluctant Penguin



The Adventures of Wally and Warren Series: The Reluctant Penguin by Lise Chase

The Adventures of Wally and Warren continue wit their love of books. Hunkering down for bedtime, Warren is determined to read a bedtime story. Remembering how mom taught him how to sound out the words he is confident he can do it. Not to be thwarted by Wally’s negativity of anything Warren wants to try himself, Warren puts his best foot forward to each task Warren’s attempts are admirable. Does Wally ever learn that one must try new things to expand their horizons or does Wally remain wrapped up in his self-doubt?

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Lise Chase expertly creates a world of positive outlook of doing versus others negativity.

Visit the author/illustrator at https://www.facebook.com/lise.chase.9?fref=ts

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Best wishes,
Donna M. McDine
Multi Award-winning Children's Author

Ignite curiosity in your child through reading!

Connect with
A Sandy Grave ~ January 2014 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ 2014 Purple Dragonfly 1st Place Picture Books 6+, Story Monster Approved, Beach Book Festival Honorable Mention 2014, Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Powder Monkey ~ May 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Favorite Five Star Review

Hockey Agony ~ January 2013 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. ~ Story Monster Approved and Reader's Farvorite Five Star Review

The Golden Pathway ~ August 2010 ~ Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.
~ Literary Classics Silver Award and Seal of Approval, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention and Dan Poynter's Global e-Book Awards Finalist

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27. Book Review- Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy

Title: Tanith Low in The Maleficent Seven
 Author:  Derek Landy
Series:  Skullduggery Pleasant 7.5
Published:  8 May 2014 by Harper
Length: 283 pages
Source: publisher
Other info: Landy has also written a lot of Skullduggery Pleasant novels, the world of which this book is set.
Summary : This time, the bad guys take the stage. Tanith Low, now possessed by a remnant, recruits a gang of villains – many of whom will be familiar from previous Skulduggery adventures – in order to track down and steal the four God-Killer level weapons that could hurt Darquesse when she eventually emerges. Also on the trail of the weapons is a secret group of Sanctuary sorcerers, and doing his best to keep up and keep Tanith alive is one Mister Ghastly Bespoke. When the villains around her are lying and scheming and plotting, Tanith needs to stay two steps ahead of her teammates and her enemies. After all, she's got her own double-crosses to plan – and she’s a villain herself.

Review: Tanith Low has a remnant inside of her, which made her stronger and more powerful and more suited to . Two teams of seven want a set of God Killers, and
I was very excited to read this. I've been recommended Skullduggery Pleasant for years, (and apologies, I still haven't read it) and one of the key things I’ve noticed people like is the world. This being sent to me for review, and this being set in the same world, I was looking forwards to this.
The world building lives up to its hype, incorporating a mix of the folk tales, and more traditional fantasy staples.
I liked Tanith's backstory and the meaning for her name. I l liked all the major characters, especially Tanith, Sabine and Jack, and they were well fleshed out,  and I'm looking forwards to seeing more of them when I (eventually) get round to reading the Skullduggery Pleasant books.
The book is short (well, nearly 300 pages, but it feels short) and pacy, and I feel the overall story was quite simple, but I liked fact that the characters and their views on what they were doing add conflict and interest. I thought the  dialogue felt quite samey, sassy, and funny, in some places, especially  when comparing the two teams' interactions, but I liked the characters too much to mind. 

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to an action led novel in a world I’d love to return to one day.

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28. Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt Book Review and Activity

Many of you may be aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it is also National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. I was blessed to receive this wonderful book, Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt, and I thought this would be the perfect time to shine the spotlight on this well-written tale of bullying and learning from our mistakes.

Rhyme schemer

Kevin Jamison rules the school as a big, mean bully. The beginning of his poetry journal talks about all the kids he picks on—Giant John, Freckle-Faced Kelly, Harry (his teacher’s mole). His parents are doctors, and even though they make a lot of money, Kevin does not consider himself rich. No one notices that he exists, and when they do, it’s only to acknowledge his mistakes. He has four brother’s, and he is the “mistake baby.” So this complicated middle-schooler takes his frustration out through poetry. He has a talent for picking out words in pages of books and turning them into unique poems.

However, when his older brother Petey throws his poetry journal out of the car window on the way to school, Kevin’s position as king of the school takes a downward spiral. One of the boys that he bullies, Robin, finds the notebook and begins to copy pages of poems and secrets for the whole school to see. Kevin switches from bully to bullied. The school begins to torture him; Robin wants to become the poet bandit—ripping pages out of books and creating poems to post around the school—but he wants Kevin to create them. Blackmailed by his poetry journal of secrets, Kevin has no choice but to submit to Robin, which eventually leads to him getting caught. Once Kevin sinks into his darkest place, a few faithful friends who can see past his rock hard outer shell pull him back into the light by recognizing his unique poetry talent. His librarian forces his family to see his talent, which in turn allows him to find faith in himself. Once he finds faith in himself, life only shoots up from there.

Rhyme schemer
I have never read any story of this sort—a story written in verse. I love the fact that Kevin’s poetry inches slowly from words in short lines to actual, rhyming poetry I did not think I’d like it, since I’m not a huge poetry fan, but this story was wonderful. K.A. Holt tells a wonderful story of a bully turning into the bullied. We see the outside forces that go into bullying and how hard it is for middle-grade children to deal with this sort of pain.

