Showing posts from February, 2012

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my Leap into Books Giveaway.
For this giveaway I am offering:
$20 Young Adult or Middle Grade Book from Book Depository.
To Enter: Leave a blog comment about a book you read and loved as a child.  Please include an email where I can reach you. You do not need to be a follower to enter.  Everyone has an equal chance to win.You must be 13 or over to enter.The winner will be chosen using I will notify the winner on March 6th.  You will have 48 hours to respond before I pick another winner.This giveaway will run from February 29th through March 5th. Check here for more great giveaways.

2012 Debut Author Challenge: Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

written by A.C. Gaughen
Walker Children's, 2012
ISBN13: 9780802723468
292 p.
Grades 9 and up
Reviewed from personal copy.
BLURB: Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
One of the things I find interesting about the book world is the fact that there are books for every sort of taste and temperam…

Nonfiction Monday: All the water in the world by George Ella Lyon

written by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Katherine Tillotson
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7130-6
32 p.
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy. 
Illustrations come from and are copyrighted material.

BLURB: All the water in the world is all the water in the world.We are all connected by water, and this message is beautifully, lyrically delivered from poet-musician-author George Ella Lyon. Where does water come from? Where does water go? Find out in this exploration of oceans and waterways that highlights an important reality: Our water supply is limited, and it is up to us to protect it. Dynamic, fluid art paired with pitch-perfect verse makes for a wise and remarkable read-aloud that will resonate with any audience.

This is a wonderful book, full of poetic language and gorgeous illustrations.  In fact, the book flows rather like its subject, water. I love the way the water cycle is introduced, "Water doesn't c…

Fantastic Friday: Albrek's Tomb by M.L. Forman

ALBREK'S TOMB (Adventurers Wanted, book 3)
written by M.L. Forman
Shadow Mountain, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60908-892-7
491 p.
Grades 5-8
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: Two thousand years ago, the dwarf Albrek went looking for new mines in the land of Thraxon in the hopes of becoming rich-and vanished. Now the dwarves must find Albrek's magical Ring of Searching before their mines run dry, a possibility which threatens the livelihood of the entire dwarf realm.

Alexander Taylor joins a familiar company of adventurers on a quest to discover what happened to Albrek, find his mythical tomb, and locate the lost talisman.

But finding the ring may be the least of the adventurers' problems once they cross paths with an ancient, wandering paladin, Bane, who warns of a great evil working in all of the known lands. Following in Albrek's footsteps, Alex and his friends travel to the haunted Isle of Bones, where a mysterious creature lurks in a deserted village, to the cursed city o…

Book Review: Cold Cereal by Adam Rex

written by Adam Rex
Baltzer + Bray, 2012
ISBN13: 9780062060020
432 p.
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from ebook provided by publisher through NetGalley.

Cold Cereal Facts Serving size 1 chapter Number of servings 40
Primary human characters: Scottish Play Doe, aka Scott, possible changeling Erno Utz,  genius Emily Utz, supergenius 
Magical creatures at least 3: Mick Leprechaun (or Clurichaun), Harvey Pooka (rabbit-man), Biggs indeterminate origin (hairy, large)
Evil organizations 1:  Goodco Cereal Company Purveyor of breakfast foods aspiring to world domination Adventure 75%
Diabolical Schemes 40%
Danger 57%
Legend 20%
Magic 68%
Humor 93%
Puzzles 35%
Mystery 49%

Not a significant source of vampires.
May contain nuts.
Daily values based on individual interest. Reader's estimation of value may be higher or lower, depending on your tolerance for this sort of thing.It's taken me a while to get this review written up, primarily because I'm not completely sure what to make of t…

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge 2012: Spot the Plot by J. Patrick Lewis

