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Showing posts from November, 2013

CYBILS REVIEW: The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

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THE WEIGHT OF WATER by Sarah Crossan Bloomsbury, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-59990-967-7 Middle Grade Contemporary Grades 5-8 Reviewed from library copy. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat. The Weight of Water is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.
REVIEW
Kasienka and her mother arrive in England prepared to search for her father who left them behind in Poland. They just received a check from h…

CYBILS REVIEW: Gaby, Lost and Found by Angela Cervantes

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GABY, LOST AND FOUND by Angela Cervantes Scholastic, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-545-62434-3 Middle Grade Contemporary Grades 4-8 Reviewed from library copy. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Wanted: One amazing forever home for one amazing sixth grader.

"My name is Gaby, and I'm looking for a home where I can invite my best friend over and have a warm breakfast a couple of times a week. Having the newest cell phone or fancy clothes isn't important, but I'd like to have a cat that I can talk to when I'm home alone."

Gaby Ramirez Howard loves volunteering at the local animal shelter. She plays with the kittens, helps to obedience train the dogs, and writes adoption advertisements so that the strays who live there can find their forever homes: places where they'll be loved and cared for, no matter what.

Gaby has been feeling like a bit of a stray herself, lately. Her mother has recently been deported to Honduras and Gaby is stuck living with her inattentiv…

CYBILS REVIEW: Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko

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AL CAPONE DOES MY HOMEWORK A Tale from Alcatraz by Gennifer Choldenko Dial, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-8037-3472-2 Middle Grade Historical Fiction Grades 4-8 Reviewed from library copy.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Alcatraz Island in the 1930s isn't the most normal place to grow up, but it's home for Moose Flanagan, his autistic sister, Natalie, and all the families of the guards. When Moose's dad gets promoted to Associate Warden, despite being an unlikely candidate, it's a big deal. But the cons have a point system for targeting prison employees, and his dad is now in serious danger. After a fire starts in the Flanagan's apartment, Natalie is blamed, and Moose bands with the other kids to track down the possible arsonist. Then Moose gets a cryptic note from the notorious Al Capone himself. Is Capone trying to protect Moose's dad too? If Moose can't figure out what Capone's note means, it may be too late.
REVIEW
I put off reading this series because Al Capone and Alcatraz simply didn&…

CYBILS REVIEW: Road Trip by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen

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ROAD TRIP by Gary Paulsen and Jim Paulsen Wendy Lamb Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-385-74191-0 Middle Grade Contemporary Grades 5-8 Reviewed from library copy. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Dad and Ben haven't been getting along recently and Dad hopes a road trip to rescue a border collie will help them reconnect. But Ben is on to Dad's plan and invites  Ben's thuggish buddy, Theo. The family dog, Atticus, comes along too and the story is told by Ben and Atticus. When their truck breaks down, they commandeer an old school bus, along with its mechanic, Gus. Next, they pick up Mia, a waitress escaping a tense situation. Only sharp-eyed Atticus realizes that Theo is on the run—and someone is following them.

REVIEW

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book.  In some ways I really enjoyed it, the dog's commentary for example was quite amusing.  The relationships between the characters were interesting even though the sudden addition of some characters se…

REVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

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MR. TIGER GOES WILD by Peter Brown Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-316-20063-9 Picture Book Grades K-2 Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Are you bored with being so proper? 

Do you want to have more fun? 

Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild. 

But does he go too far? 

From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there's a time and place for everything...even going wild.

ACTIVITY KIT
HOLIDAY FUN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Brown has always loved telling stories. Growing up in New Jersey, he told stories by drawing whimsical characters andscenes from his imagination. Then, as a teenager, he fell in love with writing, and told his tales with words. While studying illustration at Art Center College of Design, Peter’s love of both words and pictures led him to take several courses on children’s books. And before long he knew he’d found his calling.

Afte…

CYBILS REVIEW: Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff

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GINGERSNAP by Patricia Reilly Giff Wendy Lamb Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-375-83891-0 Middle Grade Historical Fiction Grades 4-8 Reviewed from library copy. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

It's 1944, W.W. II is raging. Jayna's big brother Rob is her only family. When Rob is called to duty on a destroyer, Jayna is left in their small town in upstate New York with their cranky landlady. But right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna a secret: they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. Rob found a little blue recipe book with her name and an address for a bakery. When Jayna learns that Rob is missing in action, she's devastated. Along with her turtle Theresa, the recipe book, and an encouraging, ghostly voice as her guide, Jayna sets out for Brooklyn in hopes of finding the family she so desperately needs.