Bullying is a much larger problem than people make it out to be nowadays. Whether it is mean comments, physical abuse, blackmail….bullying is problem that needs to be addressed. Encourage children to speak up for themselves and their friends if they are being victimized. If they don’t feel like they can speak, show them different ways to share what is happening to them—like Kevin’s journal.

While Holt’s simplistic plot resolves a bit too neatly, this transformative tale offers important lessons for all persuasions of middle graders, whether bullies or targets, complicit or horrified bystanders.-Kirkus Reviews

Grab your copy of Rhyme Schemer HERE.

Something To Do

This is basically the type of poetry that Kevin composed, except with this, we are not going to deface books—because that is just wrong. With chance poetry. You have a pile of random, set words, and you are allowed to put the words in any order they want. Watch amazing poetry appear before your eyes!
2. Convert Old Books into Personal Journals: Run to Radiance

Making-books-into-journals

3. Host a Poetry Reading

  • Invite your friends and have them bring some of their favorite prose with
  • Make Coffee (Decaf for our young, aspiring poets)
  • Have muffins, scones, and other goodies
  • Have fun!

4. How Bullying Feels: This is a very compelling video from Pacer.org that I highly recommend families watch together.

What bullying resources would you like to share?

**some of these links are affiliate links

 

Now Available! The newest children’s book from Audrey Press. Click the image below for more details.

A Year in the Secret Garden.

A Year in the Secret garden

*JIAB received this book to review. These opinions and reviews are our own.

The post Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt Book Review and Activity appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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29. Kishaz Reading Corner: MAID in the USA (The BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES Series Book 2)


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

About the Book

WHO EVER SAID BILLIONAIRE BACHELORS AND MODEST MAIDS DON'T MIX? 

Celine Santini couldn't have been more shocked when billionaire bachelor Pierce D'Amato offers her a job as nanny to his four-year-old charge. After all, he hardly even knows her. But after finding herself thrown into an unexpectedly intimate encounter with him, are they really strangers? Celine is captivated by the green-eyed heartthrob who takes her heart ransom but how can she give in to her feelings when they're from two totally different worlds?

From the first day he lays eyes on the dark-eyed beauty, Pierce D'Amato knows he is lost. He immediately devises a plan to get her under his roof...and it works. But the more he gets to know the sweetly seductive Celine Santini the more he realizes there's a lot more to this woman than he could ever have imagined. Her intriguing combination of sophistication and innocence keeps him forever off-balance and, before he knows it, his bachelor heart turns traitor. The heart knows what the heart wants and it wants Celine Santini...whatever the cost.

A thrilling romance with twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages...

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating:  4 stars

Here's why:

All though there are a few cliches in this story, I gave it 4 stars because of the flow, characters and the overall warm fuzzy feeling it gave me when I reached the happily ever after ending.

I've been on a bit of a romance kick as of late and so I'm looking for that special something in the story. I will admit that I wanted to see Celine be a little bit more wary about Pierce's initial offer but other than that, I thought her reactions and behavior fit the story.

Pierce was interesting because he defied my idea of what kind of person/character he was going to be when he started waving around money and telling Celine that he needed her help. He was a little high-handed but that passed as the story unfolded.

Would I recommend this? Yes, I would.


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30. Book Review: Dojo Daycare


I've been meaning to share this gem of a picture book for some time. Dojo Daycare, written and illustrated by Chris Tougas is published by Owlkids Books


There is so much to love in this smart, modern, and funny rhyming picture book. It is paced beautifully and you can feel the tempo pick up and then settle down for the ending. I found the framework of the dojo daycare and sympathetic storyline toward the 'master' really inventive. My kids (5 and 3 years old) love rereading to follow the smaller details and mini-plots. 


You can track each ninja and their ninja pets at home, the bear as he gets pulled apart (and see where he ends up!), and my kids' favorite part - see the little green fluff coming from one little ninja. Yup. It's a silent but HILARIOUS surprise when you figure out how that last fight starts. 

I was given a review copy by the publisher, but my words and opinions are my own.

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31. Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2014: Oct part 2


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

About the Book

Love is the Biggest Gamble of All . . . 

Cocktail waitress Sophie Dalton doesn't exactly have a life plan. She's perfectly happy being everyone's favorite party girl. But when a Las Vegas bachelorette party goes awry and an uptight businessman mistakes Sophie for a prostitute . . . well, Sophie wonders if it's time to reevaluate her priorities. Swearing off her thigh-high boots for good, Sophie slinks back home with damaged pride-and a jackpot of a hangover.

Yet what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there. On a trip to Seattle to open a new office, Grayson Wyatt meets his latest employee-who turns out to be the same woman he recently called a hooker. Wealthy and gorgeous, Gray is a man used to getting what he wants. And it doesn't take long to figure out that smart, sassy, sexy Sophie is everything he's been looking for. As their late nights at the office turn into hot morning-afters, they realize their Vegas misunderstanding may lead to the real thing . . .

Buy the Book


Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4.5 stars

Here's why:

I was expecting a little of the same-old song and dance when it came to this but I got a fireworks show instead and loved every minute of it.

Sophie is the kind of character that you don't see every day in stories. She has issues and yet, she is very sensitive to those around her to point of not taking care of her own emotional needs. She has spunk, yet a vulnerability that kept me glued to my seat as eagerly read through the story.

