Posts from the ‘fiction’ Category

A FRIEND IN NEED

Kids Book: Flip to the Rescue

Written by Tara Star

 

This book could be a read aloud for young children or a beginning reader for children in the five to eight age range. I definitely would not recommend it for nine to twelve year olds. This tale features two dolphin friends named Flip and Aqua who enjoyed mischievous adventures together. Some of the other dolphins became jealous because they were excluded. One day they hatched a plot. They told Aqua that Flip had gone to the seashore to dive for pearls that would become a gift for her. When Aqua goes to search for Flip, she becomes trapped in the rough seas. Little does she realize that somewhere close Flip is searching for her. Will the two friends be able to escape the waves and find their way back to their calm pool home? What kind of lessons can Flip, Aqua and the larger pool of dolphin friends learn from this experience?

I struggled to decide a rating for this book. My overall impression is three and a half stars. The photos are nice pictures of dolphins at play, but they do not reflect the individual emotions of the friends in this story. On the other hand, young readers may learn the value of not being exclusive, stepping out of the mold, and how to get along with larger more diverse groups. Recommended for young children who enjoy reading about sea creatures and beginning chapter book readers.

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TINY BUT FEARLESS

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

Written by Karin Kaufman

A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.

This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.

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Teen Troubles

The Rise of the Olympians Book One

Written by Belle Ward

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First book in a middle grade short story series. Lilah is about to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. Her father surprises her with her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon. As she departs for school with her older brother, Jay, Lilah looks forward to her first class in which she is studying about Ancient Greece. Mr. Fisher is discussing the Olympians. For some reason, Lilah can’t stop thinking about the lesson.

When Lilah gets home she is surprised by the gift of an angel-winged necklace from her dad. But when she prepares for bed, strange things begin to happen. The necklace heats up, her rainbow colored extensions suddenly become attached to her head, and she experiences a strange dream. The next day, Lilah is invited to join a special dream club. She is astonished to learn that the other members are Apollo and Hades. They think she is the goddess who will help them find the Father of the Monsters. A sudden crash, and all must run for their lives…..Will Lilah cast her fate with these strangers? Will she wake up from this nightmare?

This short story is a good length for reluctant readers. The characters are believable and interesting enough. What some readers may not like is that the tale ends in a cliffhanger. Readers will be left disappointed unless they immediately get a hold of Book Two.

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TUCK IN THOSE CORNERS

Children’s Book: A Grand Bed Adventure: Developing Habits of Self Discipline for Children

Written by A.M. Marcus

Illustrated by Oliver Bundoc

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Young Ted visits his grandfather every Monday spending the night with him. They enjoy each other’s company. One morning Ted notices how carefully his grandfather makes the bed and inquires why he spends so much time on something that will get messed up when he sleeps. His grandfather explains that he learned how to make a bed properly when he was a Navy Seal. Beginning the day by doing something well gives you incentive to continue doing good and provides a good reminder at the end of the day. Ted ponders this and is able to transfer the example to incidents in his own experience. He realizes that doing something well is important no matter how small the task.

This book is part of a series encouraging young children to develop positive habits. The text is simple to understand though perhaps relies too heavily on dialogue. Illustrations are simple and colorful. A free coloring book is offered as a free bonus. Recommended especially for preschoolers and primary grade children.

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FROM BAD TO WORSE

Charlie Bingham Gets Clocked #1

Written by Maggie M. Larche

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What else could go wrong? Charlie is in love with his teacher, Miss Walker. His best friend Brad brings his one-eyed lizard to school and loses it. The intelligent but insecure and nervous Brad has just been nominated to be on the Knowledge Bowl team. Miss Walker’s favorite alarm clock has disappeared. Two girls who are bitter enemies vow to become detective rivals locked in a contest to find the culprit. To make matters even worse, their muscle-bound music teacher, Mr. Wainwright, is also enamored of Miss Walker. He is determined to find and punish the student thief. Throughout the school day this elusive clock will make its way around the school until the culprit is found. Will the truth ever come out? Who will finally solve the mystery? Will the thief get the punishment he deserves?

This book is aimed at the eight to twelve year old audience and features a nice balance of elements that appeal to this age group. There is lots of humor, enough plot twists, and empathetic characters with which readers can identify. Readers will surely be able to see themselves either as victims or heroes in the plot. Recommended as a fun read for friends or classmates to share and discuss.

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NO BULL

Easy 8: The Big Event

Written by Carrolyn Foster

Illustrated by Michael Bermundo

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I received a copy of this paperback from the publisher and voluntarily chose to review giving my honest opinion for no compensation.

This short 28 page book could best be described as a beginning chapter book. There are eight color illustrations that enhance and keep the story interesting. The plot centers on the last bull riding competition of the year in which the bulls will compete for the Bull of the Year award. At the beginning of the competition the Native American bulls perform a dance that tells the story of Mother Earth, which was my favorite part of the book. Children are given an education about Native American folklore in addition to meeting the bulls entered in the competition. The results of the contest provide children with an important message about winning. I like the fact that the story is told in first person by the bulls. The personification is effective; each of the bull’s personalities is clearly revealed.

Book purchasers receive a bonus audio down link. This story is available in kindle and paperback format. Recommended for beginning independent readers and reluctant readers, especially for ages seven to ten.

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ARE THESE BOOTS MADE FOR WALKING?

Bossy Boots

Written by Steve Ellis

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Cute early chapter book for beginning readers. Sophie has just finished shopping with her mother who has bought her a new pair of shoes. Suddenly a mischievous pup steals one of her shoes; she finds her naked foot standing in a puddle. An old woman in the store comes to the rescue by coming up with a pair of boots in a box behind the counter. When Sophie tries the boots on, she hears a squeaky voice. Sophie finds herself running down the street disrupting traffic, walking up and down the walls in her room and generally wreaking havoc. Of course Sophie now secretly gets a bit of pleasure from her talented feet. One day, the inevitable happens when the boots become too small for Sophie’s feet. What will happen to Sophie now? Will the mischievous boots find a new owner or will they be condemned to life in a box behind the counter?

I would recommend this book for children ages six and older. The illustrations interspersed within the chapters enhance understanding of the story. This humorous and easy to follow plot also makes the book a good choice for reluctant readers or children with special needs.

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