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Showing posts from July, 2016

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty

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SERAFINA AND THE TWISTED STAFF by Robert Beatty Disney Hyperion, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4847-7503-5 Ages 9-12 Middle grade speculative (historical fantasy) Source: ARC from publisher All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

In 1899, when an evil threatens all the humans and animals of the Blue Ridge Mountains, twelve-year-old Serafina, rat catcher for the Biltmore estate and the daughter of a shapeshifting mountain lion, must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that awaits her.

REVIEW

Robert Beatty has created a compelling sequel that more than lives up to the first book.  The action takes off in the first chapter and never really lets up (although Serafina has a few quieter moments they are few and far between).  Just as Serafina is coming to terms with her shapeshifting abilities and is trying to figure out where she belongs: Biltmore or the forest.  While wandering the forest one night she observes a strange carriage pulled by four wildlike stallion that drops off a …

SERIES THURSDAY: Ogres Awake! by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost

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OGRES AWAKE! by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost First Second, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-59643-653-4 Ages 6 and up Graphic novel Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The knight and her horse, Edward, have made a startling discovery: there are three huge ogres asleep at her doorstep! When they wake up, the kingdom is in big trouble! The knight, Edward, and some garden gnomes fight back, not with swords and shields, but with potato peelers and spoons. It turns out that ogres are pretty friendly when they have full stomachs!
REVIEW
This new addition to the Adventures in Cartooning series presents the knight and her horse, Edward with a new challenge.  When the knight spots the ogres sleeping, she knows that they will soon show up at the castle.  Naturally, her first inclination is to prepare to fight them, but the king has another plan in mind.  I really appreciated the fact that while the knight's first inclination is to fight, that is not t…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Ibn al-Haytham/ Together Forever

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IBN AL-HAYTHAM The Man Who Discovered How We See by Libby Romero National Geographic Kids, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2500-7 Ages 6-9 Biography Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Celebrated in a film featuring Omar Sharif in his final role, meet the scientist known as the "Father of Optics," Ibn al-Haytham!

During the golden age of science, knowledge, and invention in Muslim civilization -- also known as the "Dark Ages" in Western Europe -- this incredible scholar discovered how we see and set the stage for the methods we now know as the scientific process. Packed with beautiful and engaging photos, kids will learn all about this fascinating scientist.

The Level 3 text provides accessible, yet wide-ranging, information for independent readers. This book is a companion to the international educational campaign, "1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn al-Haytham," that includes interactive exhibits, workshops, live shows, and a 12-mi…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: We Need Diverse (PIcture) Books

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MITZI TULANE PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE In What's That Smell? by Lauren McLaughlin, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi Random House, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-449-81915-9 Ages 3-6 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Mitzi Tulane may be only three years old, but she sure knows how to follow a trail of evidence and solve tough mysteries. From the strange happenings in the kitchen to the sudden arrival of every family member she’s ever met, Mitzi pieces together the clues and (finally) realizes that she’s . . . in the middle of her own surprise birthday party!

Kids and parents will laugh along as Mitzi sorts through not-so-subtle hints and comes to her conclusions. Readers will love figuring out the surprise ahead of the private-eye protagonist! Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s bouncy illustrations bring an extra layer of fun to Lauren McLaughlin’s clever story!
REVIEW
Mitzi Tulane is an adorable character that I hope to see a lot more of in the future.  I laughed as Mitzi seeks to f…

MG/YA NONFICTION: Sabatage by Neal Bascomb

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SABATAGE The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb Arthur A. Levine books, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-545-73243-7 Ages 12 and up Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Neal Bascomb delivers another nail-biting work of nonfiction for young adults in this incredible true story of spies and survival.

The invasion begins at night, with German cruisers slipping into harbor, and soon the Nazis occupy all of Norway. They station soldiers throughout the country. They institute martial rule. And at Vemork, an industrial fortress high above a dizzying gorge, they gain access to an essential ingredient for the weapon that could end World War II: Hitler’s very own nuclear bomb.