Gray drove me bonkers because I've met people like him and the urge to shake some emotion into him made me scream in frustration on more than one occasion. At the end of the day, you find out some surprising things about Gray and sympathy as well as a reluctant cheering him on develops.

The two were fantastic as a couple and the humor as well as snappy dialogue between the two was well-written.

The secondary characters were no slouches either. Overall, everything from the plot to the characters to the scenery were awesome and I would willing come back for more.

Would I recommend this? That's a resounding YES!

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32. The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta Book Review & Activities

I’d like to thank authors Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta for sharing their book The Diwali Gift with me.

dewali

In the Diwali Gift , three curious monkeys, Suno, Dekho, and Jaano get together for a playdate when a mysterious box from their grandmother appears.

What could be inside ?

Sparklers ? Bracelets ? Small lights known as divas?

No none of the above.

Inside is something very special to use on the night of Diwali. A special something which grants the owner their wishes to come true.  To find out what the special something is, you’ll have to read the book.

This book is a simple and lovely story that invites us to share in the Hindu festival of Diwali. The Diwali Gift is fun, entertaining, and wonderfully educational. One truly feels the spirit, anticipation and festive feeling of the holiday.

From Wikipedia:

“Diwali also known as Deepavali and the “festival of lights”, is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair.The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period, but the main festival night of Diwali coincides with the darkest, new moon night of the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. In the Gregorian calendar, Diwali night falls between mid-October and mid-November.

Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate their homes. On Diwali night, Hindus dress up in new clothes or their best outfit, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their home, participate in family puja typically to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity. After puja (prayers), fireworks follow, then a family feast including mithai (sweets), and an exchange of gifts between family members and close friends. Diwali also marks a major shopping period in nations where it is celebrated.”

The illustrations by Anna Koan are fun and captivating.  There is a glossary in the back of the book as well as an explanation of Diwali and how one celebrates it.

dewali2

I advise reading the glossary before hand so you can clarify the story when reading it to children.  I greatly enjoyed this book and would recommend it.

Book Review – The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta & a Giveaway
The Diwali Gifts is a contemporary and fun book and is also a great tool for explaining Diwali to young readers. The Diwali Gift does a wonderful job of holding reader’s attention and making Diwali fun!
dewali1
About the Authors and 3 Curious Monkeys:3 Curious Monkeys is a California based start-up that was started by Indian moms Shuchi Mehta and Shweta Chopra. 3 Curious Monkeys creates  interactive digital toys and books for kids and this company was born out of need and passion to bring the sights, sounds and vitality of multicultural and multi-hued India to children all over the world with fun characters that encourage them to see, hear and learn more!

Somethings To Do:

Kim Vij  from The Educator’s Spin on it has some really wonderful Diwali Activities.

Have a look at how the Activity Village celebrated Diwali.

3 Curious Monkey’s has a wonderful Dress Up Party app on iTunes

Playing dress up is always fun. But its even more fun dressing up your favorite monkey in traditional Indian fabrics and accessories while learning to compliment in eight different languages. (for ages 4-8). Download the App HERE.

dewali3

Need more gift ideas? Books are always a great choice! NOW AVAILABLE!

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook by Donna Ashton.

The Waldorf Homeschool Handbook

 

The post The Diwali Gift by Shweta Chopra and Shuchi Mehta Book Review & Activities appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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33. Mr. Ferris and His Wheel - a review

Davis, Kathryn Gibbs. 2014. Mr. Ferris and his Wheel. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Illustrated by Gilbert Ford.

Though written in a fully illustrated, engaging and narrative nonfiction style, Mr. Ferris and his Wheel is nevertheless, a well-sourced and researched picture book for older readers.

The story of the 1863, Chicago World's Fair debut of the world's first Ferris wheel (or Monster Wheel, as Mr. Ferris originally named it),  is told in a flowing and entertaining style,
     George arrived in Chicago and made his case to the construction chief of the fair.
     The chief stared at George's drawings.  No one had ever created a fair attraction that huge and complicated.  The chief told George that his structure was "so flimsy it would collapse."
     George had heard enough.  He rolled up his drawings and said, "You are an architect, sir. I am an engineer."
     George knew something the chief did not.  His invention would be delicate-looking and strong.  It would be both stronger and lighter than the Eiffel Tower because it would be built with an amazing new metal—steel.
and

it contains sidebars that impart more technical information that might otherwise interrupt the flow of the story,
George was a steel expert, and his structure would be made of a steel alloy.  Alloys combine a super-strong mix of a hard metal with two or more chemical elements.
George Ferris' determination is a story in itself, but it is the engineering genius of his wheel that steals the show.  A "must-have" for any school or public library.

Some facts about the original "Ferris" wheel:
  • 834' in circumference
  • 265' above the ground
  • 3,000 electric lightbulbs (this itself was a marvel in 1893!)
  • forty velvet seats per car
Ferris wheel at the Chicago World's Fair c1893.
 Rights Advisory: No known restrictions on publication.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division[/caption]

STEM Friday

It's STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
See all of today's STEM-related posts at the STEM Friday blog.


Site Meter Copyright © 2014 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.

