Archive for April, 2016

HALFWAY THERE

The Imagibles 2 Snarl the Brave

Written by A.J. Cosmo

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The story begins when Alex and his mom hear a crash. Someone or something has just knocked over the street light outside. Alex spies his imaginary friend, a lizard called Slips, cowering outside. Slips informs Alex that the situation is serious. At school Jimmy tells Alex that he and his imaginary friend, Snarls also saw something strange last night.

It turns out that Alex, Jimmy and their circle of friends all have imaginary creatures as friends. Slips reveals that a “half-formed,” is an idea that someone has that is not finished because the creator has been distracted. They decide that there is real danger; the kids must find who has created the “half-form” and then make sure that it is finished. When a trashcan flies by Janet’s head, they think they are close to finding it. The gang will have to track down the creator and force him to finish creating his creature.

I won’ t go into the adventure, who the owner might be or whether they can finish the creature and eliminate the danger. This book is an early chapter book targeted mostly for students in second and third grade. The colorful characters, humor, and colorful illustrations of the creatures sustain interest in the short chapter book. While the author recommends the book especially for boys, I think that female early readers will also find it enjoyable. This is book 2 in the series so fans will have new adventures to anticipate in the future.

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WHISPERS, WOLVES AND WITCHES – BLOG TOUR

Whispers of Trees (Mythic Adventures Collection: Book 2)

Written by Ben Woodard

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I received a copy of this book in return for an honest, non-biased review.

Bridget and Colin are walking through the Irish woods ahead of their parents and ten year old brother, Declan. Suddenly Colin disappears; Bridget thinks that he has been eaten by a wolf. A park ranger assures the family Colin will be found. When they go into town to file a report with the town constable, a strange looking lady named Mrs. O’Leary suggests that they must go into the woods so that the trees can guide them to Colin. Colin’s dad angrily puts his foot down, refusing to listen. Declan sneaks out and goes back into the dark woods to find the strange old woman who may be able to lead him to his brother. When Declan finds her in a odd cabin filled with computers and a bubbling cauldron, he is puzzled, but also drawn to follow her. Mrs. O’Leary demands that he go into the woods where the spirits of the trees will speak to him. By taming his fears, not only will he be successful in finding his brother, but he will also bring peace and tranquility to the family.

This mystery set in the mythical woods of Ireland mixes elements of adventure, myth, thriller, and family relationships. Targeted reader audience is ages seven through twelve. This is a story with many layers of meaning which are exposed by repeated readings, and one that could definitely be used for guided reading in a classroom discussion on many topics. Perfect as well for a family read aloud and group discussion.

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ELLIS ISLAND WINS B.R.A.G. MEDALLION

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JUST FOUND OUT…Little Miss HISTORY Travels to ELLIS ISLAND has won a B.R.A.G. MEDALLION joining the other five books in the series. CELEBRATE!

CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE SERIES AT http://littlemisshistory.com

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Little-HISTORY-Travels-ELLIS-ISLAND/dp/0988503069/

National Parks Week April 16-24, 2016 FREE ADMISSION

http://www.nationalparks.org/national-park-week

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WINTER WONDERLAND

Rosco The Rascal in the Land of Snow #2

Written by Shana Gorian

Illustrated by Ros Webb

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This is the second book in the Rosco series featuring the German Shepherd pup and his family. I enjoyed reading the first adventure set in the pumpkin patch, but the second one centering around a family weekend in the mountains entertained me even more.

Twelve year old James and his seven year old sister Mandy are classic sibling characters. Their dialogue and interactions are so natural. In this adventure James and Mandy share snowball fights, a terrifying sled race downhill, and encountering a coyote. Chapter book readers will find themselves identifying and empathizing with the characters and the tricky situations in which they find themselves. Black and white illustrations add interest. I have already grown fond of this family, their triumphs and their failures.

Recommended especially for children in the seven to ten age range, but adults will love it just as much for a enjoyable afternoon read.

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A WALK THROUGH THE JUNGLE

The Amazon Rainforest: Animal Facts and Photos

Written by KC Adams

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Despite the title, this book is not merely a list of facts, but a comprehensive view of the Amazon RainForest and the life within it. I knew that this rainforest was the largest on earth, but I did not realize that this rainforest receives a whopping 52% of the daily precipitation for South America containing 2/3 of the world’s fresh water supply and 20% of the world’s oxygen.

The animals inhabiting this world are diverse and bizarre. Most of us are familiar with tropical birds like the macaw and toucan and monkeys like the squirrel monkey and marmoset. Some of the unusual animals include the sloth who sleep fifteen to eighteen hours a day and the nocturnal maned wolf that is often called a red fox on stilts. Poison dart frogs can be as small as a paper clip, but their poison excreted through their skin is powerful enough to kill a human. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents, who are friendly to humans. On the other hand, the piranhas living in the river eat their prey alive. Be on the lookout for the anaconda, the largest most powerful snake on earth. Living in the water, these hunters catch their prey with their fangs and drag them under water to drown it before they swallow it alive.

Animal selections are written well even if they are succinct. Pertinent information on diet, habitat and lifestyle is presented. Questions follow the descriptions for discussion. The photos are clear and appealing, I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in learning about this intriguing region. Great choice for elementary and middle school students or homeschooling parents.

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LOOK AT THE BRIGHT SIDE

But Aren’t I Lucky That….

Written by Deanna Beech

Illustrated by Steven Lester

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“Tiger” wakes up thinking about his upcoming baseball game. He is sad to note that his dad has to go the work and will miss the game. When baby sister Maya smears dad’s shirt with jelly, he just laughs. Mom points out that they are lucky that dad has a job. Then Mrs. Wong, a neighbor, falls and hurts her ankle; “Tiger” is afraid they will be late for the game. Mom guides him to understand that doing a good deed in helping someone else, makes us feel even better about ourselves. When they finally arrive at the game, the other team is crushing them. Will “Tiger” find a way to understand that even storm clouds might have a silver lining?