REVIEW

I quite enjoyed this story, especially the relationship between Jayna and her brother, even though we only see them together briefly. It's a short read so t…

BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: Fossil by Bill Thomson

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FOSSIL by Bill Thomson Two Lions/Amazon Publishing, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-47784-7-008 Picture Book K and up Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

When a boy and his dog go for a hike, the boy trips on a fossil, and it comes to life, revealing an ancient plant. The boy is so intrigued that he breaks two more fossils and they too come to life - showing a prehistoric dragonfly and a pterodactyl. The dog jumps on the pterodactyl's back, and the boy, desperate to get his dog back, figures out a way to make things go back to normal. Using original art, this "wordless story" will surely spark imagination and creativity.

Common Core Educator's Guide
Kid's Activity Guide

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Thomson lives in Southington, Connecticut with his wife, Diann, and their three sons, Billy, Nik, and Ethan. Bill has illustrated Karate Hour, Building With Dad, Baseball Hour, and Soccer Hour, all written by Carol Nevi…

JACQUELINE WILSON Part #2: The Worst Thing About My Sister

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THE WORST THING ABOUT MY SISTER
by Jacqueline Wilson RHCP Digital, 2013 ISBN: 0440869285 Review copy provided by publisher in return for honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own. Middle Grade Contemporary
ABOUT THE BOOK

Being a sister isn't always easy . . . but what's the very worst thing about your sister?

Marty and her sister Melissa couldn't be more different. Marty loves her Converse trainers, playing football, hiding in her secret den and helping her dad with his DIY. But Melissa loves Justin Bieber and all things pink, girly and pretty.

The sisters can manage to live together, despite their occasional scraps but then Mum tells them they have to share a room. For Marty, having to share her bunk beds and lose her private sanctuary turns out to be the very worst thing about having a sister. But the girls soon discover that being too close for comfort can have unexpected consequences, and when an accident happens, the sisters realize they are closer than they thou…

CYBILS REVIEW: Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard

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TURN LEFT AT THE COW by Lisa Bullard HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013 ISBN: 9780544029002 Review copy provided by publisher through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Thirteen-year-old Trav has always wondered about his dead-before-he-was-born dad. But when he heads from California to his grandmother's house in rural Minnesota, hoping to learn about his past, he gets more than he bargained for.

It turns out his dad was involved in a bank robbery right before he mysteriously disappeared, and the loot from the take is still missing. Along with Kenny and Iz, the kids next door, Trav embarks on a search for the cash. But the trio’s adventure quickly turns dangerous when it becomes clear that someone else is looking for the money—someone who won’t give up without a fight!

REVIEW

When Travis arrives in rural Minnesota he quickly discovers that the answers he has long desired about his father may not give him the closure he seeks. It seems his father was involved …

CYBILS REVIEW: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

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TWERP by Mark Goldblatt Random House, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-375-97142-6 Middle Grade Historical Fiction Grades 4-8 Reviewed from library copy. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

It's not like I meant for him to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn't a bully. He's just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade--blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he's still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can't bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Inspired by Mark Goldblatt's own childhood growing up in 1960s Que…

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic by Mark Tatulli

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DESMOND PUCKET MAKES MONSTER MAGIC by Mark Tatulli Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013 ISBN: 978-1-4494-3548-6 Middle Grade Humor Grades 3-5 Reviewed from copy provided by publisher in return for honest review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Desmond's world is full of monster magic--packed with detailed drawings of custom-crafted wriggling worms, goblins that spring from toilets, and elaborate slumber party ghost scares.  He's an aspiring special effects wizard with dreams of creating his own dark amusement park rides, just like the Mountain Full of Monsters at Crab Shell Pier he'll be visiting on this year's school field trip.  But when Desmond takes his frightful pranks a little too far, he finds himself in trouble and his field trip privileges in danger.  Can he clean up his act, while staying true to who he is?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Tatulli is an internationally syndicated cartoonist best known for his popular comic strips Heart of the City, which chro…