Showing posts from April, 2013

MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: Alvin Ho, Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look

ALVIN HO: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night by Lenore Look, pictures by LeUyen Pham Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013 ISBN:  978-0-375-87033-0 Middle Grade Contemporary Grades 2-4 Reviewed from purchased copy.

Readers will herald the return of their favorite phobic boy in this, the fifth book in the beloved Alvin Ho series. Alvin's mother has been getting bigger . . . and bigger. Alvin's sure it's all the mochi cakes she's been eating, but it turns out she's pregnant! There are lots of scary things about babies, as everybody knows—there's learning CPR for the newborn and changing diapers (no way)—but the scariest thing of all is the fact that the baby could be a GIRL. As a result of the stress, Alvin develops a sympathetic pregnancy and hilarity definitely ensues. Once again, Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham deliver a story that's funny and touching in equal measures.


Getting a new sibling is a pretty common theme in …

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Nissa: a contemporary fairy tale by Bethany Lopez


NONFICTION MONDAY: Wild Boy: The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure

WILD BOY The Real Life of the Savage of Aveyron by Mary Losure illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering Candlewick Press, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-7636-5669-0 Middle Grade Nonfiction Grades 3 and up Reviewed from purchased copy.

What happens when society finds a wild boy alone in the woods and tries to civilize him? A true story from the author of The Fairy Ring.

One day in 1798, woodsmen in southern France returned from the forest having captured a naked boy. He had been running wild, digging for food, and was covered with scars. In the village square, people gathered around, gaping and jabbering in words the boy didn’t understand. And so began the curious public life of the boy known as the Savage of Aveyron, whose journey took him all the way to Paris. Though the wild boy’s world was forever changed, some things stayed the same: sometimes, when the mountain winds blew, "he looked up at the sky, made sounds deep in his throat, and gave great bursts of laughter." In a moving…

MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

THE RUNAWAY KING Ascendence Trilogy, #2 by Jennifer A. Nielsen Scholastic Press, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-545-28415-8 Middle Grade Fantasy/Adventure Grades 3 and up Reviewed from purchased copy.

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander

by William Alexander
Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4424-2726-6
Middle Grade Fantasy
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from copy received in publisher giveaway.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who has clockwork chicken legs and moves her house around—much like the fairy tale figure of Baba Yaga. Graba takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared.

Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan—because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river.

This accessible, atmospheric fantasy takes a gentle look …

EARLY READER: Bink & Gollie: Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee

by Kate DiCamillo & Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
Candlewick Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3497-1
Early Reader
Grades K-3
Reviewed from purchased copy.


All righty, then! Celebrate the tall and short of a marvelous friendship with a new Bink and Gollie adventure.

Gollie is quite sure she has royal blood in her veins, but can Bink survive her friend’s queenly airs — especially if pancakes are not part of the deal? Bink wonders what it would be like to be as tall as her friend, but how far will she stretch her luck to find out? And when Bink and Gollie long to get their picture into a book of record holders, where will they find the kudos they seek? Slapstick and sweetness, drollery and delight abound in this follow-up to the Geisel Award–winning, New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Bink and Gollie, written by the beloved and best-selling Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee and brought to hilarious life by To…

THOUGHTS ON READING: How involved do you get with the characters in the books you read?

I remember as a kid that I would fly through books like crazy. At least 5 or more chapter books a week if I recall correctly. I become well acquainted with the local librarian. :)  Things have changed as I have gotten older. I now take my time and prefer to relish the experience and allow myself to truly enjoy the book. An interesting plot was my main concern as a kid.

But I've also noticed something else as I've gotten older and that is the tendency to get gut-wrenchingly involved with some of the characters I read about. These are the books I have the hardest time putting down.  I get so involved I get nervous for the character when I know something bad is coming up.  Sometimes I wonder if this is excessive, I mean these characters feel real but they aren't, right? 

