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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Book Reviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,113
26. #BookADay: ONE WORD PEARL by Nicole Groeneweg and Hazel Mitchell, plus advice for aspiring children's book illustrators

Today's #BookADay: ONE WORD PEARL written by Nicole Groeneweg and illustrated by Hazel Mitchell (Charlesbridge, 2013).

Synopsis:

Pearl loves words. All kinds of words. Words make up songs, stories, poems . . . and what does a lover of words do? She collects them, of course! But one day, most of Pearl’s words are blown away, leaving her only a few which she keeps safely in her treasure chest.

After that day, she uses each word carefully—one at a time, until she has no words left. When her teacher asks her questions at school, she doesn’t answer. When her friend wants to know what she has for lunch, she can’t respond. What will Pearl do without her precious words? Will she ever find them?

One Word Pearl explores the power of words to transform, inspire, and cultivate imagination.

I was delighted to interview the illustrator of ONE WORD PEARL last year. Do check out Hazel Mitchell's interview for a great peek into her process (lots of photos) and advice for aspiring children's book illustrators.

HAZEL MITCHELL'S ADVICE:

Attend all the conferences/workshops you can afford (and some you can't) and absorb information.

Learn the craft. Children's book illustration is an art-unto-itself. Study the masters, attend workshops where great illustrators are teaching. Go back to college if you need to.

Draw. Draw. Draw. There is no substitute for drawing.

Read. Read. Read. Immerse yourself in discovering new and old picture books, illustrated middle grade, cover work, graphic novels.

Find your voice ... how do you do that? By drawing and learning and imitating and seeking critique and then finally becoming unconscious of your style. Then you have found your illustration voice.

Work on your portfolio. A portfolio for children's illustration! Creating a website portfolio is very important! Tell people you exist!

Mail out, submit, direct people to look at your work.

Be open. become proficient in social networking. It's free and it can benefit you in unbelievable ways. But always give back.

Seek out other illustrators and create a band of brothers.

------------

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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27. Book Review: Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui

Before AfterBefore After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 176
Ages: 4-8
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763676217 / 9780763676216
Publishers Summary:

Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it’s also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in a jungle may become an urban King Kong. Just as day turns into night and back again, a many-tiered cake is both created and eaten down to a single piece. With simple, graphic illustrations sure to appeal to even the youngest of children, this beautiful rumination on the passage of time will please the most discerning adult readers, too.

TurkeybirdTurkeybird Giggles and Gawks: This is such a cool book! I really like learning about how things work. I ask my mom and dad lots and lots and lots of questions, so this was so neat! Even if I did have to keep asking my mom to explain some of the pictures it was really fun to hear about how things got from little tiny things to big big things and the cook-coo clock was the coolest. I’ve never seen one of those before! Some of it was super silly though, like the statue and the cake that gets eaten. I think I will keep reading and reading this book, it’s so neat.

Before After Interior

Mom’s Two Cents: Earlier this week we received out copy of Before After and since that time it’s been in someone in our families hands. Not only the kiddos have been drawn to it, but myself and my husband haven’t stopped riffling through it. Each turn of the page presents a new question, a new thought or feeling. For myself, it evokes memories of seasons changing and Turkeybird getting stuck in the snow one winter in Virginia. It also leads to thoughts of how to explain the process from one beginning image to the next evolution, in part because both kiddos have been asking non-stop how it’s all connected.

Turkeybird is just the right age for this book, the one where every new discovery leads to another question. And while Littlebug enjoys the beautiful illustrations and love to know that one is connected to the other she doesn’t inquire about the process as much. I’m sure the day will come, too soon, when she’s begging to know just how the electricity surges through wiring to turn a room from dark to light with the flip of a switch. For now, she’s content with knowing it works. What I love though is that this book, while completely wordless, has captured everyone in our homes attention regardless of their age or interest.

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui is a beautiful addition to any library. Its wordless pages come to life as you watch a caterpillar hatch into a beautiful flying butterfly while imagining the step in between, cultivating curiosity in youth and bringing to light memories in adults. This will be a book discussed for many many months and years to come, and certainly one that I’d recommend again and again.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 5 to 10. Before After takes the simplest of childhood questions and brings them to life in beautiful illustrations that readers of all ages will be fascinated by.

