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Showing posts from August, 2014

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Dreamwood by Heather Mackey

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DREAMWOOD by Heather Mackey Putnam Juvenile, 2014 ISBN13: 9780399250675 Middle Grade Speculative (Fantasy) Grades 4-8 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Lucy Darrington has no choice but to run away from boarding school. Her father, an expert on the supernatural, has been away for too long while doing research in Saarthe, a remote territory in the Pacific Northwest populated by towering redwoods, timber barons, and the Lupine people. But upon arriving, she learns her father is missing: Rumor has it he’s gone in search of dreamwood, a rare tree with magical properties that just might hold the cure for the blight that’s ravaging the forests of Saarthe.

Determined to find her father (and possibly save Saarthe), Lucy and her vexingly stubborn friend Pete follow William Darrington’s trail to the deadly woods on Devil’s Thumb. As they encounter Lupine princesses, giant sea serpents, and all manner of terrifying creatures, Lucy hasn’t reckoned that the dreamwo…

EARLY READER SERIES: Boris by Andrew Joyner

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BORIS ON THE MOVE BORIS GETS A LIZARD BORIS FOR THE WIN BORIS SEES THE LIGHT by Andrew Joyner Scholastic, 2011 Early Reader Grades K-2 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOKS

BORIS ON THE MOVE

Meet Boris! He lives with his mom and dad in Hogg Bay. Their home is a van that once traveled all over the world. Then one morning, Boris feels a jolt. Could it be? Is the van really moving? Is Boris on an adventure at last?

But when Boris ends up on a trip to a wildlife refuge instead of the jungle safari he'd imagined, he ends up having an adventure he'll never forget. Because for this little warthog, life never quite turns out as he plans.

BORIS GETS A LIZARD

Boris loves pets! And he already has lots of them. All he's missing is his favorite animal, a Komodo dragon--the biggest lizard in the world!

When Boris brags to the kids in his class that he's getting one, everyone wants to see it. Boris needs to come up with a plan...fast. Luckily, he's got his…

EARLY CHAPTER BOOK: The Vanishing Coin by Kate Egan with Magician Mike Lane

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THE VANISHING COIN The Magic Shop #1 by Kate Egan with Magician Mike Lane illustrated by Eric Wight Feiwal and Friends, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-250-02914-0 Early Middle Grade Magical Realism Grades 2-4 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Want to see something cool?
I can make that quarter vanish.
All it takes is a little magic…

Fourth grade was supposed to be a fresh start, but Mike’s already back in the principal’s office. He’s not a bad kid. He just can’t sit still. And now, his parents won’t let him play soccer anymore; instead he has to hang out with his new neighbor Nora, who is good at everything!

Then, Mike and Nora discover the White Rabbit. It’s an odd shop—with a special secret inside. Its owner, Mr. Zerlin, is a magician, and, amazingly, he believes Mike could be a magician, too. Has Mike finally found something he’s good at?

REVIEW

Mike makes for a fun character, one I think kids will be able to relate to easily.  Mike doesn't mean to get in trouble all the time but he h…

GRAPHIC NOVEL: Cleopatra in Space #1 by Mike Maihack

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TARGET PRACTICE
Cleopatra in Space #1
Mike Maihack Graphix, 2014 ISBN13: 9780545528436 Middle Grade graphic novel (sci fi) Grades 3 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

When a young Cleopatra (yes, THAT Cleopatra) finds a mysterious tablet that zaps her to the far, REALLY far future, she learns of an ancient prophecy that says she is destined to save the galaxy from the tyrannical rule of the evil Xaius Octavian. She enrolls in Yasiro Academy, a high-tech school with classes like algebra, biology, and alien languages (which Cleo could do without), and combat training (which is more Cleo's style). With help from her teacher Khensu, Cleo learns what it takes to be a great leader, while trying to figure out how she's going to get her homework done, make friends, and avoid detention!

REVIEW

I can practically guarantee that this graphic novel is a winner.  It's perfect for elementary age students who like lots of action with fun characters.  The…

MMGM: A Hitch at the Fairmont by Jim Averbeck

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A HITCH AT THE FAIRMONT by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Nick Bertozzi Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014 ISBN: 9781442494473 Middle Grade Mystery Grades 4-8 Source: ARC from publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

An intrepid boy teams up with Alfred Hitchcock himself in this rollicking mystery rife with action, adventure, intrigue, and all the flavor of film noir.

After the mysterious death of his mother, eleven-year-old Jack Fair is whisked away to San Francisco's swanky Fairmont Hotel by his wicked Aunt Edith. There, he seems doomed to a life of fetching chocolates for his aunt and her pet chinchilla. Until one night, when Aunt Edith disappears, and the only clue is a ransom note written... in chocolate?

Suddenly, Jack finds himself all alone on a quest to discover who kidnapped Aunt Edith and what happened to his mother. Alone, that is, until he meets an unlikely accomplice: Alfred Hitchcock himself! The two embark on a madcap journey full of hid…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

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THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY by Jaleigh Johnson Delacorte Press, 2014 ISBN: 978-0-385-37615-0 Middle Grade Fantasy/Science Fiction Grades 4-8 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ja…

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka

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FRANK EINSTEIN AND THE ANTIMATTER MOTOR by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Brian Biggs Amulet Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-4197-1218-0 Middle Grade Science Fiction Grades 3-5 Source: Purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions—the robots Klink and Klank—to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor . . . until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan! Using real science, Jon Scieszka has created a unique world of adventure and science fiction—an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers.

