Posts from the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

CASE SOLVED?

The MEAN GIRL Who NEVER SPEAKS: (The Maya Dove Case Files Book 1)

Written by Zuni Blue

Maya Dove is a six-year-old detective who has already established her reputation at school. One of Maya’s classmates asks her to determine if a new girl at school, Libby Smith is mean or nice. Instead of chapters, the book is presented as a day of the week chronicle as Maya attempts to solve the case. Readers are brought through the day’s happenings in the classroom. Maya gathers her clues, but when Friday arrives she reveals her opinions in a classroom speech.

I am not sure whether Maya really solves the case. She does not state whether Libby is mean or nice but presents her solution in a way that introduces an important social issue. Certainly, Maya’s opinions are quite sophisticated for a six-year-old.

This book is targeted for 5 to 11-year-old readers. The text and vocabulary are an easy read until readers come to the end and Maya’s conclusion. I am not sure whether younger readers will understand the concept of social anxiety. That part of the book is most appropriate for readers ages nine and older. Younger readers will probably need adult help in understanding this concept. I was left with the feeling that the book ended a bit abruptly and the characters might have been fleshed out with more detail.

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FREE AT LAST

Hey Hilde

Written by Ross Hammond

 

Hilde is an adorable Capuchin monkey who leads a carefree life in the jungles of Bolivia until one day poachers come to capture her. Now Hilde is forced to do tricks while chained to a post by day and sleep in a cage every night. One day a volunteer from the rescue organization, CIWY arrives to rescue Hilde. After a long journey, she arrives at Machia Wildlife Sanctuary where she is free to roam with fellow wildlife creatures once more.

This real-life story teaches children empathy toward creatures who should live in the wild and affords them the opportunity to join the volunteer rescue organization. They raise money by creating awareness through products like this book. The illustrations and photographs are vivid and appealing in this richly illustrated picture book. Bonus activities include a coloring page and related activities. Highly recommended for all ages.

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STEM CELLS – A SOLUTION?

STEM CELLS – The Healing Revolution: Chronic Pain Relief and Regeneration without Drugs or Surgery

Written by Dr. Raj Banerjee

I’ve always been curious about stem cells and how they can be used to heal the body. This book is a wonderful introduction and clear explanation of the subject. Dr. Banerjee’s philosophy is to heal the body without pain or surgery. He goes through the steps of traditional medical treatments: diagnosis, further testing, treatment, surgery, and monitoring of the condition. Raj bemoans the fact that most traditional medical treatments only mask the problem or lead to further complications.

I was shocked to learn the wide range of medical problems that can be treated with stem cells: knee, joint and hip inflammation, skin trauma, diabetes, chronic pain, spinal and nerve damage, kidney conditions, thyroid problems, arthritis, autoimmune disease, shoulder, and cardiovascular pain. Stem cell therapy is noninvasive, promotes natural healing, and is results driven.

Dr. Banerjee cites many case studies including those of his mother and aunt. He promises an open, honest approach that is backed by proven medical research. He answers questions that frequently arise and facts to consider in deciding whether it is appropriate for the reader.

This is one reference book that I will keep handy. I am certainly ready to consider stem cell therapy when the need for medical treatment arises.

Gone, but not forgotten

The Yellow Suitcase

Written by Meera Sriram

Illustrated by Meera Sethi

Asha arrives at her grandmother’s house in India from California for her yearly visit, clutching her yellow suitcase. Each year Asha packs her suitcase with gifts for her grandmother and returns with little treasures that her grandmother has created for her. But this year the house is filled with relatives mourning her grandmother’s death. Asha struggles through her grief and becomes inconsolable until it is time to leave. She finds a wonderful gift that her grandmother has made for Asha just before she died.

This multicultural book is a colorful introduction to Indian culture and customs as well as a well-written book to help children understand the death of a close relative and the grieving process. Sethi’s hand-drawn illustrations are vivid and expressive. Perhaps the text could have been a bit larger, but the design of the book is clear and easy to read. Recommended for ages eight and older.

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LESSONS FROM THE ANIMAL KINGDOM

THE PARROT: Short lessons and fables for children: Fable Collection Volume #2

Written and Illustrated by Christy Astremsky

This book contains a collection of five animal fables that teach children lessons about themselves and others. In the first story, the parrot mouths words he has been taught over and over, but the words have little worth. When the parrot escapes from his owners, he can do nothing more than repeat those inane words, he finds that others think little of him. The second story features a zebra who gets lost and finds himself among others unlike himself. He discovers that it is okay to be different. The sparrow and the pigeon teach children what true friendship entails, while the tiger and jackal story teaches to beware of letting one’s guard down. The last story features a butterfly who has a habit of taking from others without ever giving something in return.

The rhyming stories are short and have a few illustrations so the collection might appeal to a beginning reader. Parents and teachers could use the fables on issues that they would like to open with children or students for discussion or intervention. I would especially recommend the book for ages seven through ten though older children who enjoy animal stories will find them appealing.

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BILLY AND BOB’S BLUNDERS

Lost in Lithuania and other funny stories

Written by Alex Goodwin

 

This is my first time reading a book in this series. Goodwin is a thirteen-year-old author with a wonderful imagination and a creative mind. Bob and Billy are two obese friends who decide that they must get in shape. They abruptly decide to enter a curling contest, even though they have no knowledge of the game. The friends discover a note that they have been fired from their jobs in San Francisco, so they hurry to board a plant to get back. Alas! Bob and Billy board the wrong plane and wind up in Lithuania. Now broke, they answer an ad for a job in a bakery for which they have no background and cannot speak the language. When the disgruntled patrons attack them, Bob and Billy flee for their lives and stumble across an abandoned castle where they become tour guides. The two tell a lot of lies, but they become quite adept at their profession. Determined to return home, at last, they are foiled when all their money falls through a hole in their baggage. So, they write to their uncle and secure employment, only to find they will be making aglets for shoelaces on an assembly line. And so, the stories go on… Will Billy and Bob ever make it back home to their jobs at the nuclear plant in Death Valley?

Goodwin writes crisp, catchy dialogue that is as hilarious as it is preposterous. He manages to weave a link between the short stories to create a cohesive plot. The tales are clean, good fun. Readers ages ten and older won’t stop laughing till the last line.

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WISHES + WORK = SUCCESS

Goodnight Wishes!

Written by Leea Baltes

Illustrated by Elia Glinski

A family of mice lived in a rickety old farmhouse that suited their needs perfectly. One day people came and began tearing their home down. Mama mouse placed her children and some food in a basket and ran down to the lake. She wished upon the stars and moon to help her find a way to solve her plight. Suddenly, she heard a screeching sound. A truck swerved to avoid hitting an animal, and a large box fell off the truck. The moonlight illuminated a hollow tree that would make a perfect home. Upon exploring the contents of the box, Mama finds all the materials she needs to furnish their new home. She urges her children to make a wish upon the heavens because when you make a wish and are willing to work hard good things will follow.

This tale teaches children that wishing alone is not enough, one must work hard to achieve success. Christian parents might explain the moral in a Christian contest. The illustrations are done in beautiful watercolors. The rhyming text is crisp and sharp. Recommended for primary grade children.

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