Archive for November, 2015

EMERALDS AND EAGLES

The Secrets’s of Sinbad’s Cave (Book 1 in the Natnat Adventures)

Written by Brydie Walker Bain

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The first book in this adventure series combines myths, legends, fantasy, magic and treasure hunting into an exciting read not only for tweens and teens but for adult readers as well. Set in New Zealand, the book also offers a glimpse into a part of the world unknown to many.

As the story opens, readers meet Drake and Cortez, who are professional thieves seeking to find a long lost treasure hidden in the caves. In the second chapter, we meet Mike and his children, Nat, Jack, Kathleen who are struggling to save the farm and their beloved horses, which they are about to lose due to financial troubles. When Kathleen falls through a hole in the roof of the attic, she finds a hidden room complete with a treasure box of clues, and the adventure begins. The children have only two weeks left of summer vacation to solve the mystery and save the farm before they have to return to their mother living in the city.

Assisted by their friends, Elijah and Barnaby they set off on their quest. Their clues lead them to seek help from the Maori, Abraham Te Kaitiaki and his niece, Riki. When thieves break into the children’s home seeking the box, all realize the danger. But the children and their Maori guides are relentless. A giant eagle, pixies (Patupaiarehe), and a tiny magic bird encourage the children not to give up. Where did this legend come from and how is it connected to this family? Will they be able to unravel the clues ahead of the professional thieves and save the family farm?

The author does a great job of moving the plot along and introduces enough complications to keep the story interesting. I read the book in one sitting, but the book could easily be used in a classroom as a read aloud or link to many subject different areas of curriculum. Bain entices the reader by giving a preview of the next adventure, which sounds just as exciting as the first. Highly recommended for treasure hunters age nine and older.

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DOGGIE DILEMMA

I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay The Read and Write Series

Written by Darcy Pattison

Illustrated by Ewa O’Neill

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Clever and interesting way to discuss a subject that many families face. Dennis and his cousin Mellie both want a dog and have been emailing each other about what kind of dog to get. Now Dennis has been assigned a school essay to write about what kind of dog would be best for his family.

Mrs. Shirky informs Dennis that he must use criteria (reasons) to explain his choice. As the story continues, Dennis compares his criteria including size, energy, attention, exclusivity, training, grooming and others with the needs of his cousin, which are very different from his. At the end of the book the reader sees the essay Dennis wrote as well as the choices and names that he and Mellie picked. Lots of illustrations accompany the text as well as names and pictures of the most popular breeds of dogs.

Teachers could use this book as an interesting way to generate interest and jump start a personal essay lesson. While the pictures and concepts are simple, the actual writing lesson is more suitable for children in second through fourth grades. Parents who are contemplating adding a canine to their family could also use this story as an incentive to guide their final choice.

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BORED NO MORE

Jesper Jinx (The Jesper Jinx Series Book 1)

Written and Illustrated by Marko Kit

jesperjink,picInteresting series of short stories exploring the hijinks of eleven year old Jesper, who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesper has a twelve year old sister, who is often the victim of his shenanigans. Jesper introduces himself by relating an episode in which he sabotages his sister’s favorite drink. Then the book switches to the voice of a children’s book author and his narration of what happens when he literally bumps into Jesper. It turns out that Jesper wants that author to record his strange experiences. There is a catch; the author can never publish them or allow anyone else to read them. Do you think that author keeps his promise? Will you, as the reader, keep that secrecy promise?

The next two stories reveal what happens when the family’s white cat meets Jesper’s watercolors, and a mysterious new student from Spain becomes a willing protege. Jose Maria studies the pranks Jesper and his friend Oliver commit in their classroom. Middle school readers will love the pranks and the humorous dialogue as well as the clever names like Miss Parrot, Mr. Llawandorder and Mr. Playfair-Eales.

Simple line drawings are a bonus and add appeal to early advanced readers or reluctant readers. I think fans of the Wimpy Kid series will also enjoy this one. Recommended for middle school readers. Look forward to reading more of this series.

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The Knights Before Christmas – Book Review Blitz

My Book Review…….

The Knights Before Christmas

Written by Joan Holub

Illustrated by Scott Magoon

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A very clever version of a Christmas tale base on the poem, ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. I was immediately drawn to it by the cover and clever play on words in the title. Who can resist a bright and vividly illustrated picture book read aloud? The book’s large size makes it perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to hold, while the clever conversation among the knights provides a humorous and modern version of the Christmas classic for older siblings.

Brave Knight, Silent Knight and Polite Knight are entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the king’s castle. On Christmas Eve, a stranger in a red suit appears accompanied by eight dragons seeking a chimney to enter. Of course a castle does not have a chimney. Santa remains undaunted and determined to enter and leave his Christmas gifts, while the three knights redouble their efforts to repel the invasion. Who will win the battle?

I believe this book is destined to become a new Christmas favorite among teachers and parents of preschoolers and primary grade readers. Available in kindle and hardcover editions.