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34. ARC REVIEW: The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2) by Sherry Thomas

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35. BOOK REVIEW + Chapter 1 : Echo (The Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noel

"A rush of romance will sweep you away in this hauntingly mystical read. I'm already as addicted to Daire and Dace as I was to Ever and Damen!" –Justine magazine She inherited a magical destiny—and a mission to stop a powerful family of dark sorcerers. She never expected to fall in love with one of them. There’s still so much Daire Santos has to learn about being the last Soul Seeker….and about herself.  As her magical training becomes more intense, so does her relationship with...

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36. BOOK REVIEW: Dance of Shadows (Dance of Shadows, #1) by Yelena Black

Series: Dance of ShadowsHardcover: 384 pagesPublisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (February 12, 2013)Language: English Vanessa knew that dance was in her blood, but she had no idea the world of elite ballet was center stage for the darkest of secrets—until her sister mysteriously disappeared from the world-renowned New York Ballet Academy. Three years later, Vanessa follows in Margaret's footsteps, lands the role most girls at NYBA would kill for . . . and gets...

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37. A Resource Discovery: NAMING THE WORLD!


How fitting that today, the 522nd anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World, I share with you my recently-discovered resource, thanks to my writer Bridget Conway of Camden, Maine – NAMING THE WORLD (and other EXERCISES for the CREATIVE WRITER), edited by Bret Anthony Johnston (Random House, 2007).

Johnston writes in his introduction that “much of the writer’s work must be – can only be – accomplished by doggedly venturing into territories unknown, by risking failure with every word.  His purpose in gathering writing exercises from well-respected authors was “to create an environment in which each writer feels invited and prepared to take such risks.”

Like all discoveries, this collection of focused and insightful writing exercises widened my eyes, raised my eyebrows and had my brain whirling in record time.

Indeed, Betsy Lerner, author of another favorite resource of mine – THE FOREST FOR THE TREES: AN EDITOR’S ADVICE TO WRITERS (Riverhead, 2000) describes NAMING THE WORLD as “the equivalent of a master class in writing by some of the best writers/teachers around.”

What I especially like about NAMING THE WORLD is Johnston’s organization:  8 sections, 7 of which focus on a key element of fiction.  Each section begins with relevant perceptive quotes by well-known writers, then offers an overview of the particular element. Chosen authors’ understandable, doable exercises follow, exercises designed to “demystify the common and complex mechanisms by which the specific element operates.”  

Getting Started exercises and Daily Warm-ups bookend the sections which focus on:

       ·       Character

·         Point of view and tone

·         Plot and narrative

·         Dialogue and voice

·         Descriptive language and setting

·         Revision

I loved reading how some of my favorite authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Elizabeth Strout, Elizabeth McCracken and Richard Bausch hone their craft.

I also loved discovering authors heretofore unknown to me.
Be sure to check back on Wednesday for Paul Lisicky’s exercise on the rhythm of language.
(His award-winning book THE BURNING HOUSE is currently on reserve at my Chicago Public Library.)


I’m happy to report my Newberry Library Picture Book Writing Workshop students this semester are also enjoying the exercises, completing one per week.

Explorers such as Columbus looked to the stars to help find their way.  With that thought in mind, I hereby declare NAMING THE STARS stellar, as in *-worthy.  The collection of exercises is certain to help writers discover their stories and how best to tell them.

In celebration of Signor Columbus’ 1492 New World landing, Happy Discovering!
 
Esther Hershenhorn

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38. Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2014: Oct part 1


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

About the Book

Jax Morrow is a dangerously handsome, spectacularly wealthy entrepreneur whose world is turned upside down when Pandora Garret walks into a dark, smoky bar one night—a stunning combination of sex and innocence. He knows she’s trouble at first sight, but Jax can’t let her leave…unless she’s leaving with him.
 
Pandora has had enough. Kept under lock and key by her powerful, controlling father, she aches for freedom. When she briefly escapes and meets Jax she knows he is just what she has been looking for: forbidden, unforgettable passion. After one night in Jax’s arms, Pandora knows she can never go back to living under one man’s domination. Determined to control her own life she tries to resist Jax, but a dangerous desire rises between them—one that threatens to destroy them. But both Pandora and Jax discover that they just can’t be pulled away… in The Billion Dollar Bachelor.

Buy the Book


Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

I truly enjoyed this story and the pairing of Pandora with Jax was well done. You really feel for Pandora who has been raised in a rather uncaring environment. The same goes for Jax who comes from a family with lots of secrets to hide.

The romance was believable and the character development and plot were well done.

I really did despise Pandora's father and felt that the ending of this novel was great. I would definitely read more by this author.

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39. A bookish microcosm of Russia

My family often wonders about my propensity to jump from one seemingly unrelated topic to another, often within seconds.  What they usually don't realize is that in my mind, the topics are connected; I've merely forgotten to fill them in on the links.

With that in mind, I offer you three new books on Russia that in my mind, are dramatically different and yet completely complementary.  A young adult nonfiction book, a young adult fantasy, and a children's picture book a microcosm of Russia in history, magic and dance.

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing Candace Fleming's, The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of the Imperial Russia (Random House Audio, 2014).  My review and an audio excerpt are linked here.

You can read my review or any number of stellar reviews, but I will sum up  by saying that whether you listen to the audio book or read the print copy, The Family Romanov is a fully immersive experience into the final years of tsarist Russia - the time, the place, and  the tragically doomed family.

