Showing posts from December, 2016

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill Algonquin Young Readers, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-61620-567-6 Middle Grade Speculative (fantasy) Ages 9-12 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!) All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks …

SERIES THURSDAY: Ghost by Jason Reynolds

GHOST Track #1 by Jason Reynolds Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4814-5015-7 Source: publisher for review (Thanks!)
Ages 9-12
Middle grade contemporary All opinions expressed are solely my own.

A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay …

CHRISTMAS Picture Books!

by Adam Wallace & Andy Elkerton
Sourcebooks, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4926-4631-0
Source: publisher for review
Ages 3-6
All opinions expressed are solely my own.


You've been waiting all year long, and now it's finally Christmas Eve! Is this the year you'll finally catch an elf? Start a new Christmas tradition with this hilarious children's book from the creators of the New York Times best-seller How to Catch a Leprechaun!

"It's Christmas Eve! Hip hip, hooray!
Yes, Santa's coming 'round.
He's bringing toys to girls and boys
in every house in town."

"Some kids have tried to catch him,
but Santa's fast, you see!
So they've set their eyes on a smaller prize,
and now they're after me!"


My first question while reading this book was, why are kids trying to catch the elf who is helping Santa deliver presents?  According to the elf, the kids originally tried to catch Santa but he's too fast so now they…

MMGM: The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz

THE INQUISITOR'S TALE, OR The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2016 ISBN: 9780525426165 Ages 9-12 Middle grade historical fantasy Source: library ebook All opinions expressed are solely my own.

An exciting and hilarious medieval adventure from the bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm.

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning …


THE NUTCRACKER based on the NEW YORK CITY BALLET production of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker illustrated by Valeria Docampo Little Simon, 2016 ISBN: 978-1-4814-5829-0 Source: publisher for review Ages4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.

The New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite.

The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous picture book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production.

The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now read…


PIP THE GNOME AND THE CHRISTMAS TREE by Admar Kwant Floris Books, 2016 978-178250-328-6 Ages 0-3 Source: Myrick Marketing for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Pip the gnome gets help decorating the Christmas tree from his friends robin, rabbit and mouse. Discover the beautiful, natural things they bring: a red apple, soft woollen thread, golden straw and a bright, shiney rosehip. Colourful illustrations and simple words introduce very young children to the joy of preparing for Christmas. Soft, wintery colours illuminate the day from morning to dusk, ending with the candle-lit tree. Perfect for bedtime during Advent, the story ends as we say 'Happy Christmas Pip'.


This short board book provides a sweet way to introduce the concept of tree decorating to little ones.  Pip and each of his friends contribute something from his/her home to add to the tree. This is a sweet story of friendship and sharing as each friend adds to the tree.  The soft pa…

MMGM: Moo by Sharon Creech

MOO by Sharon Creech HarperCollins, 2016 ISBN: 9780062415271 Source: Overdrive ebook library Middle grade contemporary Ages 8-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals …

SERIES THURSDAY: The Princess in Black Takes a Vacation by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK TAKES A VACATION Princess in Black #4 by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham Candlewick Press, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-7636-6512-8 Early Chapter Book Ages 6-10 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Even monster-battling princesses get tired sometimes! But a peaceful time away is hard to find as the humorous New York Times best-selling series continues.

After battling monsters all night, a sleepy Princess in Black decides that she needs a vacation. After all, the Goat Avenger, a new hero who looks oddly familiar, has offered to protect the goats while she takes a much needed break. The very next day Princess Magnolia rides her bicycle to the seaside, where the air is salty, the sun is shiny, and the sea is as blue as monster fur. But just as Princess Magnolia is about to take a nap on her hammock, she hears a "ROAR!" Seriously? A monster? On the perfect beach? Impossible! Could a sea monster really ruin …


TEK The Modern Cave Boy by Patrick McDonnell Little, Brown and Company, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-316-33805-9 Ages 4-8 Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.

McDonnell has created an amusing book that looks like an ipad.  The theme of the book isn't hard to guess once you look closely at the cover illustration.  Tek, a young 'cave' boy with a beard (his father hasn't invented shaving cream yet), is obsessed with his video games, tablet, and phone.  In fact, he is so focused on his technology that he refuses to even leave his cave.  Despite the efforts of his parents and his best friend, Larry (a crocodile?), Tek misses out on the evolving world, including the Ice Age, and the appearance of dinosaurs.  It isn't until the local volcano erupts and disrupts Tek's entire world that he starts to see the world around him and the wonders it contains.  The design of this book is fabulous.  The first half of the book looks just like an ipad screen, even includi…

PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida

LITTLE KUNOICHI The Ninja Girl by Sanae Ishida little bigfoot, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-57061-954-0 Ages 4-8 Source: publisher for review All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Little Kunoichi, a young ninja in training, is frustrated. Inspired by tiny Chibi Samurai’s practice and skills, she works harder than ever and makes a friend. Together, they show the power of perseverance, hard work, and cooperation when they wow the crowd at the Island Festival. Ninja skills don’t come easily to Little Kunoichi. She needs determination—and a special friend—to unleash her power!


I didn't love this book as much as I was hoping to.  The book is cute enough and the themes are certainly good ones, I just couldn't fully get into the book, and the ending where Little Kunoichi and her friend, Chibi are working to come up with a fancy way to show off their skills did not really resonate with me.  However, the illustrations are adorable, especially when Kunoichi is spying on Chibi S…

MMGM: Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier/The Tortoise and the Soldier by Michael Foreman

GHOSTS by Raina Telgemeier,with color by Braden Lamb Graphix, 2016 ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2 Ages 8-12 Middle Grade graphic novel (magical realism) Source: purchased All opinions expressed are solely my own.


Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.

Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and …