Find Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui at the following spots:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads | ISBN-10/ISBN-13: 0763676217 / 9780763676216

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, Google+ and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

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Original article: Book Review: Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Aregui

©2014 There's A Book. All Rights Reserved.

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28. #BookADay: SAY HELLO TO ZORRO! by Carter Goodrich, plus a peek into his illustration process

Catching up on my #BookADay: SAY HELLO TO ZORRO! by Carter Goodrich (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2011). The two dog characters in this story are soooooo adorable. And I was very excited to discover that MISTER BUD WEARS THE CONE just came out!

According to a Readeo.com interview, Zorro was apparently loosely based on his aunt's pug. The pug's name was Ozzie but Carter has dyslexia, so called him Zorro. Carter used watercolor for the illustrations, which was new for him.

"The best part of an image is the part I couldn’t control, the happy accident. When something strange would happen in a piece, it would always be better than something I might purposefully do. Like when Zorro is shifting position on the couch. I did a lot of takes on that. I was still working with pencil and trying to shape it and tone it. I thought, “I have to paint the couch really quickly, and it’s either going to hit or not.” There are little things where the paint did everything on its own,. But then I had to repeat it. And that was alright, too. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be."

Read more about Carter's process in Jenny Brown's interview with him on Readeo.

And check out the cover of the just-released Mister Bud Wears The Cone:

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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29. #BookADay: BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman and Dan Yaccarino (and advice for aspiring picture book authors and illustrators)

Just reread BOY + BOT, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (Knopf/Random House, 2012). Wonderfully entertaining story of friendship. 

On Goodreads - On Indiebound

Synopsis: "One day, a boy and a robot meet in the woods. They play. They have fun. But when Bot gets switched off, Boy thinks he's sick. The usual remedies—applesauce, reading a story—don't help, so Boy tucks the sick Bot in, then falls asleep. Bot is worried when he powers on and finds his friend powered off. He takes Boy home with him and tries all his remedies: oil, reading an instruction manual. Nothing revives the malfunctioning Boy! Can the Inventor help fix him? Using the perfect blend of sweetness and humor, this story of an adorable duo will win the hearts of the very youngest readers."

I read each of these #BookADay picture books out loud to myself in my home office, as I've mentioned before. I STRONGLY STRONGLY RECOMMEND that aspiring children's picture authors and illustrators do this, both for other people's picture books as well as your own works-in-progress.

In this readaloud, it was SO fun to do the robot's voice. I also loved the text and visual parallels in how the boy and robot tried to fix each other.

Kidlit types on Twitter, by the way, need to follow Ame Dyckman at @AmeDyckman. She is bubbly, energetic, enthusiastic, and a joy to read. I interviewed Ame about BOY + BOT on Inkygirl a while back and was delighted to meet her in person at SCBWI-LA some time later.

Ame's newest book is TEA PARTY RULES, illustrated by K.G. Campbell and published by Viking.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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30. #BookADay: THE STAMP COLLECTOR by Jennifer Lanthier and François Thisdale, advice for children's book writers & illustrators

 

Today's #BookADay: THE STAMP COLLECTOR, written by Jennifer Lanthier and illustrated by François Thisdale (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012). Beautiful story, stunning artwork. A note by Jennifer at the end explains how the story was inspired by two writers. "Jian Weiping is a journalist who spent six years in a Chinese prison for exposing government corruption. Nurmuhemmet Yasin is a writer serving ten years in a Chinese prison for writing a short story called 'The Wild Pigeon.'" A portion of the proceeds from this book supports PEN Canada.

You can read a profile of Jennifer on the SCBWI blog about her 2013 Crystal Kite win, including advice for other children's book writers and illustrators. An excerpt:

"...Creating something is an extraordinary privilege and if exercising that privilege feels too hard sometimes, try to keep going. What did Samuel Beckett say? “No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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31. The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill


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Humph! In The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore, I did not like Hazel Kaplansky much - at first. She is the smartest person she knows and makes no bones about it.  She is the kind of smart kid that makes other kids - and grown-ups - annoyed.  And she reminded me a lot of....ME!  (And, I was NEVER the smartest person I knew, but I didn't KNOW that.)