 

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About the Book

Title: The Knights Before Christmas | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Scott Magoon | Publication Date: September 8, 2015 | Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8

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Book Description:

‘Twas December 24th, and three brave knights were just settling in for the night when out on the drawbridge, there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons . . .

But nothing would stop
their white-whiskered foe.
No matter their efforts,
he just would not go!

This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is kid-friendly, clever, and just plain silly. Sure to become a holiday classic of a different kind!

 

Sneak Peek

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon pages 12

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The Buzz About the Book

“There’s an excellent interplay between the amusing illustrations and the polished text, with lots of clever jokes for readers to discover in the art. These knights know how to keep the castle safe and the readers entertained”~ Kirkus Reviews

“A royal romp of holiday pratfalls and punnery. Yule love it!” ~ Tom Lichtenheld, bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

“A royal delight of a book! Sure to become a favorite holiday read-aloud in every household throughout the land!” ~ Judy Schachner, creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones

“A great premise…Magoon’s illustrations are vibrant and fun…!” ~ Publishers Weekly

“This rousing, ridiculous medieval “Night Before Christmas” parody jingles with castle- and holiday wordplay. Cheeky digital illustrations brim with good cheer.” ~ Horn Book

 

About the Author: Joan Holub

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub SIBA 2015 imageJoan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books). Watch for her upcoming chapter book, What Was Woodstock?, and her board book, This Little President, both available in early 2016!

 

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Copyright © 2015 Mother Daughter Book Reviews, All rights reserved.

FLASH OF WHITE LIGHT

The Triumph

Written by Frank Scozzari

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Powerful short story centering around a Mozambique guide named Mowambi and his white friend, Mr. Rick. They had almost reached the top of the rise in their plan to escape the white safari hunters, but now Rick is dead and Mowambi has been shot.

Beautifully written tale expressed in Mowambi’s voice as he explains their passion for stopping the killing of elephants for their ivory. They had almost succeeded; now the end is near. Yet Mowambi comes up with a scheme to thwart the hunters’ objectives.

This short story is appropriate for readers age ten and older. Less than twenty pages, but packed with emotion. Many a reader will shed a tear as the author makes his readers one with the characters and with nature. Certainly deserving of its nomination for the Pushcart Prize.

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BOOK REVIEW BLITZ – MIKE AND THE LABRADOODLE

Title: Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle: The Pet Shop Society, Book 1

Written by Emlyn Chand

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First in a series of mystery detective chapter books for young readers in the seven to eleven age group. The eight chapters are only five or six pages each, and they are content referenced in The Table of Contents. Book is perfect for a teacher read aloud or an independent reluctant reader as the text provides a good balance of humor, interesting characters, and an age appropriate story line.

Main characters, Maddie and Mike are sixth grade twins who could not be more opposite. Maddie loves reading and school: Mike loves sports and watching TV. When Nic Chang’s Labradoodle named Baxter goes missing, Baxter and his friend, Tyler, offer to help. But Maddie and her friend, Bree, overhear and come up with the suggestion that they need to go back and retrace Baxter’s steps. They piece together clues to solve the mystery. At the same time, Nic reveals a secret about herself. Solving the mystery leads to the five becoming friends and discovering a common bond. They decide to form The Pet Shop Society dedicated to solving more mysteries around their community. Their adventures will continue in the next two books of the series. Recommended for early readers who enjoy mysteries.

Also a good choice for exploring family and peer relationships.

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About the Author: Emlyn Chand

Emlyn (4)From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life: she has published fiction across multiple genres, oversees and contributes as both an editor and an author to the Novel Publicity Guides for Writing & Marketing Fiction series, and loves the written word so much, she even married author Falcon Storm! Don’t forget that she is the founder and president of Novel Publicity too.

The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it—a lesson she has never forgotten. Maybe that’s why she loves writing her Bird Brain Book series for children so much!

Emlyn’s first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm.

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A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME….

Bex Carter #1 Aunt Jeanie’s Revenge

Written by Tiffany Nicole Smith

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First book in the series about twelve year old Bex and her struggle to fit in a difficult situation. Not only is Beth having the usual coming of age issues with school and peers, but she is living with Aunt Jeanie and her family because Bex’s mother disappeared long ago and her father is in prison. While her aunt is obsessively concerned with “fitting in with society,” Bex enjoys sports and really wishes to be left alone. Things get tough for Bex when she is forced to audition for the “Silver Rose” group. Bex hates the idea, but she really needs to have her own space, the bribe her aunt holds in front of her.

Much of the story involves the adventures and pranks that Bex must endure, and her struggle to walk the line between what is truly right and wrong. Middle school and young teen readers will be sure to find many situations that parallel their own at home and school. Throughout the tale, many of the characters grow and change. The book is both serious and humorous with a good mix of the traditional and modern.

This book will appeal to readers nine and older. There is just the right mix of dialogue, shift from first person to third person narrative is well done. Can’t wait to see what happens in Bex’s next adventure.

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