I was happily mulling over this excellent book when I immediately received an opportunity to  review Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Brilliance Audio, 2014).  I had received a galley copy of Egg & Spoon in the spring.  I thought it looked intriguing, but hadn't had time to read it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a folklore fantasy that takes place - of all places - in tsarist Russia.  I couldn't believe my good fortune.  The book was enhanced by my recent reading of The Family Romanov.  With the history of modern tsarist Russia fresh in my mind, the location and historical setting was vivid, leaving me more time to ponder the story's underpinning of Russian folklore, of which I was mostly ignorant.  I knew little of the witch, Baba Yaga and her peculiar house that walks on chicken legs, and I knew nothing of the magical Russian firebird.

My reviews are linked here and here.  Again, you can read my review or any other, but I will sum up by saying that Egg & Spoon is grand and magical - a metaphoric epic for readers from twelve to adult.

I was so happy to have read these excellent books in tandem and was recommending them at every turn, when I happened to hear an interview with Misty Copeland on the radio speaking about her experience dancing in the Russian ballet, The Firebird. What a coincidence, I thought - the firebird flies again in my milieu. A greater coincidence ocurred at work when I received my new copy of Misty Copeland's, Firebird. (Putnam, 2014)  Reading Egg & Spoon gave me an historical context for The Firebird ballet, and Misty Copeland tied it all together - a modern and immediate manifestation of history's struggles and stories - all rising like the mystical firebird.

So there you have it, my serendipitous encounter with Russian history, folklore and culture.  As our two countries struggle with our relationship, may we always remember that there is more to a country than its leaders and politicians.  There is always us, the common people. And as Egg & Spoon and Firebird will show you, there is always hope.



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40. The Map Trap - a review

Move over, Frindle. A new classic has arrived!

Below is my review of The Map Trap by Andrew Clements, as it appeared in the October, 2014, edition of School Library Journal.

CLEMENTS, Andrew. The Map Trap. 2 CDs. 2:29 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2014. $14.99. ISBN 9781442357013. digital download.

Gr 3-6 -- Alton Ziegler is crazy about maps. He particularly loves the way they can visually display any manner of information in a variety of ways. Surreptitiously, he collects data and creates humorous maps detailing such trivia as the popularity of lunchroom tables (depicted as a topographical map of the cafeteria) or a weather map of a teacher's clothes. Striped tie today? Look out -- the probability of a pop quiz is high. He never meant for anyone to see his collection, but when it's "mapnapped," there's no telling where the road might lead. Keith Nobbs is perfectly cast as the narrator. He creates a pensive Alton that fits the mood of the story. Clements's (In Harm's Way) use of subjective third-person narration is interesting in that the listener is privy to the inner concerns not only of Alton but of his teacher Miss Wheeling as well. Rarely is a teacher's perspective presented with such honesty and clarity in a middle grade novel. Though Nobbs's voice sometimes cracks when portraying female characters, his delivery, nonetheless, is still pleasing and believable. The Map Trap is a thoughtful, holistic look at the middle school environment that will have wide appeal. 

Copyright © 2014 Library Journals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc.
Reprinted with permission.


The publisher's website contains an audio and a printed excerpt from The Map Trap, as well as a video with author, Andrew Clements.

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41. Book Review: The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan

cover50965-mediumTitle: The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan

Author: Atia Abawi

Date: Penguin; 2014

main character: Fatima

 

synopsis: Fatima is a Hazara girl, raised to be obedient and dutiful. Samiullah is a Pashtun boy raised to defend the traditions of his tribe. They were not meant to fall in love. But they do. And the story that follows shows both the beauty and the violence in current-day Afghanistan as Fatima and Samiullah fight their families, their cultures and the Taliban to stay together. Based on the people Atia Abawi met and the events she covered during her nearly five years in Afghanistan, this stunning novel is a must-read for anyone who has lived during America’s War in Afghanistan.

I have to admit that the beginning of the book felt very much to me like it was written by an outsider looking in; someone who was taking the American notion of romantic love to another country. Abawi was simply pulling my American sensibility into Afghanistan. The story felt soft and sweet, didn’t I know how this was going to end? Then, Fatima over hears her father talking to her mother about war time atrocities that he committed. This was not going to be an easy read! I had not idea how it was going to end, but I certainly wanted to know!

Abawi writes a story of contemporary Afghanstan, a country caught in crossroads and cross hairs. Abawi writes chapters in alternating voices, disallowing us from conceptualizing a single story for this perplexing country. Abawi develops complex characters that we despise for their actions, yet we know the conflicted rationale that leads them to behave a certain way.

I don’t know the various cultures in Afghanistan, don’t know the rituals of daily life or the nuances of religion and politics. I cannot review the accuracies in that regard. What I do appreciate is that we’re told a story that incorporates multiple perspectives so that readers will not expect those who live in the country to think, behave or live in one certain way. Not many writers would be able to trust their characters to tell this story, but Abawi did. Readers will develop their own judgments about compelling situations, They will approach the book with ideas about social justice, marriage, love and parental rights, yet as Fatima comes of age, the reader will certainly mature along with her. This book is a tough read; I think an important read for teens in our global society. It brings to life the fact that there are no easy answers.

Atia Abawi works as a journalist with CNN. She was stationed in Afghanistan for over 5 years, leaving that position for one in Jerusalem. Abawi was born in Germany and moved to the US when she was one year old. She is still based in the Mideast and The Secret Sky is her first book.

