PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEWS : I Love My Fangs! by Kelly Leigh Miller & The Ultimate Survival Guide to Bedtime Monsters by Mitch Frost

by Kelly Leigh Miller
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5344-5210-7
Source: publisher for review (Thanks!)
Ages 4-8
All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK Is a vampire still a vampire if his fang is all wobbly? Find out in this funny and endearing spin on the classic first lost tooth story.

Young Dracula loves his fangs. They are pointy. They are sharp! They are a cherished family trait.

So one day, when a fang wiggles…and jiggles…and falls loose, Dracula doesn’t know what to do.

He tries pushing it back in. Then taping it. Then sticking it.

Because a vampire can’t have only one fang!…Right? REVIEW While there are plenty of losing a tooth stories available, there aren't any quite like this one. Not only is the main character a vampire, but he doesn't actually want to lose a tooth.  In fact, Young Dracula is really proud of his fangs.  He brushes and flosses his teeth to such a degree that his parents have to wear sunglasses t…


MANANALAND by Pam Munoz Ryan Scholastic Press, 2020 ISBN: 9781338157864 Source: public library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the legend Buelo tells him about a mythical gatekeeper who can guide brave travelers on a journey into tomorrow.

If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he'd make Santa Maria's celebrated fútbol team and whether he'd ever meet his mother, who disappeared when he was a baby. He longs to know more about her, but Papá won't talk. So when Max uncovers a buried family secret--involving an underground network of guardians who lead people fleeing a neighboring country to safety--he decides to seek answers on his own.

With a treasured compass, a mysterious stone rubbing, and Buelo's legend as his only guides, he sets out on a perilous quest to discover if he is true of heart and what the future holds. REVIEW Max loves fútbolalmost as much as he does the stories he s…

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY (Speculative) FICTION : The Captive Kingdom by Jennifer A. Nielsen

THE CAPTIVE KINGDOM The Ascendence Series #4
by Jennifer A. Nielsen Scholastic Press, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-338-55108-2 Source: purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK In a peaceful Carthya, Jaron leads as the Ascendant King with Imogen beside him -- but the peace he fought so long for is not destined to last.

On a routine sea voyage, Jaron's ship is brutally attacked, and he is taken hostage. The mysterious captors and their leader, Jane Strick, accuse Jaron of unthinkable acts. They are also in possession of some shocking items -- including the crown and sword that belonged to Jaron's older brother, Darius. The items unearth a past Jaron thought he had put behind him.

Though it seems impossible, Jaron must consider: Could Darius be alive? And what does Strick want from Jaron? Against his will, Jaron will be pulled back into a fight for the throne -- and a battle to save his kingdom.

REVIEW The Captive Kingdom demonstrates once again how Jennifer …

PICTURE BOOK FICTION REVIEW : Fussy Flamingo by Shelly Vaughan James

FUSSY FLAMINGO words by Shelly Vaughan James, pictures by Matthew Rivera Sourcebooks, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-7282-0970-8 Source: Sourcebooks Early Read program (books for review) Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Lola, a young flamingo, knows that eating shrimp will make her feathers pink, but when her parents look away she tries different foods and turns a series of wild colors. REVIEW 
Lola's parents encourage her to eat shrimp so her feathers will turn pink.  But Lola doesn't want to eat shrimp and decides to try some other foods instead.  The results of eating avocado, pepino melons, and dragon fruits are a variety of colors that are not pink.  This does not please her parents, but Lola claims that shrimp are "soggy", "muddy", and "yucky".  But it turns out she's never tried shrimp.  Eventually her parents convince her to give shrimp a try and the results are exactly what you would expect.  This book reminds me so much o…

CYBILS ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE GRADE SPEC FICTION REVIEW : Carnival Catastrophe (The Problim Children #2) by Natalie Lloyd

CARNIVAL CATASTROPHE The Problim Children #2 by Natalie Lloyd, interior illustrations by Julia Sarda  HarperCollins, 2019 ISBN: 978-0-06-242824-0 Source: public library Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
The Problims try to win the Corn Dog Carnival and rescue their missing mama in the second book in The Problim Children series.

All siblings are capable of magic if they stick together. But trusting each other isn’t easy for the Problim siblings when neighbors like Desdemona and Carly-Rue O’Pinion are working double-time to turn the town against them.

From catapulting cattle to runaway corndogs to spiders on the pageant stage, the Problim brothers and sisters are blamed for every catastrophe at this year’s carnival. And to top it all off, Mama Problim is missing!

Can the seven siblings come together in time to save the carnival and rescue their mom from a villain even more dastardly than Desdemona? Or will they discover too late what it truly means to be a…

MIDDLE GRADE FANTASY (SPECULATIVE FICTION) : The Clockwork Crow by Catherine Fisher

THE CLOCKWORK CROW by Catherine Fisher Walker Books, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-5362-1491-8 Source: ARC from publisher/finished copy purchased Ages 9-12 All opinions expressed are solely my own. ABOUT THE BOOK Orphan Seren Rhys is on her way to a new life at the remote country mansion of Plas-y Fran when she is given a package by a stranger late at night in an empty train station. The package contains a crotchety, mechanical talking crow, which Seren reluctantly brings to her new home. But when she gets there, the happy Christmas she had hoped for turns out to be an illusion--the young son of the house, Tomos, has been missing for almost a year, rumored to have been taken by the fairies. With the Crow's reluctant help and a little winter magic, Seren sets off on a perilous journey to bring Tomos home. REVIEW As Seren waits for her train to arrive, she's surprised to notice a thin, scared-looking man holding a paper-wrapped package.  When the man leaves to investigate sounds he hears outs…

BLOG TOUR : Gnu and Shrew by Danny Schnitzlein

GNU AND SHREW by Danny Schnitzlein, illustrated by Anca Sandu Peachtree Publishers, 2020 ISBN: 978-1-68263-146-1 Source: publisher for review Ages 4-8 All opinions expressed are solely my own.
Opposites attract--but can they work together?

When Gnu says that there's a cave filled with diamonds across the river, Shrew is intrigued. But Gnu seems to be all talk, fantasizing about riches yet dismissing all of Shrew's suggestions. As Gnu dreams his days away, tossing out one big idea after another, Shrew spends his nights trying to make those dreams a reality. Can Gnu's big ideas and Shrew's hard work make something remarkable happen?

In this entertaining spin on "The Ant and the Grasshopper" that values the roles of both dreamers and doers, author Danny Schnitzlein's deadpan storytelling is perfectly complemented by illustrator Anca Sandu's humorous artwork. REVIEW Gnu wants to cross the river and retrieve the diamonds he knows are in a cave.…