Spot the Plot: A Riddle Book of Book Riddles
written by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Chronicle Books, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8118-4668-4
36 p.
Grades 1-5
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: Thirteen witty and wacky poems pose riddles that challenge readers to Name That Book. With a glass slipper here and a spider web there, Munsinger's adorable illustrations lead young readers to the solutions.
I love this book.  Not only does this book have clever riddles, but also cute illustrations.  I enjoy sharing these with my students and having them try to guess what book is being described.  For the older students I wait to show the pictures until they've had a few guesses because the illustrations really give some great clues.  Several of the books highlighted have been made into movies so the younger students have a good chance at guessing most of the titles.  Some of the books included are: The Wizard of Oz, Madeline, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Where…

Read to Me Picture Book Challenge: Valentine's Day

Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story
written by Kara LaReau, pictures by Scott Magoon
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59643-483-7
32 p.
Grades K-3
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURB: Mr. Prickles was not a particularly friendly fellow. He was tough to get close to . . . because he was a porcupine.
"You're not cute like us," said Raccoon.
"Or cuddly like us," said Chipmunk.
"Or playful like us," said Skunk.
"I am," said Mr. Prickles. "On the inside."
Poor Mr. Prickles was very lonely-until the day he met Miss Pointypants. Could she be the perfect prickly companion for moonlit strolls and midnight feasts? Was love in the air for even the sharpest of sorts?
I read this book to a group of kindergarteners.  I enjoyed it and I think they enjoyed it as well.  But it's not one of my favorites.  It didn't have as much humor as I expected.  In addition, the puns pretty much go over the head of young children.  Even older elementary s…

Nonfiction Monday: President's Day

Those Rebels, John & Tom
written by Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Scholastic Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-22268-6
48 p.
Grades 2-6
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB: A brilliant portrait of two American heroes from the award-winning creators of The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)!John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different.John Adams was short and stout. Thomas Jefferson was tall and lean.John was argumentative and blunt.Tom was soft-spoken and polite. John sometimes got along with almost no one.Tom got along with just about everyone. But these two very different gentlemen did have two things in common: They both cared deeply about the American colonies, and neither cared much for the British tyrant, King George. With their signature wit, impeccable research, and inventive presentation style, award winners Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham masterfully blend biography and history to create a brilliant portrait of two American heroes…

Fantastic Friday: Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner

Museum of Thieves (The Keepers, book 1)
written by Lian Tanner
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
ISBN13: 9780385739054
256 p.
Grades 4-8
Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

BLURB: Welcome to the tyrannical city of Jewel, where impatience is a sin and boldness is a crime.Goldie Roth has lived in Jewel all her life. Like every child in the city, she wears a silver guardchain and is forced to obey the dreaded Blessed Guardians. She has never done anything by herself and won’t be allowed out on the streets unchained until Separation Day. When Separation Day is canceled, Goldie, who has always been both impatient and bold, runs away, risking not only her own life but also the lives of those she has left behind. In the chaos that follows, she is lured to the mysterious Museum of Dunt, where she meets the boy Toadspit and discovers terrible secrets. Only the cunning mind of a thief can understand the museum’s strange, shifting rooms. Fortunately, Goldie has a talent for thievi…

Book Review: December 1941 by Craig Shirley

December 1941: The Month That Changed America and Saved the World
written by Craig Shirley
Nelson, Thomas, Inc. 2011
ISBN13: 9781595554574
656 p.
Grades 9 and up
Reviewed from e-book copy provided by BookSneeze for free.
All opinions expressed are solely my own. Book provided for honest review.

BLURB: December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World traces, day-by-day, the most important 31 days in the history of America's participation in WWII, which snuffed out the lives of millions and changed history forever.
From December 1, 1941, until the morning of December 7, 1941, America was at peace and-with the exception of the stubborn and persistent high unemployment of the Great Depression-was a relatively happy country.  By the afternoon of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor, America was a radically changed country, forever. Its isolationist impulses evaporated, and both major political parties became more or less internationalist. The month also introduced food…

Follower Love Giveaway Hop Winner

I have to say, I received a lot more entries than I ever expected.  I appreciate all of you who stopped by.  I wish there could be more than one winner, but one is all I can afford for the time being.

