Posts from the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

I CAN DO IT!

Little Bunny – I Can

Written and Illustrated by Alexandra Dannenmann

Translated by S. Paterson

 

This is a cute little picture book for toddlers that features a little bunny as the protagonist. Each page features the bunny with an I can sentence that demonstrates skills mastered. Some of these skills are simple, like brushing teeth, getting dressed by oneself, and throwing a ball. Others are fanciful like taming lions and protecting a princess from a dragon. The book can serve as encouragement to acquire skills yet unlearned or as a self-esteem book rewarding toddlers for achieved goals.

Recommended as a read aloud or bedtime story for children ages two through four.

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OUT OF THIS WORLD

Alien Kid

Written by Kristen Otte

 

Charlie Baker is the new sixth grader in Silver Lake Middle School. Middle school is a difficult period in any child’s life, but for Charlie, things are especially tough. Charlie and his family tell everyone that they have just moved to upstate New York from Cleveland, but they are aliens from Jupiter’s moon, Europa. A revolution led to a militaristic faction gaining control. Charlie’s family had to flee in order to survive. The family struggles to blend in on Earth, but their ability to read minds is both a blessing and a curse.

Charlie is bullied by Caden and Jordan. He falls in love with a fellow student named Maya, to whom he reveals his secret. But Maya wants Charlie to use his gift to help others. Charlie is having enough problems trying to understand the culture and the language. He says things like “hot spaghetti” and “oh pug” leaving his fellow sixth-graders mystified. The book focuses on middle-grade issues like bullying, peer-school relationships, and first love. This tale will appeal to students struggling to fit into a new school or neighborhood. The characters are believable and realistic.

Recommended especially for readers in fourth through seventh grades, but the story is well-written and appealing for any age.

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SUCKS YOU IN…

Monsterland Reanimated

Written by Michael Okon

This book follows Monsterland, which was written by Okon under the pen name, Philip Cash. The story begins on the first night after the Monsterland catastrophe. Death and destruction had reigned over the theme park. There were few survivors. Wyatt and his family struggle to find food supplies and clean water. World leaders had been murdered; governments had collapsed. Wyatt will need to move beyond his hometown to contact the outside world and warn them about a traitor.

Meanwhile, inside Monsterland an army of mummies and a strange, gelatin-like ooze, nicknamed the Glob has arisen. Can anyone survive the terrors which haunt the community?

The characters are well-developed. I could not put the book down. Be prepared to be frightened. Looking forward to reading more thrillers from this author. Recommended for young adults and adult audiences.

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AN UNEXPECTED REWARD

Hazelita And The Magic Broom

Written and illustrated by Hope Finning

Hazelita is a destitute, lonely old woman. Every day she wanders from village to village with her only valuable possession, an old broom passed down to her from her mother. At night she knocks on the door of a local inhabitant seeking a warm meal and a place to state. In return, she promises to sweep their home in gratitude for their kindness. Hazelita cries herself to sleep each night because she has no family to care for her. After a while, word spreads around that her broom is magic and that it will grant any wish the family requests.

One evening she comes to a family headed by Thomas who goes out of their way to shower kindness upon Hazelita. The next day, they refuse to allow her to sweep as she is their honored guest. But Hazelita is horrified to discover the next day, that her broom has lost its magic. What will happen to Hazelita now that she cannot pay for her room and board? The answer lies in kindness rewarded. Read the book to find out how.

This book teaches children the value of community responsibility and the lesson that we should not expect rewards for everything we do. I would recommend the book to elementary and middle-grade students.

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PROBLEM SOLVERS FOR PARENTS OF YOUNG CHILDREN

Lee and his Big Hair

Written and Illustrated by Leela Hope

This is another book in the series about a little boy named Lee who lives near a lake. Lee has a penchant for getting into trouble. He is strong-willed and obstinate. Lee refuses to comb or brush his hair. One of his favorite pastimes is playing in the mud. Lee also refuses to cut his hair. One day he rolls around in the mud. When Lee gets up, everything is stuck to him. He runs to the lake to wash the mud off, but he cannot get the mud or the debris that is stuck in his hair. A barber is summoned. Readers will be shocked at what he finds in Lee’s hair.

This book is written in rhyme with humor that children and adults alike will enjoy. Perfect for teaching children the importance of good hair grooming. Recommended for ages three through seven.

 

Lee Has To Stop Eating Candy

Written and Illustrated by Leela Hope

Lee is a young boy who decides to take advantage of the fact that his mom is busy gardening. He spies a tin full of candy and decides to finish it all. Of course, he gets really sick. Lee’s mom finds him in a sugar trance on the floor. The doctor has never seen a case as bad as this. Lee is forced to drink a concoction of healthy fruits and vegetables. A difficult lesson to learn that will not be forgotten.

This book is written to teach children the value of good nutrition and that too much of a good thing has consequences. Colorful illustrations and large font make this book a good choice as a beginning reader or picture book. Recommended for ages preschool through primary grades.

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SPY DOGS AND SCI-FI

Spy Dogs (1): A Suspicious Neighbor

Written by Amma Lee

 

This book is the first in a series of spy dog detective mysteries. Puggy is an adorable pet who is totally devoted to Bill, his human master. When Puggy notices a new neighbor dragging a large black plastic bag into the house next door, he immediately becomes suspicious. Puggy peeks into the neighbor’s window and discovers lots of computers, strange mechanical devices, and caged dogs. Puggy learns that many dogs in the area have recently been kidnapped so he develops a plan to spy on the neighbor and unravel the mystery. Puggy is astonished to learn that this neighbor is actually an alien who has a plan to use the dogs to control humans. The faithful dog must mislead his master and risk his own life in an attempt to unravel the mystery. This book is the first in a series and ends on a cliffhanger.

This series is of interest to mystery and adventure enthusiasts. I believe it will especially appeal to middle-grade audiences.

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ERRATIC BEHAVIOR

Zachary and the Great Potato Chase

Written by Junia Wonders

Illustrated by Giulia Lombardo

 

Zachary is a clever, industrious rat who lives under the floorboards of a bakery which provides him with tasty treats. He is careful never to be greedy, eating only one pastry each day so as not to arouse suspicion. Zachary is content, but he has no friends because he refuses to share his treats.

One day a new delivery truck arrives at the bakery. Once Zachary tastes a potato, he is hooked on the taste. He becomes greedy taking more than his fair share and storing them in his lair. When the baker discovers his potatoes missing, Zachary will be found out. There will be huge consequences to pay.

This book is written in crisp rhyme that works well and the illustrations are bright and clever. The weakness lies in the fact that the connection between potatoes and the change in behavior is not explained. No reason is given for Zachary’s decision to change his relationship with fellow rats at the end of the story.

This book is a good read-aloud choice or bedtime story for preschoolers and early elementary school readers.

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