 It's 1953.  The Switzer Switch and Safe factory in town has been targeted for investigation into the possibility of Communist infiltration.  Luckily, Hazel's parents run the town cemetery.  But, their new grave-digger, Paul Jones, has all of Hazel's detective senses trembling.  She thinks of him as the Comrade and is this far from proving that he is a Russian spy.

Then Samuel Butler moves into Hazel's fifth-grade class.  Samuel is smart.  And quiet.  And he has secrets.  And he likes cemeteries and research.  Before too long, Hazel has Samuel helping her with her investigation into who the real spy in town is.

1953 was a time of wide-spread distrust, when neighbors eyed each other for signs of disloyalty, a time like....NOW, for instance.  One man used the new media sensation of TV to create panic and spread fear in his need for power and attention.  And 10-year-old Hazel swallows the propaganda whole, even while adults around her warn her to use her brains.

Hazel and Samuel have to put up with the same silly shenanigans that middle graders everywhere have to put up with - snide comments, being judged because of who their parents are or because of where they live.  As investigations into the factory continue, Hazel overhears adults acting just as mean and petty as their children.

Hazel and Samuel uncover secrets, some innocent, some painful and Hazel redeems herself with an act of courage and kindness just when Samuel needs her most.

Add this to the growing list of fine historical fiction from an author who gets better with each effort.

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32. #BookADay: THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner, movie trailer, advice for aspiring writers

Just finished listening to the audiobook version of THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner (Delacorte, 2010). The book is first in a series for ages 12 and up and soon to be a movie. Here's the book trailer:

James Dashner offered advice for writers on Writer's Digest website, so be sure to check 7 Things I've Learned So Far, by James Dashner. Two of these tips: 1. Networking is key, and 2. Immerse your reader in the story with depth. On his blog, he offers a great Q&A for aspiring writers

One of piece of useful advice: "Write a novel from beginning to end. I mean it. I don't care if it's the worst book in history, write a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and everything in between. You won't believe the magical power that will come over you once you've accomplished this task." Read the rest on his blog.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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33. #BookADay: WE PLANTED A TREE by Diane Muldrow and Bob Staake, advice for aspiring children's book writers and illustrators

Today's #BookADay: WE PLANTED A TREE, written by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake, published by Golden Books/Random House. In addition to being an author, Diane is also editorial director at Golden Books/Random House. 

I bought WE PLANTED A TREE at the 2010 SCBWI conference in Los Angeles, which was also the first conference at which I took a picture book writing workshop (taught by Diane Muldrow). It was an EXCELLENT course, and I learned a great deal. I also bought WE PLANTED A TREE and had it signed by the author:

This was also the conference where I won some awards at the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase and when I told Diane, she congratulated me. :-) I interviewed Diane Muldrow for KidLitArtists.com, and she offered useful advice for aspiring children's book writers and illustrators.

"I think the most common mistake is that many aspiring writers don’t write material that is very marketable. We editors are looking for manuscripts that have an interesting hook—something that we can show to our sales force and marketing people, and say, “This book is perfect for Father’s Day,” or “This book is a fresh take on the cowboy/first day of school/new friend/bedtime/etc./ theme.”

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

 

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34. #BookADay: CATS' NIGHT OUT by Caroline Stutson and Jon Klassen

Today's #BookADay: CATS' NIGHT OUT, written by Caroline Stutson and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster). Who can resist dancing cats? Love the musical theme in this beautifully illustrated counting book. I swear I can almost hear the music in the background as I read this book.  Jon Klassen was awarded a Governor General's Award for Children's Literature: Illustration in 2010.

From Alexandra Penfold on Twitter (first tweet was a response to my "who can resist dancing cats?"):

 

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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35. book review: Drift

maintitle: Drift

author: M. K. Hutchins

date: Tu Books, May 2014

main character: Tenjat

M.K. Hutchins gave herself one helluva challenge of world building with this one. I think she’s taught me that when reading speculative fiction, it’s advisable to look for the author’s notes in order to better understand this new world and the premise upon which it is built. The island world of turtle’s she created really was well crafted and readers quickly become invested in it. I just couldn’t get past how and why a civilization would live on the backs of turtles but after reading her notes and understanding the mythology she used, I had a better understanding.