Mervi Mustonen!


Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Star of the Sea by Janet Halfmann

Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish
written by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Joan Paley
Henry Holt and Company, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9073-4
5 stars
Grades K-5
Reviewed from library copy.

BLURB: With the ocean her home, an ochre sea star hunts for her morning meal.  She folds over her rays and grips the rocky shore with sticky feet as she feasts on shellfish.  When she takes too long, the tide flows back without her and Sea Star becomes easy prey.  But she is built to survive and eventually makes her way back to the sea, although with one less ray than before.  This inspiring story informs young children about the important role of a small but fascinating sea creature.
Not only is this book gorgeously illustrated but very informative as well. The book follows a single day of a sea star struggles to survive as both predator and prey. The reader watches as the sea star makes her way out of the water toward a group of mussels.  The details about how the sea star mo…

Book Valentine's

Shannon over at Book Dreaming has shared some "book valentines." I like the idea so I'm repeating it here.  I have so many favorites that I have several overflowing bookshelves at my house, I have a bunch more at school.  But here's what I'm going with today:

Best Loved
Book(s) Currently Reading and Loving
Book(s) I love to share:   (I love to share any Elephant & Piggie Book.)
Favorite humorous book:
Book I didn't think I'd like, but ended up loving
Favorite Graphic Novel
Favorite Book that I wish had the whole series out now!
Best Plotted Series I've ever read
Favorite YA Book:

I think I'll stop here, I could of course go on and on, but these are a few of my favorites.  I'd love it if you would share some of your favorites as well!  Happy Valentine's Day!!

Also of great note the 2011 Cybil's winners have been announced and I am very excited to see some of my favorites listed.

Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell (Picture Fiction)
I Fe…

Nonfiction Monday: How I learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz

How I Learned Geography
written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz
Farrar Straus Giroux, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-33499-4
Grades 2-5
Reviewed from library copy.

BLURB: Having fled from war in their troubled homeland, a boy and his family are living in poverty in a strange country. Food is scarce, so when the boy’s father brings home a map instead of bread for supper, at first the boy is furious. But when the map is hung on the wall, it floods their cheerless room with color. As the boy studies its every detail, he is transported to exotic places without ever leaving the room, and he eventually comes to realize that the map feeds him in a way that bread never could.
The award-winning artist’s most personal work to date is based on his childhood memories of World War II and features stunning illustrations that celebrate the power of imagination. An author’s note includes a brief description of his family’s experience, two of his early drawings, and the only surviving photograph of…

Fantastic Friday: Lawn Mower Magic by Lynne Jonell

Lawn Mower Magic
written by Lynne Jonnell, illustrated by Brandon Dorman
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012
ISBN13: 9780375866616
112 p.
To be released on February 28, 2012.
Grades 2-4
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

BLURBWith a POP! and a puff of smoke, the Willows' lawn mower calls it quits. A new mower will cost their parents a lot of money, money Derek had hoped to borrow for a train ticket to visit a friend. Luckily Derek and his brother and sisters find a rusty push mower tucked away in the shed. It doesn't look like much, but it turns out that it's been soaking up magic for years. And it's hungry for grass!

Can Derek earn his ticket? Maybe . . . if he, Abner, Tate, and Celia can keep the magic mower under control!
Not having read Hamster Magic, I didn't understand the references to Derek's family's previous experience with messed up magic.  However, I still managed to follow most of the story.  The story does focus on one…

Book Review: Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale
written by Rebecca H. Jamison
Cedar Fort, 2012
ISBN: 9781599559476
240 p.
Grades 8 and up
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through NetGalley.

BLURB: When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she'd never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil's brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.