 


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: Atia Abawi, book review, Middle Eastern YA Literature, new author of color

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42. I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

Sourcebooks, 2014. 
When you stumble on a great comedy novel for teens, it should be one you have in the library because really, there isn't that much out there.  And this is a GEM!

Henry is admittedly a geek, but he's a superstar geek.  His story is on the big screen, he has a beautiful girl by his side and he survived Strongwoods Survival Camp.  This is how it happened....

Henry's dad, after seeing a video on Youtube featuring Max (think screaming sergeant from any war movie you've ever seen) telling him he could make a man out of your son, tries to convince his son it would be a GREAT experience.  Henry's not so much into it, until his nerdy friend Randy says he WANTS to go...it'll be great!  So after spending the next 48 hours in gaming mode (to keep his reserves up) off they go.

Strongwoods Survival Camp looks as mean as Max does.  Five boys meet for the first time and are
1. stripped away of all electronic devices
2. given barely edible and non-recognizable food to eat
3. given an outhouse, which may or may not contain a creature in the hole

It's going to be the longest two weeks of Henry's life.  But even among those loooong days, some good things happen.  He meets a girl in the woods.  He actually shoots his arrow and makes a target, and he survives sleeping outside for the first time in his 16 years. 

But then Mr. Grand shows up, and he wants to balance his fiscal statement from a sketchy deal made with the co-owner of Strongwoods Survival.  Henry's game (as well as Randy's, Erik's, Jackie's and Stu's) just got real.  Henry can no longer think like Katniss Everdeen, but needs to start thinking like a true hero - perhaps like Splat-Tastic, his favorite video game hero?

I'll admit, when reading this book, kids would give me the weirdest stares but I could NOT help but laugh all the way through this book!  Strand captures the character of Henry so well, all the way from his video gaming fingers to his attempts at nerd bravery.  And then you get to the Wilderness survival tips at the end of each chapter.  Example: "In case of an avalanche, don't despair.  You're doomed, but c'mon, how many people get to say they died in an avalanche?!?  That's wicked cool."  One of many tips you'll chuckle about along with the fishing expedition, catching wild game for food, and building shelters with whatever you can find in a forest.  This book should be given to any reader, but has special appeal for guy readers and best of all?  PERFECT for junior high to high school! 

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43. Sing Along Construction Song

Sing Along Construction Song - Cover

We really enjoyed this tale about various construction vehicles and the job they do.  Each vehicle describes their function and then happily sings a song set to the tune of “London Bridge” about their work.  At the end they all sing together about how they work as a team to get the job done.  Great message for young children about having a positive attitude and teamwork.  You can purchase this ebook for $2.99 at Amazon or get it for FREE using Kindle Unlimited which is a new subscription service by Amazon to read up to ten books at a time for a monthly fee of $9.99.  They are currently offering free 30-day trials if you want to check it out.  As always all of our children’s books are available in the Kindle Unlimited program as well.

**We received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**


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44. Wonderful Weirdos of Literature 2014 – Installment #18

If you've been following along with our Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, we're glad you're back for more. And if you're visiting for the first time, well, we're glad you're here.




If you need a refresher on what this series is all about, clicking on that link up there at the beginning of the post will catch you up quite nicely. Then come on back here to keep the weirdness rolling.

So far in the Picture Book and Poetry Palooza that is this year's sub-theme within the Overall Weirdo Theme, we've frolicked through the following weekly Variations on the Overall Weirdo Themes:


And today, we bring you Installment #18:

Supernatural

Specifically, monsters. Not the dark, blood-curdling, super-scary kind. (We don't do a lot of dark here on Bugs and Bunnies.) Just the quirky ones:



The Monster Trap
Story and pictures by Dean Morrissey
Written by Dean Morrissey and Stephen Krensky
Ages 5 - 10

Paddy has come to stay with his grandfather for a few days. It's his first time there on his own, and Pop's place seems darker than Paddy remembers. That night, they listen to Monster Radio Theater, and when bedtime comes, Paddy is sure he hears the monster from the radio stories. Pop's solution? A monster trap, complete with "sure-fire, high-grade monster bait."

The next morning, the small trap is empty. Pop thinks that means there aren't any monsters. But Paddy thinks they were just too smart for the trap. So Pop and Paddy get to work building a bigger, smarter trap.

And if it works? Well, that could be a whole new problem.




I Need My Monster
Written by Amanda Noll
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Ages 5 - 8

When Ethan heads to bed one night, instead of his usual monster under the bed, he finds a note: "Gone fishing. Back in a week. – Gabe" 

Ethan can't sleep without his monster under his bed. And he can't go without sleep for a whole week. So he does the only thing he can think of – interview for a replacement.

But can any of the other monsters measure up to Gabe?

* An added treat: We found this video from SAG Foundation's StoryLineOnline.net, with actress Rita Moreno reading I Need My Monster, including animated illustrations from the book presented as she reads. A bit over 11 minutes, total, and very, very fun!



Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo
Written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer
Ages 3 - 8

Professor Wormbog's beastie collection is incomplete. Though he has found a beastie for nearly every letter of the alphabet, from the Askinforit to the Yalapappas, there is one last beastie that still eludes him: the one for Z, the Zipperump-a-Zoo.