Tenjat and his father are described as having brown faces. Little other reference to skin color is provided, although some characters are describe as being shaded like the wood. There are distinct differences in the roles of men and women and the worst thing anyone can be called is ‘hub’, short for husband. This is because being a husband and having children selfishly weighs down the turtle. Tenjat wants to become a Handler so that he can better provide for his sister and himself. Just before entering the tree for his training, thoughts are planed that have Tenjat questioning everything he’s come to know. How will he find answers?

Hutchins writes a unique fantasy based in multiple mythologies in which she explores gender based roles, family structures, the environment and what we essentially believe about the cycle of life and death. I did eventually like this story. While reading, I had a difficult time getting a grasp on Eflet’s age (Eflet is his younger sister). I couldn’t figure out how they breathed underwater, either. Character development was lax, as is often the case in action driven stories. But, there are stregnths in Huthin’s writings. Layers of explanations for personal and societal battles are slowly peeled away as Tenjat begins to have things revealed to him. She does a good job of maintaining suspense.

Drift is a very unique book both in its plot and in its issues. The complexities hit me big time at the end and they have left me considering and questioning many things. A book that leaves you with many considerations is a good book!

M.K. Hutchins has had short fiction appear in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show and Daily Science Fiction. Drift is her debut novel.


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: speculative fiction, Tu Books

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36. #BookADay: BREATHE by Scott Magoon

I loved BREATHE by Scott Magoon (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster) soooo much. I found the combination of sparse and lyrical text with gorgeous, airy art irresistible and deeply moving. 

I confess it also made me weepy. Have no idea if it'll affect others the same way, but so much of this book can be appreciated on a grown-up level as well as by young readers: a reminder to take time to breathe and enjoy the moment, to be brave and explore, to listen and observe the beauty in the world around you, to not be afraid of obstacles but find other ways up, to dream big, to love and be loved.

And of course BREATHE can absolutely be appreciated simply as a wonderful bedtime readaloud, without any of the above interpretations. I so love books like this.

Seven Impossible Things has a great post about Scott's process for creating Breathe, and you should also visit Scott Magoon's page about Breathe.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

 

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37. #BookADay: GIFT DAYS, written by Kari-Lynn Winters & illustrated by Stephen Taylor

Today's #BookADay: GIFT DAYS by Kari-Lynn Winters (author) and Stephen Taylor (illustrator), published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. The launch of this book raised money for the charity Because I Am A Girl and has already raised enough money to send ten girls to school in Uganda for a full year.

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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38. The Mark of the Dragonfly

The Mark of the Dragonfly


I am just about finished with this book and it is rushing to its conclusion like a, pardon me if you've read the book, run-away train.  I hope Jaleigh Johnson has ever intention of writing more about Piper, Anna, Trimble, Jeyne, and green-eyed Gee.  The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson.

Piper is an orphan in the Meteor fields of Merrick (spelling?), the northern kingdom.  Her father recently died while working at King Aron's factories in Dragonfly territory to the south.  Piper can fix any machine that her fellow scrappers can find after a meteor shower.

In an attempt to find a missing friend, Piper finds a strange caravan and a frightened, confused girl who bears the mark of the Dragonfly.  She is protected by King Aron.

Anna, the girl, remembers very little.  When a strange man arrives to claim Anna, Piper decides to take Anna to the southern capital of Noveen on the 4-0-1, a cargo train.  There they meet the rest of the heroes of this book and there they embark on a series of increasingly hair-raising adventures.

Enough, I have about 70 pages to go and things just got even more hairy!


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39. Book of Dreams by Sylvie Michaud

Book of Dreams coverAn adorable bedtime story awaits you and your child in Book of Dreams, part of the Ringtail Family series by Sylvie Michaud.

Baby Ringtail asks his mama and papa why every cloud is a different shape. Responding that clouds are pictures in the sky to help us dream, Mama and Papa share with Baby the different thingsthey dream about when they see certain types of clouds. This lulls Baby right to sleep and into dreamland.

Short, sweet, and charming are all words to describe this lovely picture book. Slowly flowing prose and pastel colored illustrations help your little one settle down for the night and fill her head with beautiful visions for a peaceful night. I love the way Michaud’s descriptions paint pictures for little ones that are complemented by the lovely artwork. Probably more description than usually found in a picture book, but it works well here. This is definitely a book I’ll be saving for my future grandchildren.