Right now, I'm reading Jennifer Nielsen's The Runaway King and I'm dying because I can't go home right this minute and finish reading it. (If you haven't read this series yet, I highly, hig…

NONFICTION MONDAY: A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart

written by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Higgins Bond
Peachtree, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-56145-693-2
Picture Book Nonfiction
Grades K-5
Reviewed from copy received in publisher giveaway. Thanks!
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


In simple yet informative language, A Place for Turtles introduces young readers to the ways human action or inaction can affect turtle populations and opens kids minds to a wide range of environmental issues. Describing various examples, the text provides an intriguing look at turtles, at the ecosystems that support their survival, and at the efforts of some people to save them. At the end of the book, the author offers readers a list of things they can do to help protect these special creatures in their own communities.


Turtles are endangered throughout the world. There are many reasons for this, pollution, alien species of plants or animals, loss of habitat, fishing nets, and hunting.  Stewart does a great job of po…

BLOG TOUR: Mattie by M. Ann Rohrer

MATTIE by M. Ann Rohrer Cedar Fort, 2013 ISBN13: 9781462111114 LDS Fiction Review copy provided by publisher for blog tour. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

MATTIE is a sweeping historical novel based on the life and times of Ann Rohrer’s maternal grandmother, who was born and raised in Colonia Juarez, one of 13 Mormon settlements in Mexico—the same one where Mitt Romney's grandfather lived.

Covering the time between 1902 and 1917 which includes an up close and personal view of Pancho Villa and the turbulence of the Mexican Revolution, we follow Mattie through crisis of faith, adventures, romance, and coming of age as she learns to cope with her world.


Martha Ann Robinson Rohrer was born in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. At age nine, she moved with her family to Toquepala, Peru, South America, where they lived for ten years. After attending Juarez Stake Academy in Mexico her sophomore year, she returned to Peru and finished her junio…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW and INTERVIEW: The Deductive Detective by Brian Rock

by Brian Rock, illustrated by Sherry Rogers
Sylvan Dell, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-60718-6250
Picture Book
Grades PreK-2
Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Someone stole a cake from the cake contest--who could it be? Twelve animal bakers are potential suspects but Detective Duck uses his deductive reasoning skills to "quack" the case. After all, the thief left hairs behind so the thief wasn't a bird. Follow along as he subtracts each suspect one at a time to reveal just who the culprit was. This clever story will have children of all ages giggling at the puns and the play on words.


Brian Rock received a master's degree in Children's Literature and Creative Writing from Hollins University. Brian's short stories for children appear regularly in the regional magazine Kid's World and his poems for children have appeared in Highlights for Children, P…


Welcome to the 14th Kid Lit Blog Hop. I thought it would be a good time to remind new folks what we are all about. The Kid Lit Blog Hop takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. We decided to start up this Hop to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists, as well as parents seeking out their next great read. So, you are more than welcome to link in and take some time to make some new friends.

Before we get on with the Hop I do want to remind you that the sign-ups for the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop, co-hosted by Mother Daughter Book Reviews and Youth Literature Reviews is NOW OPEN. The Kid Lit Giveaway Hop is taking place to honor Children's Book Week (May 13 to 19, 2013). Children's book or teen literature bloggers, authors, publishers, or publicists looking to share copies of a fabulous book are welcome to link in a giveaway for fabulous children/teen's books, gift cards, cash, or other prize…

BOOK BLAST: Moonlit by Jadie Jones


Eighteen-year-old Tanzy Hightower knows horses, has grown up with them on Wildwood Farm. She also knows not to venture beyond the trees that line the pasture. Things happen out there that can’t be explained. Or undone. Worse, no one but she and the horses can see what lurks in the shadows of the woods. When a moonlit ride turns into a terrifying chase, Tanzy is left to question everything, from the freak accident that killed her father to the very blood in her veins. Broken and confused, she turns to Lucas, a scarred, beautiful stranger, and to Vanessa, a charming new friend who has everything Tanzy doesn’t. But why do they seem to know more about her than she knows herself?

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 "Virginia's trees look like they're burning. Most of them blaze crimson or gold, but some still have a chokehold on their green. I wish they'd give it up already. Leaves are more beautiful when they're dyin…