This book will help children in elementary grades learn that real happiness lies not in material possessions but in positive thinking. The author hopes to give parents and teachers a way to communicate this to their children through her story. Lester has done a marvelous job with the illustrations. The models for the characters come from Brazil, Trinidad, Puerto Rico and the United States. They paint a multicultural picture for children of all races and genders. Highly recommend this book for parents, teachers and librarians of elementary school children as a thought-provoking read.

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#KIDSREADCLASSICS ROUND AND ROUND WE GO

Busy Wheels

Written by Peter Lippman

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My April choice for a vintage classic is one that I read to my son, who like many young boys was enamored with anything that had wheels. Published by Random House in 1973, this book would be considered a new kids classic. While not as well known as some of the classic fairytales or animal favorites like Charlotte’s Web, I do believe it had widespread popularity.

Lippman employed everyday scenes witnessed by children living in city or country environments. He wrote with colorful adjectives, alliterative phrases and onomatopoeia. “Early in the morning garbage trucks roll down the street. Cans clatter. Men shout.” Lipmann put into words what children saw and heard everyday. Moms pushing baby carriages, tow trucks, ambulances, fire trucks, trains, tractors, airplanes, mail trucks, ice cream trucks and school buses. Stretching their imagination to the stars, he reminds us that wheels of the moon rover have even gone to the moon and moved moon dust.

My son and I loved to study the illustrations for the hilarious hidden pictures like an alligator on top of the school bus or a dalmatian driving the fire truck. On each reread, something new remained to be discovered. There are limited copies of this book available in hard or soft cover on amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Busy-Wheels-Peter-Lippman/dp/0394827066/

Lippman produced these board books for toddlers who love wheel books:

Lippmanbooks

I can’t end this post without mentioning Richard Scary whose books also included transportation favorites:

Scary1Scary2

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DISOBEDIENCE IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE….

Wasted Wood

Written by Brock Eastman

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I struggled to decide what rating to give this middle grade novella; I decided to go with four stars because the writing is appropriate for its intended audience. The dialogue is on point for thirteen year old Hudson and his friends. Lots of adjectives and onomatopoeia to keep the story interesting as well as those illustrations of the tree troll.

Hudson is a typical teen; he loves to play video games and test the limits with his parents’ rules. Hudson gets grounded when he comes home late because he took a short cut and trespassed on Mr. Gilbert’s property nearly falling off the bridge in the process. Of course that wasn’t the whole story, Mr. Gilbert had called his parents catching Hudson in a lie. Hudson doesn’t take long to decide to sneak out and join his friends for their camp out.

Orin, the neighborhood bully and his friends, come across Hudson with his friends in the woods. They dare them to trespass on Mr. Gilbert’s property to prove that they are not afraid of the legend that a Tree Troll exists. When they take the dare; the real adventure begins. Soon the Dark Demon appears. Is the legend real? All the teens including the bullies must struggle to survive. What will happen to the boys? Will their parents and Mr. Gilbert find out?

Lots of adventure, danger, paranormal and coming of age issues combine to make the novella appealing to the middle grade audience. Despite the fact that there is lots of passive voice and the writing style could be sharper, this is a tale well worth reading for the eight to twelve year old target audience. The author has developed a set of discussion questions for each chapter, which makes the book a good choice for a classroom read aloud and discussion.

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FOREVER FRIENDS

The Mermaid Tales: Celia’s Best Friends

Written by Chloe Sanders

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Celia is a friendly mermaid who enjoys splashing in the water, while she plays and sings with her friends. She lives in the City of Pearl. Celia has lots of ocean friends like Ophelia the Octopus and Billy the Fish. While playing hide and seek with Billy, they come across Squatina the Shark bullying a white clownfish. Celia, who wants to be friends with everyone, devises a strategy to outsmart the shark and teach her a lesson. Squatina learns the real reasons behind her bullying, and finds ways to be a friend instead.

This early chapter book contains approximately thirty-six pages with a few color illustrations of the characters in action to move the plot along. Early readers learn some valuable life lessons while reading. Short enough to be a bedtime story. I read the kindle version. My rating would be higher if not for the numerous errors in formatting; words run into each other with no spacing. I did not read the paperback edition and cannot say whether the errors are present in that edition. It is a bit difficult to read, particularly for independent readers who have reading or learning disabilities.

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APOLLO’S LEGACY

The Apollo Program: The History and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Space Missions

Written by Charles River Editors

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I have read several historical collections by Charles River Editors and have found them informative and useful, particularly for younger audiences. In my opinion, this one was a bit disappointing.

The book is jammed packed with information about every aspect of the Apollo Program focusing mostly on the Apollo I disaster, Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. But that strength is also its weakness. In many sections of the book, one feels as if she is reading a textbook. In an effort to present an accurate picture, the reader becomes lost in a sea of technical information.

The biographical sketches of the astronauts proved interesting as well as the tie in with the Cold War and the space race with the Soviets. The discussion of how NASA decided on spacecraft design and the team effort of government and private sectors is interesting for any reader. Most of the Charles River Editions are geared toward middle grade and young adult readers, but I think this one will turn most of that audience away. The diagrams and photos are an asset, but most readers will lose interest in the myriad of details. If the book had been written more as a story and less as a cut and paste collection of facts, it would merit a higher rating. The graphic detail of the Apollo I accident is too overwhelming for readers under age ten. Recommended especially for readers who have a definite interest in space science.

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