So the professor sets off, determined to catch one and complete his collection. He digs a pit. He fishes the sea. He tries to lure it out of the air. He climbs a craggy peak. He drops into caves. Each time, he finds something. But each time, it is not the Zipperump-a-Zoo. Finally, the disappointed professor gives up and heads home, empty-handed.

But sometimes? The very thing a person searches for the hardest tends to turn up in the most unexpected of places...




The Mysterious Tadpole
Written and illustrated by Steven Kellogg
Ages 5 - 8

Every year, Uncle McAllister – who lives in Scotland – sends Louis a birthday present for his nature collection. And when this year's gift arrives, Louis proclaims it "the best one yet," and takes it to school the next day. His teacher proclaims it a tadpole, and Louis names it Alphonse.

By summer, Alphonse still looks nothing like a frog, and has outgrown his jar, the kitchen sink, the bathtub, and even the apartment. Louis decides what Alphonse really needs is a swimming pool – which they don't have, and can't afford to build. Though nobody wants to, it looks like the only option is to take Alphonse to the zoo. But that night, Louis remembers the middle school pool, which sits unused all summer. He happily sneaks Alphonse in, and it works...until the swim team shows up for its first practice, and the coach says Alphonse has to be gone by the next day.

Louis is out of options and in despair when he runs into his friend, Miss Seevers, the librarian, on his way home. He tells her his problem, and then takes her to meet Alphonse. And then, Miss Seevers comes up with a plan to help. A plan so far-fetched, it just might work.

* * *

See? Not scary at all. Be sure to come back next Friday, September 26th, for Installment #19 of the Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series, when animals and people show there's more to them than meets the eye.

Until then, we'll leave you with this:


"The possibilities that are suggested in quantum physics tell us that everything that we're looking at may not be in fact there, so the underlying nature of being is weird."

                                    – William Shatner


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45. Book Review: Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

Book: Nothing Special
Author: Geoff Herbach
Published: 2012
Source: Local Library

Things look pretty sweet for Felton Reinstein. He's big and strong and has football coaches from schools all over the country panting after him. He has a beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a brother who idolizes him. But he has a secret, and here it is.

He's a mess.

He hates the scouts and the attention, even while he loves football (well, any kind of athletics). His girlfriend has mysteriously stopped talking to him, as has (less mysteriously) his best friend, and his little brother is just off the rails completely. He's paralyzed by fear, of the future, of the past, and of the present. He just wants to run away from it all.

But it's Andrew who runs away, and it will take a quixotic road trip with the best friend who's not anymore to find the grandfather and cousin he's never known before Felton can start to understand why.

God, how I love Felton Reinstein. Yes, he's fictional, yes, he's seventeen, and yes, he's a complete goober and a mess. That last is why I love him. Geoff Herbach has a particular gift for getting you into Felton's brain, with all its self-involvement and uncertainty, without turning you off completely. He structures this book as a long letter to Aleah and Felton opens a vein all over the page, because it's not something he would do from the outside. There's so much going on inside his head, but he's still developing the emotional tools to express them to others.

I really appreciated the through-line of his father's suicide. In the first book, Felton started coming to terms with who his father was, what he did, and what that means for himself as he lurches toward adulthood. In this book, it keeps messing him up, it keeps messing his family up, but in new ways. Or rather, in ways that are only uncovered in this book. I appreciated that because a parent's death, particularly  a parent's suicide, isn't something that you get over in 275 pages. It's a long, evolving process and one that may never end.

Lucky for me, there's one more Felton Reinstein book for me to enjoy.

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46. Panic Book Review

Title: Panic Author: Lauren Oliver Publisher: HaperCollins Publication Date: March 4, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-0062014559 416 pp. ARC provided by publisher Panic by Lauren Oliver is a YA contemporary about a group of teens in a high-stakes game of dares. They live in a crappy town and the money that seniors are forced to pony up throughout the school year goes to the winner of Panic. Because,

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47. Review – Once Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers

I am a huge Oliver Jeffers fan but have to admit his last few picture books haven’t hit the mark. That of course excludes the absolutely brilliant The Day The Crayons Quit he did with Drew Daywalt last year which was simply outstanding. Oliver Jeffers illustrations have always been outstanding but it was his stories that seemed […]

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48. Wonderful Weirdos of Literature 2014 – Installment #19

All too soon, we've come to the last post for our Fifth Annual Bugs and Bunnies Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. If you're new here, clicking on the link in that first sentence will bring you right up to speed. If you're not new here, you can click the link, too, for nostalgia or for a refresher...or not. But whether you're New or Not New, if you click, don't forget to come back to this post to see what's up for today.




The first three posts in this year's Picture Book and Poetry Palooza sub-theme have had the following Variations on the Overall Weirdo Theme:


And now, let's revel in one last variation for this 2014 series:


Animals Are People, Too (And Vice Versa)


Pretty self-explanatory, this one.

Also, if you'll recall from the Weirdly True post, we promised one anomaly would be included in this otherwise all-picture-book-and-poetry presentation: a novel. And today's post has that novel. (We're big on keeping our promises here at Bugs and Bunnies.) Here we go:






Stuart Little
Written by E.B. White
Pictures by Garth Williams
Ages 8 - 12
Summary graciously provided by Chez Wheedleton's own Lovely Girl:

When the Little family welcomed their second son, Stuart, it was obvious from the start that he was a little...different. He wasn't much bigger than a mouse. In fact, he looked like a mouse in every way. Let no one say that the Littles weren't open-minded about things, though. From doll's clothes to a bed made out of a cigarette box to a tiny mallet to turn the faucet handle, the Littles made every effort to accommodate their unusual child.