When the Allies discover the plans for the bomb, they agree Vemork must be destroyed. But after a British operation fails to stop the Nazis’ deadly designs, the task falls to a band of young Norwegian commandos. Armed with little more than skis, explosives, and great courage, they w…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Shattered Lens by Brandon Sanderson

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THE SHATTERED LENS Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #4 by Brandon Sanderson, illustrations by Hayley Lazo Starscape, 2016 (reprint) ISBN: 978-0-7653-7900-9 Ages 8-12 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!) All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The Shattered Lens is the fourth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. These fast-paced and funny novels are now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry is up against a whole army of Evil Librarians with only his friend Bastille, a few pairs of glasses, and an unlimited supply of exploding teddy bears to help him. This time, even Alcatraz's extraordinary talent for breaking things may not be enough to defeat the army of Evil Librarians and their giant librarian robots.

REVIEW

Alcatraz Smedry once again finds himself at the heart of a Librarian conspiracy.  The Free Lander n…

SERIES THURSDAY: When I am happiest by Rose Lagercrantz

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WHEN I AM HAPPIEST by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson Gecko Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-927271-90-2 Ages 6-9 Early Chapter Book Source: publisher for review (Myrick Marketing) All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

A standalone follow-up to the acclaimed and beloved chapter books My Happy Life and My Heart is Laughing.

Dani is very happy—it's the last day of school, and summer is about to start. But then there's a knock on the classroom door, and Dani is told her father has been in an accident. He's in the hospital! How can she possibly be happy now?

A warm and heartfelt story about Dani's love for her dad and her ongoing friendship with Ella. It's a story about sorrow and joy—and how life really is.

REVIEW
Lagercrantz has written another cute book about the joys and sorrows of a young girl.  As school ends for the year, Dani is focused on finishing the book about the year that she has been writing, but she's having trouble coming up with a…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Ocean Animals by Johnna Rizzo

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OCEAN ANIMALS Who's Who in the Deep Blue by Johnna Rizzo National Geographic Kids, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2506-9 MG Nonfiction Ages 9-12 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Fans of Disney Pixar's Finding Dory and Finding Nemo movies will love meeting the real underwater critters behind the film in this colorful, fact-filled nonfiction book. From life in coral reefs, to sharks and rays, to sea birds, kids will meet incredible sea-based animals in action, including the blue tang fish and clownfish. It's all captured with beautiful underwater photography and features cool info about our oceans -- including fascinating facts, maps, and marine conservation tips and efforts.
REVIEW
For those young readers who are fascinated by the ocean, this book is worth purchasing for the gorgeous photographs alone.  Not only is the book a large size but so are many of the photographs.  And as National Geographic has developed an amazing reputation for i…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: Two great wordless picture books!

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RETURN by Aaron Becker Candlewick Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-7636-7730-5 Ages 4-8 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker’s wordless trilogy—a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home.

Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It’s her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall. Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest.
REVIEW
I have thoroughly enjoyed the trilogy of wordless boo…

SERIES THURSDAY: Detective Gordon by Ulf Nilsson

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DETECTIVE GORDON, THE FIRST CASE by Ulf Nilsson, illustrated by Gitte Spee Gecko Press, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-927271-49-0 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!) Ages 6-10 Middle grade mystery All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Someone's stealing nuts from the forest, and it's up to Detective Gordon to catch the thief! Unfortunately, solving this crime means standing in the snow and waiting for a long time... If only he had an assistant? someone small, fast, and clever? to help solve this terrible case

REVIEW
I enjoyed reading this chapter book mystery that looks at how a crime might really be solved.  Detective Gordon is the police chief who must solve the theft of nuts from multiple victims.  But he's older and has a hard time leaving the office.  So he recruits Buffy, a young, hungry mouse to help him.  Together, they work to find the guilty party will dealing with a rather obsessive victim (he knows how many nuts he has down to the individual number).  Buffy'…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Real or Fake? by Emily Krieger

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REAL OR FAKE? Far-out Fibs, Fishy Facts, and Phony Photos to Test for the Truth by Emily Krieger, illustrations by Tom Nick Cocotos National Geographic Kids, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2405-5 Ages 8-10 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Can you tell the truth from a tall tale?  Spot a phony Photo a mile away? Figure out a fib in five seconds flat? Then Real or Fake? is the book for you!  Put your amateur detective skills to work in this fun and wacky book and see if the truth triumphs as you encounter suspicious stories, fishy facts, lying lists, and more. You'll even play interactive games that will leave you second-guessing everything you've ever read.  Complete with awesome photos and hilarious collage art, this is one book that you have to read to believe...or disbelieve.