Persuasion by Jane Austen is one of my favorite adult books, so I was naturally intrigued when I heard about this book.  I was rather skeptical as I read the first few chapters, after all, Austen's books are considered classics for a reason. But as I got more involved in the story and stopped comparing it to the original, I found myself enjoying it more.  By the time I got to the part where Li…

2012 NetGalley Reading Challenge

I wasn't planning on doing any more challenges, but since I will be reading as many NetGalley ebooks as I can, I figure that since I will be doing this any way, I might as well do it as a challenge.

My goal will be the Gold Star Level (30+ NetGalley books).

Thanks to Red House Books for sponsoring this challenge.

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: The Humming Room by Ellen Potter

The Humming Room
written by Ellen Potter
Feiwel & Friends, 2012
ISBN: 9780312644383
192 p.
To be released on February 28, 2012
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from ebook provided by publisher through NetGalley.

BLURB: Hiding is Roo Fanshaw's special skill. Living in a frighteningly unstable family, she often needs to disappear at a moment's notice. When her parents are murdered, it's her special hiding place under the trailer that saves her life.

As it turns out, Roo, much to her surprise, has a wealthy if eccentric uncle, who has agreed to take her into his home on Cough Rock Island. Once a tuberculosis sanitarium for children of the rich, the strange house is teeming with ghost stories and secrets. Roo doesn't believe in ghosts or fairy stories, but what are those eerie noises she keeps hearing? And who is that strange wild boy who lives on the river? People are lying to her, and Roo becomes determined to find the truth.

Despite the best efforts of her uncle's ass…

Book Talk Tuesday: Theme--Being Different

Today I am highlighting three books that look at what life can be like when one is different in significant ways from those around them or how to deal with the changes that happen to all of us. 

The Splendid Spotted Snake (A Magic Ribbon Book)
written by Betty Ann Schwartz, illustrated by Alexander Wilensky
Workman Publishing, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7611-6360-2
Grades PreK-1
Reviewed from personal copy.

BLURB:  It's a marvel Every time you turn the page the little snake grows bigger. And it's a book that teaches colors: with every page his spots change color. Amazing "But how does it work "Using a unique Magic Ribbon format invented by the authors, "The Splendid Spotted Snake" follows the adventures of a little spotted snake made out of sturdy, polka-dotted cloth ribbon. "When Yellow Snake was born, he had bright red spots. But then he grew . . . His new spots were blue."Not only does the little snake double in size, his spots also chan…

Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Welcome to Geo Librarian's Follower Love Giveaway.  
This giveaway hop is being hosted by 
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Rachael Renee Anderson

For this giveaway I am offering...

...up to $20 in Middle Grade/Young Adult book(s) from Book Depository.

This giveaway is open internationally, as long as The Book Depository delivers to you.

To enter:

You need to be a follower for this giveaway.Leave a comment with an email address where I can contact you should you win.Tell me about a great middle grade/young adult book you've read recently.One entry per person, I like everyone to have an equal chance to win.  This giveaway ends February 15th at 12:01 a.m.  I will email you if you win and I will need a response within 48 hours or I will use to choose someone else.  

Thanks for stopping by and good luck! Be sure to visit I Am a Reader, Not A Writer for more great giveaways to enter.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks to all those who participated.

Nonfiction Monday: For the Love of Music by Elizabeth Rusch

For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart
written by Elizabeth Rusch
paintings by Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher
Tricycle Press, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-58246-326-1
Grades 1 and up
Reviewed from book borrowed from public library.
Reviewed for Beehive Book Awards

BLURB: By the time she was 12, she was considered one of the finest pianists in Europe, but today few people know her name. Maria Mozart, like her famous brother Wolfgang, was a musical prodigy. The talented siblings toured Europe, playing before kings and empresses, were showered with gifts and favors, and lived in a whirlwind life of music and travel. They were best friends, collaborators, and confidantes. As they grew older, Wolfgang was encouraged to pursue his musical ambitions, while Maria was told she must stop performing and, ultimately, marry. But she was determined to continue playing the piano every day, for the love of music . . . .

I'll say up front that I loved this book, so much so that I bo…