REVIEW

One always knows that a book with the name Sciesz…

NONFICTION MONDAY: Master of Deceit by Marc Aronson

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MASTER OF DECEIT J. Edgar Hoover and America in the Age of Lies by Marc Aronson Candlewick Press, 2012 ISBN: 978-0-7636-5025-4 YA Nonfiction Grades 9 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A fascinating and timely biography of J. Edgar Hoover from a Sibert Medalist.

"King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. . . . You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to the nation."

Dr. Martin Luther King received this demand in an anonymous letter in 1964. He believed that the letter was telling him to commit suicide. Who wrote this anonymous letter? The FBI. And the man behind it all was J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI's first director. In this unsparing exploration of one of the most powerful Americans of the twentieth century, accomplished historian Marc Aronson unmasks the man behind the Bureau- his tangled family history and personal relationships; his own need for secrecy, deceit, and cont…

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Double Reverse by Fred Bowen

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DOUBLE REVERSE by Fred Bowen Peachtree Publishing, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-56145-814-1 Middle Grade Sports Fiction Grades 3-5 Source: Publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Freshman wide receiver Jesse realizes that although their team quarterback looks the part, his throws are wild. Jesse knows the plays, but he feels he is too small to play quarterback. Jesse's brother Jay has a problem of his own: his coach wants him to switch from quarterback to safety. The brothers agree on a deal: Jesse will try out for quarterback, and Jay will try playing safety. Meanwhile, Jesse and his teammates recruit an unlikely kicker for their team a girl named Savannah. Can Jesse, Jay, and Savannah overcome others' expectations and succeed in playing against type?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Fred Bowen is the author of Peachtree’s popular Fred Bowen Sports Story and All-Star Sport Story series. A lifelong sports fanatic, he has coached youth league baseball, basketball, and soccer. H…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

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THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE Lockwood & Co. #1 by Jonathan Stroud Disney Hyperion Books, 2013 ISBN: 978-142316491-3 Middle Grade Fantasy Grades 5 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chill…

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: The Berenson Schemes by Lisa Doan

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JACK THE CASTAWAY The Berenson Schemes #1 by Lisa Doan, illustrated by Ivica Stevanovic Darby Creek, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-4677-1076-3 Middle Grade Adventure Grades 2-5 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Jack's parents have been chased out of Tokyo, gone broke in Greece, and hosted Nairobi's least successful safari. Next they're taking Jack on a Caribbean vacation,whether Jack wants to go or not. The Berensons are about to start a snorkeling business. It's their latest get-rich-quick scheme. With these experienced world travelers at the helm, what could go wrong? Jack is used to staying indoors and not taking chances. When his parents take him out on the water, he ends up shipwrecked. Now Jack has to survive on a tropical island...and avoid a whale shark that's cruising along his beach.

REVIEW

When Jack's parents decide to take him to a Caribbean island to start a new business Jack is far from happy. Especially since he is well aware that…

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: About Parrots by Cathryn Sill

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ABOUT PARROTS A Guide for Children written by Cathryn Sill, illustrated by John Sill Peachtree Publishers, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-56145-795-3 Nonfiction Picture Book Source: Publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

In this appealing addition to the acclaimed About series, educator and author Cathryn Sill uses simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children what parrots are, how they look, how they move, what they eat, and where they live. Illustrator John Sill introduces readers to a variety of parrots, from the colorful Blue Lorikeets of the Polynesian Islands to the Rosy-faced Lovebirds of southwestern Africa. An afterword provides details on the parrots featured and inspires readers to learn more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

Cathryn Sill, a graduate of Western Carolina University, was an elementary school teacher for thirty years. She lives in North Carolina.

John Sill holds a BS in wildlife biology from North Carolina State University. Combining his kn…

BLOG TOUR w/ Giveaway: You are (Not) Small by Anna Kang

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YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant Two Lions, 2014 ISBN: 9781477847725 Picture Book Source: publisher for review (Thanks!) All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Two fuzzy creatures can't agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all!

The simple text of Anna Kang and bold illustrations of New Yorker cartoonist Christopher Weyant tell an original and very funny story about size it all depends on who's standing next to you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR

Christopher Weyant’s work has been published worldwide in books, newspapers, magazines, and online. His cartoons are in permanent collection at The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

Anna Kang received her MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL is their first children’s book; they are currently at work on a sequel. They live with their children in New Jer…

Fantastic Friday: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

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THE NIGHT GARDENER by Jonathan Auxier Amulet Books, 2014 ISBN: 978-1-4197-1144-2 Middle Grade Fantasy Grades 4 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

This much-anticipated follow-up to Jonathan Auxier’s exceptional debut, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, is a Victorian ghost story with shades of Washington Irving and Henry James. More than just a spooky tale, it’s also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling.

The Night Gardener follows two abandoned Irish siblings who travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier’s exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

REVIEW

I've been hearing lots of good things about this book so I've been looking forward to reading i…