Stuart could walk and talk almost immediately, and being the adventurous type, he got into quite a bit of mischief in his hometown of New York City. After befriending a pretty sparrow named Margalo, though, Stuart decides that he'll need to go out into the big wide world to find her after she migrates away. But it's dangerous being a mouse in a human's world... This city mouse will need to keep his wits about him as he ventures into the countryside on his own!



I'm a Manatee
By John Lithgow
Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Ages Preschool - 3
Another Lovely Girl-provided summary:

One little boy is so sick of his humanity that in his dreams, he becomes a manatee! He and the other manatees spend their time enjoying their watery world and peacefully chowing down on their favorite foods. Good things don't last forever, though...

*An extra bit of fun: Also included with this book is a CD and musical score of the story, with lyrics by John Lithgow and music by Bill Elliott.



Have you ever seen a Moose taking a bath?
Story by Jamie McClaine
Art by April Goodman Willy
Ages 4 and up
Yet another Lovely-Girl-provided summary:

Maybe you have seen a moose taking a bath before, but never quite like this!

This particular moose isn't satisfied with just splashing around to get clean. Bath-time is a very serious event – one that requires goggles, a noseplug, a scrubby-dub brush, Mr. Moose Bubbles, and of course his ducky Bill Webber. Be sure to stand back as he gets ready to get in the water, or you might end up soaking wet, too!



No Moon, No Milk!
By Chris Babcock
Illustrated by Mark Teague
Ages 3 and up

Martha is sick of cowing around in a pasture. And when farmer Rob asks her what she would like to cow around in, her answer has him stumped: "The Mooooon."

Rob doesn't see how he can get Martha to the moon, but he has to do something to meet her demand. No moon, no milk!

So he tries a few things. He takes her surfing. He takes her to see an honest-to-goodness crater right here on Earth. He even takes her to Radio City Music Hall to see the famous Rockettes. But Martha is unmoved by all of it. The only thing she wants to do is cow around on the moon.

Finally, Rob suggests one last thing to try. But will it be enough to meet Martha's out-of-this-world demand?

* * *


As this is the last Friday in September, so this is the last post in the Fifth Annual Wonderful Weirdos of Literature Series. But never fear, we'll be back next year with a whole new bunch of wonderfully weird books to explore.

Until then, we'll leave you with this:


"The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it."

                                        – Hunter S. Thompson 


 

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49. Dangerous Book Review

Title: Dangerous Author: Shannon Hale Publisher: Bloomsbury Publication Date: March 4, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-1599901688 416 pp. ARC provided by publisher I hadn't read any Shannon Hale novels before (although I did enjoy the Austenland movie), but I knew she was a writer who used humor and girl power in her work. And Dangerous did not disappoint. In fact, I freaking loved Dangerous. The

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50. Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2014: Sept part 3


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

About the Book

"The year I turned sixteen, the media featured reports of a worldwide phenomenon – the emergence of Interspecies Telepaths, or ISTs." 

When Christa Wilder mind-bonds with Magnus, a wolf pup, on a camping trip in Sakima National Park, her life changes forever. As the bond between Christa and Magnus grows stronger, other ISTs befriend them, including teenage Romy and her mountain lion, and Karl, a famous wildlife artist, and his golden eagle.

But not everyone is happy that ISTs exist or that wolves have been successfully reintroduced to Sakima, especially when wolves begin killing livestock on nearby ranches. Suddenly, with the first wolf hunting season about to open just beyond the park's boundaries, Magnus's pack is placed in jeopardy.

Even inside the park there is danger because a lunatic is slaughtering animals while staying one step ahead of the authorities. Next on the hit list: a wolf.

And, unbeknown to Christa, her brother, Josh, who went missing on his fifth birthday, has reappeared, but what sort of man is he? Why is he keeping his identity a secret?

Soon Christa is forced to commit to a new life full of challenges, friendships, learning, love and loss. With her psychic grandmother and her best friend, Ava, Christa will explore her spiritual beliefs, discovering a deep connection with nature and Spirit. But, most importantly, Christa will discover the sheer joy of the Mind Bond.

Buy the Book


Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 1/DNF stars

Here's why:

I want to start off by mentioning the things that attracted me to this book. I'm a big fan of mental abilities, especially telepathy. The concept of an interspecies bond caught my eye. The fact that the bond wasn't with aliens but with animals here on earth was also a perk.

The descriptions of the surroundings, people and animals were top-notch and gave me a good grasp on what things/places/animals/people looked like which made it very distinct in my mind's eye.

The characters, except those who were supposed to be shallow, were well-rounded with both good and bad points being exposed as I read along.

However, these three things were not enough to keep me hooked. I got 40% of the way through and stopped reading. The main reason is the pacing was so slow. I don't always have to have things move at lightning speed but when it drags on and on, I tend to get bored or annoyed.

The second thing that kept knocking my interest away was deep/detailed discussions about spiritually. Again, information about other cultures, beliefs, spirituality and other topics related to a person's heritage don't bother me. But when it overloads my mind and/or bogs the story down for me, I lose interest.

Would I recommend this book? I'm on the fence, so I will leave it up to you to decide.

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