Showing posts from January, 2012

The Year of the Picture Book: The Sniffles for Bear by Bonny Becker

The Sniffles for Bear
written by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
Candlewick Press, 2011
ISBN:  978-0-7636-4756-8
Grades K-3
Reviewed from school library copy.

BLURB: The relentlessly cheery Mouse pushes a cold-suffering Bear to new heights of melodrama in a hilarious new adventure starring the unlikely pair. Bear has a terrible cold. In fact, Bear is quite sure that no one has ever been as sick as he is. So when Mouse comes tap, tap, tapping on his front door eager to make Bear "as good as new" by reading a sunny story, singing a rousing chorus and plinking a twangy tune on her banjo, the pitifully coughing Bear - growing weaker by the minute - is convinced that his tiny friend does not appreciate the gravity of the situation. Can there be any saving Bear from his certain demise? Welcome the world's most lovable curmudgeon and his endearing, unstoppable sidekick in a wry new comedy sure to have even red-eyed, sniffly-nosed readers rolling with laught…

Nonfiction Monday: Kubla Khan, The Emperor of Everything by Kathleen Krull

Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything
written by Kathleen Kroll, illustrated by Robert Byrd
Viking, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-670-01114-8
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from purchased copy.

Loading... Loading... Always cast in a supporting role in the many books about Marco Polo, the great Kubla Khan now takes center stage in a splendid picture-book biography. He is a wonderful subject-a man who liked to live large, building the imperial city of Beijing from scratch, siring a hundred children, throwing birthday bashes for 40,000 guests. He ruled over the greatest empire of the tim...moreBLURB: Always cast in a supporting role in the many books about Marco Polo, the great Kubla Khan now takes center stage in a splendid picture-book biography. He is a wonderful subject-a man who liked to live large, building the imperial city of Beijing from scratch, siring a hundred children, throwing birthday bashes for 40,000 guests. He ruled over the greatest empire of the time, one that was lightyears ahead of W…

Fantastic Friday: My Very UnFairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

My Very UnFairy Tale Life
written by Anna Staniszewski
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2011
ISBN:  978-1-4022-5946-3
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from ebook copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

BLURB: "You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies."—Twelve-year-old Jenny has spent the last two years as an adventurer helping magical kingdoms around the universe. But it's a thankless job, leaving her no time for school or friends. She'd almost rather take a math test than rescue yet another magical creature! When Jenny is sent on yet another mission, she has a tough choice to make: quit and have her normal life back, or fulfill her promise and go into a battle she doesn't think she can win.

Things I enjoyed:  The premise of this book I found quite enjoyable.  A girl who travels to other worlds to help fairy tale like kingdoms solve problems.  The situations were definitely unique, not like any othe…

Picture Book Challenge: Dogs

Bark, George
written and illustrated by Jules Fieffer
HarperCollins Publishers 1999
ISBN: 978-0-06-205185-1
Grades PreK-2
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: Bark, George is a delightfully silly picture book about a dog who can't seem to bark right; for some unknown reason, he makes all sorts of other animal sounds.

This is delightful book, perfect for sharing with preschoolers or kindergartners.  I have found that it inevitably elicits giggles.  I enjoy reading this book with great emotion, shock, frustration, and a surprising twist at the end.  I find that I like to pause before turning that final page.  The illustrations are deceptively simple yet convey every emotion.  This book reminds me of Mo Willem's Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon books.  How these authors convey so much in so few words and simple lines amazes me. I highly recommend this book, it's great for read-a-loud time.

written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Book Review and Interview: Hans My Hedgehog by Kate Coombs

Hans My Hedgehog: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm
retold by Kate Coombs, illustrated by John Nickle
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN:  978-1-4169-1533-1
Grades 1-5
Reviewed from copy received from publisher for review.
Opinions expressed are solely my own.

BLURB: A classic tale of love and acceptance from the Brothers Grimm is beautifully rendered in this magical retelling. Hans is an unusual boy. Born a hedgehog from the waist up, he knows what it’s like to truly be an outcast. Even his amazing fiddle playing can’t help him fit in. So Hans flees to the forest with his herd of loyal pigs and only his music to keep him company. But then a most unusual thing happens: When Hans crosses paths with two kings with two lovely daughters, his luck starts to change. Will this lonely soul find true love after all?  This lively and lyrical retelling of the classic Grimm’s tale, paired with lush, detailed illustrations, reminds us of the power of music, the importance of belonging, and…

2012 Read to Me Picture Book Challenge

There's a Book is once again sponsoring the Read to Me Picture Book Challenge.  Since I really enjoyed participating last year and received some great books as prizes, I'm going to participate again this year.  I am going to up my goal since I will be participating throughout the whole year rather than only a part like 2011.  There are three levels of participation, Reading with a Child, Reading on Your Own, and Reading with child or on own with only a wrap up post at the end of the month.  Since I work in a school library and see children every day, here is what I have decided to do. There are various goals to chose from based on how many books you think you can complete.  I have decided to be daring this year and chose a more difficult goal. (Note: I did meet my goal for last year, I just didn't review all the books read on my blog.)

Reading with a Child (Children) Growing Level (Read 120 books with a child during the year.) Already completed: 8 books read (check back late…

Nonfiction Monday: Soar, Elinor! by Tami Lewis Brown

Soar, Elinor!
written by Tami Lewis Brown, pictures by Francois Roca
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-374-37115-9
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from purchased copy for Beehive Book Awards.

BLURB: Elinor Smith was six when she first went for a ride in a rickety "flying machine," and she was just sixteen when she earned her aviation license in 1928. But not everyone thought that girls should fly. When male pilots and newspapermen mocked her, Elinor decided to perform an aerial maneuver they thought was impossible: flying under all four bridges that span New York City's East River. Gorgeous sweeping illustrations by Fran├žois Roca show how Elinor pulled off this risky feat skillfully and with style.

 I really enjoyed this book.  The combination of gorgeous illustrations and great text pair nicely in this title.  I am also a big fan of books about people following their dreams and passions. I appreciated how Elinor's parents encouraged her in her dreams despite their unconve…

Fantastic Friday: Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson

Forbidden Sea
written by Sheila A. Nielson
Scholastic Press, 2010
ISBN:  978-0-545-09734-5
Grades 5-8
Reviewed from copy borrowed from library.

BLURB: Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea. When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song.  A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves.

I came across this book while doing reading for the Beehive Book Awards.  The premise didn&#…

My Sparkling Misfortune Interview and GIVEAWAY

I would like to welcome Laura Lond and Lord Arkus to my blog today.   They have both graciously agreed to answer a few questions. (Well, one more graciously than the other, I'll let you figure out who.)  For more information about the book and Lord Arkus check out my review of My Sparkling Misfortune. Also be sure to enter the giveaway at the end.

Questions for Lord Arkus: Q. What made you decide to become a villain?
A: Everyone seems to want to know this; understandable curiosity, I suppose. It happened when I was very young. I had lost a close friend, and on top of that I had found myself accused of things I had not done. People tend to be cruel and unfair, as I’m sure you know. I figured it was not worth it to try to prove them all wrong -- and I enjoyed their fear of me. So I had embraced this path and proceeded to build my reputation as a villain. Q. What is life like as a villain? A: It’s a lonely profession, and you always have to watch your back. On the other hand, it’s…