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

Paperback: 24 pages
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 28, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0978295587
ISBN-13: 978-0978295585

File Size: 3020 KB
Print Length: 21 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Crafty Canuck Inc. (March 13, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00BTPBX0Q

Purchase at:
Amazon soft cover: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family/dp/0978295587
Amazon digital: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Dreams-The-Ringtail-Family-ebook/dp/B00BTPBX0Q
B&N soft cover: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/book-of-dreams-the-ringtail-family-sylvie-michaud/1110202903

I purchased a copy of this book for my Kindle. The publisher paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, which have not been compensated in any way.

Book of Dreams banner


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40. Book Review: Art of DreamWorks Animation


The art book publisher Abrams recently released a big book called The Art of DreamWorks Animation. It's a lavish visual survey of the art that went into all of DWA's films, from Antz and Prince of Egypt to Dragon 2 and the not-yet-released Home (below).


Here's a diagram showing how the elemental shape language guided the design of characters and environments. DreamWorks Animation has tried to stay away from a general house style, and as a result, each film has a different look to suit the story.

The book includes samples of artwork by most of DreamWorks' deep bench of talent that have worked there over the years, including Nico Marlet, Paul Lasaine, Nathan Fowkes, and Chris Sanders, but the individual pieces are not credited.

Presumably they arrived at this decision because many of the images are the result of the combined talent of several artists. Instead, credits for the topline directors are given at the beginning of each film's chapter.


Some of the characters, such as Shrek, went through many startling rejected versions.

DreamWorks should be commended for including these "roads not taken," because other studios have at times suppressed such alternate character designs, so as not to weaken the unified marketing image.

Above is some of the art from 2004's Shark Tales. 

Throughout the book, the artwork is not identified as digital or hand-made. Probably many pieces are a combination of the two. As the years progress the work becomes increasingly digital, but it's really hard to tell and maybe it doesn't matter.

During the last 20 years, DreamWorks Animation has become the largest animation studio and has released thirty animated films, and they're all covered in the book. Each film gets about five double page spreads.

The book is 324 pages long. It's 10x12 inches and weighs 5 pounds, 4 ounces.
More info about the book on Amazon: The Art of DreamWorks Animation
All images ©DreamWorks Animation, SKG.

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41. #BookADay: NEVER LET YOU GO by Patricia Storms (and advice for aspiring children's book writers & illustrators)

Today's #BookADay: NEVER LET YOU GO by Patricia Storms (Scholastic Canada).

You can read my interview with Patricia Storms about her process and personal growth during the creation of her book. Her advice to aspiring children's book writers/illustrators: "Try not to be too obsessed with what is selling in 'the market.'" and "It's really about discovering who you are, and what stories you want to tell."

Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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42. The Gollywhopper Games


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I subscribe to Bookperk, a splendid e-newsletter that offers ebooks for prices between free and $4.99.  These are mostly books written for adults, sigh.  But every now and then, an awesome kids' book is offered.

I think that's where I purchased The Gollywhopper Games  by Jody Feldman.   If you enjoy books that revolve around puzzles, this book is for you.  I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein and enjoyed it.  The Gollywhopper Games is every bit as good, in my opinion.

One of the things going for Gollywhopper is that the games truly resemble reality games from TV.  Adults are monitoring every step of the way and they intervene when necessary - which only happens once.

Another thing that I enjoyed is that the book's backstory adds tension to the games.  Gil's father once worked for Golly Toy Company and left under accusations of embezzlement.  He was found innocent but his son's life has been very unpleasant ever since.

When Gil qualifies for the games and then passes the first two tests, the Golly Toy Company's president tries to get Gill to drop out.  He offers to pay Gil off! 

Gil's fellow contestants fall into typical kid lit stereotypes; the airhead beauty who just wants to be on TV; the rich kid whose parents spent thousands of dollars to ensure his place in the games; one of Gil's schoolmates who is an athlete and a hothead; and the quiet studious genius.  These are the final five players who must work together as a team and then against each other.  But each player gets a chance to shine.  I liked that a lot.

The puzzles and challenges are fun and well-described as well.