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this interactive book from National Geographic Kids.  The book consists of a selection that covers a four page spread.  The first two pages…

Pete the Cat's Magic Sunglasses Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

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PETE THE CAT and _______'s MAGIC SUNGLASSES by Kimberly & James Dean Put Me in the Story, 2016 available thanks to HarperCollins Source: publisher for review (Thanks!) $29.99 for a hardcover
ABOUT THE BOOK

Pete the Cat is having one of those days—the kind where nothing is going his way. But when Grumpy Toad lends Pete a pair of cool, blue, magic sunglasses, that gloomy, dreary day turns itself around!

This personalized book about learning to see the world in a whole new way features your child’s name and photo along with an encouraging dedication message from you. Your child plays a special part in the story—they are the one to let Grumpy Toad borrow the magic sunglasses in the first place!

As Pete the Cat travels through town, he meets friends that could use a little bit of magic. A hungry squirrel, a tipped-over turtle, and a lonely alligator all get a boost of positive vibes from the magic sunglasses. But what happens when those magic sunglasses break?

Teach your child to find th…

MMGM: Pax by Sara Pennypacker

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This book seemed an appropriate one to have read after the last week of grief and shock.  Neither of those things are easy to face no matter who is or is not to blame.  This site is where I share my thoughts on books, but today I couldn't help but share my empathy for those who are hurting at this time. It's my hope that with the Lord's help we, as Americans, can learn to listen to each other, and work together to help each other heal.

PAX by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen Balzer + Bray, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-06-237701-2 Ages 8-12 Middle grade  Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Pax was only a kit when his family was killed, and “his boy” Peter rescued him from abandonment and certain death. Now the war front approaches, and when Peter’s father enlists, Peter has to move in with his grandpa. Far worse than being forced to leave home is the fact that Pax can’t go. Peter listens to his stern father—as he usually does—and throws Pax’s f…

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson

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THE KNIGHTS OF CRYSTALLIA Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #3 by Brandon Sanderson, illustrations by Hayley Lazo Starscape, 2016 (reprint) ISBN: 978-0-7653-7898-9 Middle Grade Speculative (Fantasy) Ages 9-12 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

The Knights of Crystallia is the third action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. These fast-paced and funny novels are now available in deluxe hardcover editions illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

In this third Alcatraz adventure, Alcatraz Smedry has made it to the Free Kingdoms at last. Unfortunately, so have the evil Librarians--including his mother! Now Alcatraz has to find a traitor among the Knights of Crystallia, make up with his estranged father, and save one of the last bastions of the Free Kingdoms from the Evil Librarians.

REVIEW

Brandon Sanderson has created a rather unique speculative …

SERIES THURSDAY: The Ghost in the Tree House by Dori Hillestad Butler

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THE GHOST IN THE TREE HOUSE The Haunted Library #7 by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated Aurore Damont Grosset & Dunlap, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-448-48940-7 Early Chapter Book Ages 6-9 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK

Here is Edgar Award Winner Dori Hillestad Butler's seventh title in her not-too-scary chapter book mystery series, The Haunted Library. Perfect for reluctant readers in the mood for a great mystery!

A group of girls in Claire’s town have noticed strange sights and sounds coming from the tree house where their club meets. Is it a rival boys’ club trying to scare them away? Or is it a ghost? The girls ask Claire to tackle the mystery—and Kaz hopes to finally find the rest of his missing family members!

REVIEW
Kaz and Claire set out to solve another mystery, this time a supposed ghost in a tree house.  Kaz and Little John are hoping that maybe this ghost will be another member of their family, who they are still trying to find. But like most…

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Diving with Sharks by Margaret Gurevich

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DIVING WITH SHARKS! And More True Stories of Extreme Adventures! by Margaret Gurevich National Geographic Kids, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4263-2461-1 Ages 6-10 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Fans of Shark Week, Sharknado, and all things shark-related will want to sink their teeth into this exciting shark-infested chapter book. Join real-life cave divers, extreme photographers, and researchers as they brave thrilling undersea adventures! Kids who are familiar with the popular National Geographic Kids Chapters line are sure to be on the edge of their seats over these new totally true tales of adventure and survival.
REVIEW
National Geographic has created this chapters series that I have found absolutely fabulous.  Not only are they beautifully designed but wonderfully written.  And the stories in this particular volume are fascinating and compelling.  There are three stories included in this volume: several experiences of underwater photographer David Doubilet…