Up until now, I have felt that I don't visualize as well when I read an ebook as I do when I read a paper book.  After reading The Gollywhopper Games, I think that perhaps it is the book itself that causes the problem.  I had no problem visualizing the colorful toy factory, the hallways, or the games.

The Golly Toy Company finds out who embezzled that money.  Gil learns a lot about himself and so do his fellow contestants.  This is a book I might even read again.  High praise from me.

PS.  It appears that the world is demanding another set of Gollywhopper Games and the Golly Toy Company aims to please its customers.

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43. #BookADay: BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld, audiobook narrated by Alan Cumming

 

Today's #BookADay: Just finished listening to the audiobook version of BEHEMOTH (2nd in his Leviathan series) by Scott Westerfeld, wonderfully read by Alan Cumming. I've discovered that I can listen to audiobooks when I'm at certain stages of book illustrations, and Behemoth is my most recent audio listen. Here's a fun video interview of Alan Cumming by Scott:

Because I don't own a copy of the print version, I missed out on Keith Thompson's wonderful illustrations, but I found many examples online. You can find out more about the illustrations at the bottom of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan page.

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Find out more about Donalyn Miller's Summer Book-A-Day Challenge on the Nerdy Book Club site, and you can read archives of my #BookADay posts.

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44. Book Review: Linda Rief – Read Write Teach

“I must be what I teach: writer, reader,speaker, listener.” – Linda Rief Teaching our kids to read and write with commitment and passion is an ever evolving labor of love.  There are so… Continue reading

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45. book review: Saving Kabul Corner

Readers will appreciate that young people solve all of the questions at hand and ultimately bring the two families together." Kirkus

“Readers will appreciate that young people solve all of the questions at hand and ultimately bring the two families together.” Kirkus

title: Saving Kabul Corner

author: N. H. Senzai

date: Simon and Schuster; 2014

main character: Ariana Shinwari

synopsis:

From Afghanistan to America, family matters most in this companion to Shooting Kabul, which Kirkus Reviews called “an ambitious story with much to offer.”

A rough and tumble tomboy, twelve-year-old Ariana couldn’t be more different from her cousin Laila, who just arrived from Afghanistan with her family. Laila is a proper, ladylike Afghan girl, one who can cook, sew, sing, and who is well versed in Pukhtun culture and manners. Arianna hates her. Laila not only invades Ariana’s bedroom in their cramped Fremont townhouse, but she also becomes close with Mariam Nurzai, Ariana’s best friend.

Then a rival Afghan grocery store opens near Ariana’s family store, reigniting a decades-old feud tracing back to Afghanistan. The cousins, Mariam, and their newfound frenemie, Waleed Ghilzai, must ban together to help the families find a lasting peace before it destroys both businesses and everything their parents have worked for. –Source

My take:

Saving Kabul Corner seems to develop quite independent of its companion novel Shooting Kabul, a book I have not yet read. This book had a compete story line and makes little reference to prior events. Particularly for a continuing storyline, the main characters were well developed.

This story revolves around Arianna’s dislike for her cousin, Laila, from Afghanistan who is staying with her. Something odd is going on in the neighborhood that could mean the end of the family’s local business. Arianna and Laila along with schoolmates Mariam and Waleed, work together to solve this mystery. The story begins with Arianna looking forward to a new home her father is having built. She describes strong desire for privacy and looks forward to getting her own room. Unfortunately, the new house is never again mentioned.

The Shinwari family is very much connected to events in their homeland, as are many first generation Americans. While I think Senzai did a skillful job of balancing the portrayal of events in Afghanistan with Arianna’s life in Los Angeles, I think there were at times too many historical details crammed into the novel. Senzai gives us Arriana, in a story drenched in Afghan history, laced with the language and decorated with the foods and a storyline that is as American as apple pie. Is she telling us that at the core, we are all very much the same?

Saving Kabul Corner is written for readers at the younger end of the YA spectrum.


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: Afghanistan, H. Senzai, middle grade fiction, N

0 Comments on book review: Saving Kabul Corner as of 6/10/2014 3:25:00 AM
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46. #BookADay: How To Cheer Up Dad, by Fred Koehler

I've decided to participate in Donalyn Miller's 6th Annual Book-A-Day Summer Challenge. You can read more about the Book-A-Day challenge and guidelines on the Nerdy Book Club blog.

I wouldn't be able to attempt to do this were it not for the fact that picture books count; there's no way I'd have the time to read an entire novel a day this summer. I also figure it'll be a good excuse to reread some of my favourites! Not sure if I'll be able to post here for every book I read or reread, but will tweet about my #bookaday books on @inkyelbows.

Today, I reread my friend Fred Koehler's HOW TO CHEER UP DAD. Can't wait to read the sequel in 2015.

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47. #BookADay: A Good Trade, by Alma Fullerton and Karen Patkau

 

Today's #BookADay: A Good Trade, written by Alma Fullerton, illustrated by Karen Patkau, published by Pajama Press in 2012.

You can read more about Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day challenge and guidelines on the Nerdy Book Club blog

See my #BookADay archives for other books I've read or reread during the Challenge.

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48. #BookADay - WON TON: A Cat Tale Told In Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin

You can read more about Donalyn Miller's Book-A-Day challenge and guidelines on the Nerdy Book Club blog

See my #BookADay archives for other books I've read or reread during the Challenge.

0 Comments on #BookADay - WON TON: A Cat Tale Told In Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin as of 6/13/2014 1:51:00 AM
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49. #BookADay - I MUST HAVE BOBO, by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal

BookADay IMustHaveBobo 1000

0 Comments on #BookADay - I MUST HAVE BOBO, by Eileen and Marc Rosenthal as of 1/1/1900
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50. review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

 Listen, if you are a sucker for sister books, you will LOVE THIS, just LOVE THIS." Good Books Good Wine

” Listen, if you are a sucker for sister books, you will LOVE THIS, just LOVE THIS.” Good Books Good Wine

title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

author: Jenny Han

date: Simon and Schuster; April, 2014

main character: Lara Jean Song Covey

 

I began this book expecting a nice, light summer story; one of those good romances that I haven’t read in a very long time

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has such a sweet start. Oldest sister, Margo, is about to leave for college in Scotland and her sisters are going to miss her dearly. The girls are tender in their relationships and delicate with each others’  feelings. Their mother is deceased but to the girls still refer to her as ‘mommy’ and their father as ‘daddy’. Margot has been the family’s caretaker and her leaving is a major shift in the structure of the home. We get small clues of the shift when Lara Jean’s coffee isn’t just right and then, she has a car accident.

Lara Jean is in love with the idea of love. She’s a high school senior with a sense of innocence. Lara writes love letters to boys she’s loved since childhood, letters that she never intends to share with anyone. Now as a teenager, she’s always manages to avoid any opportunity for real romance and the only reason she finally has a relationship with a boy is because she stumbles into it.

With her older sister gone, Lara no longer has a shadow in which to hide so, she has to figure out her relationship with Josh (the boy next door who is very much a part of the family), Peter (the dreamboat), Chris (her most unlikely boyfriend) and even with her sisters. We often don’t realize that as we grow and change, our relationships must do the same. We need and perceive people in different ways. This change isn’t always subtle or easy no matter how special the relationship, as Lara Jean finds out.

 There’s a specific kind of fight you can only have with your sister. It’s the kind where you say things you can’t take back. You say them because you can’t help but say them, because you’re so angry it’s coming up your throat and out your eyes; you’re so angry you can’t see straight.

As soon as Daddy leaves and I hear him go to his room to get ready for bed, I barge into Margo’s room without knocking. Margot is at her desk on her laptop. She looks up at me in surprise.

In defining these relationships, Han builds strong consistent characters, except for Josh, the boy next door. He was never more than the all around good guy. Other characters in the story are revealed in their actions, conversations and through other characters. Certainly, one of the strengths of this book is Han’s ability to develop her characters.I was given room to not like elements of many of those I read about while still becoming invested in them and wanting to know their outcome.

Lara Jean’s bi-cultural heritage was an integral part of the story. She was very much just one of the gang but things like the way she prepared for Halloween reminded us of her Korean background.

I thoroughly enjoyed To All The Boys. This story that seemed so smarmily sweet incorporated tough issues that many of us experience at one time or another in our relationships. I read an ARC that had a few spots that needed to be repaired, but I hope and pray the ending did not change!


Filed under: Book Reviews Tagged: bi-racial, Jenny Han, Korean, relationships

1 Comments on review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, last added: 6/15/2014
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