Posts from the ‘travel’ Category

BELIEVE

Hercules Finds His Courage: Taki and Toula Time Travelers

Written by Elena Paige

This is one book in a series of time traveling adventures taken by six-year-old Taki and his eight-year-old sister, Toula. These children live on the island of Crete. One day, while playing with a chest of old clothes, they discover a pair of unusual shoes. Each of the children puts on one shoe. Suddenly, they are transported to ancient Greece, where they are astonished to find a bull and a man crying. Even though they are frightened, the siblings appease the bull. They discover Hercules who is discouraged from completing the twelve labors with which he has been tasked.

The book is a nice way to introduce a bit of Greek mythology and history to early readers. Illustrations are cartoon-like and simple, but they do the job of portraying the action of the plot. Coupled with large and easy to read font, it makes the book attractive to the beginning and reluctant readers. Recommended especially for readers in the six to eight age range.

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A BREATH OF FRESH AIR #EarthDay

To Run The Rugged Crest

Written by Pierre De Moin

This book might best be described as a memoir or travelogue. The author developed a love of sports and the outdoors from a very young age. After graduating high school he traveled to Alaska where he lived off the land using Outward Bound skills. After spending most of his adult life in California hiking and pursuing outdoor adventures in his spare time, he decided to hike The Three Gun Trail in the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico.

As the author narrates the adventure. readers learn about the vegetation at each level and the types of wildlife that inhabit them. DeMoin carries on some interesting conversations with these creatures. The author discusses the clothing, equipment, and mindset needed to be successful on the trail run. The photos that document each step in the journey are a nice touch. They allow the reader to participate in the experience.

This book is a quick, entertaining read for any age group. Nature lovers and sports enthusiasts will particularly enjoy it.

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CHARMING, BUT CONFUSING

Floofy Drives America Crazy

Written by Nurit Reichman

Illustrated and Edited by Nurit Yuval

This beginning chapter book with fewer than fifty pages consists of an interesting and clever storyline. Floofy is an adorable Maltese pup who lives in Israel. She misses her mistress, Maya, who is off in America visiting Boston. Floofy is so depressed and lonely that she creates a virtual reality of herself and travels to America. While visiting there, Floofy manages to meet a TV celebrity cat named Max and almost gets clawed to death by a Mama Bear while she is playing with one of her cubs. Floofy even manages to play match-maker and attends a virtual wedding.

 Beginning readers will love the animal and human characters but may get confused by the many sub-plot lines with connections that push the limits of reality. A few illustrations enhance the book. I would recommend this book especially for readers in the six to nine age group, who enjoy animal and fantasy stories.

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HAPPY EASTER! – A Delightful Doll

The Little Girl Doll (The Wurtherington Diary) Book 1

Written by Reynold Jay

This book is based on a restored diary belonging to a mute girl named Tammy. She lives with her aunt and uncle. Tammy is thrilled to receive a sewing machine as a birthday gift. She begins to fashion clothing for dolls. One day a mouse in the toolshed comes to laugh and convinces Tammy to accompany him to Kira. On her journey, Tammy meets Captain Flynn and his pirates, Zeke, a flying squirrel and an opossum.named Zeke. Her talking animal friends guide her to a kingdom ruled by two sorceresses, Lucinda and Catherine. Tammy passes through the kingdom of Hoarggs before arriving at the kingdom in an attempt to free the subjects.Will Tammy accomplish her mission? Will she be reunited with her guardians?

The book is beautifully restored with color photographs, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Children who love fairy tales and magic will love the adventure. There are different versions of this tale; this is the longest length which is appropriate for readers ages nine and older.

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TRAINING FOR THE FUTURE

The Innovative Engine

Written by Jim Gribble

Illustrated by Jack Gribble

This book is a unique tale combining technology, fairy tales, and student writers. The Innovative Engine grew up in New York City hearing the tales of the little engine that could. One day she received a letter from a teacher with a special request that she readily accepted. A group of student bloggers would board her at Grand Central Station. There they would begin a nationwide trip stopping at cities, farms, and lake country to learn about innovation and write about their discoveries.

After stopping at Washington D.C. and receiving a tour of the Capitol, the students travel west to explore old technology and experiment with new ideas. The Innovative Engine is then equipped with solar panels, the students learn about using magnets for transportation, and how to transform the engine into a vegetable garden to feed the hungry. At the end of their journey, the President greets them and thanks them for blogging about their discoveries.

Readers find a pleasant mix of traditional characters, a dose of upcoming technologies, and meet some student journalists of the future.  Illustrations and images that were drawn by the students for their blog entries are included. The plot is unique, fanciful and creative. Particularly recommended for middle-grade students, but an enjoyable read for all ages.

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SANTA’S HELPER

The Search for South Pole Santa: A South Pole Santa Adventure (Book 1 in a series)

Written by Jingle Belle Jackson

 

This book combines a bit of magic, romance, holiday traditions, and fantasy in a whimsical adventure. There are two main plots: Sandra’s story detailing her life on a tugboat named Mistletoe moored on an island in the South Pacific, and the contest Santa Claus decides to hold to find a second Santa to cope with the world’s exploding population of children.

Sandra’s parents are missing and presumed dead. They had recently enrolled her in the St. Annalise Academy where the students are all gifted, whether they be human or part supernatural. Throughout the story, Sandra learns more about her lineage and special talents. At the same time, readers are introduced to her new friends. When Sandra learns about the contest for a second Santa, she immediately applies. Cappie, her guardian, and her island friends encourage her. Readers are taken on a colorful journey to the North Pole, where they participate in the fun-filled but grueling competition to determine the winner. There are lots of twists and turns, holiday magic and fun, mixed in with a bit of romance and coming of age in both parallel plots.

In the end, what will Sandra’s future hold? Will she learn how to cope with the loss of her parents, her talented friends, and the boy who seems to disdain her? Who will win the Santa competition? Stay tuned for more answers in the next book of the series.

This book was a fun read. It is highly recommended for middle grade and young teen readers. Adults looking for a light holiday read will also enjoy if willing to suspend reality for a few hours.

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#Wednesday’s Winners

Two more finalists in the Cybils Bloggers’ Literary Awards:

Easy Reader

HUNGRY THIEVES

There’s a Pest in the Garden

Written by Jan Thomas

 

Another easy reader in the farmyard friends’ series. Duck, Sheep, Dog, and Donkey are upset that there is a pest invading their garden. He is eating their favorite and not so favorite foods like beans, corn, peas, and turnips. Duck thinks he has a plan, but it turns out that all the animals must work together to find a permanent solution to keep pests out.

The familiar characters and speech balloons allow readers to follow the simple dialogue and story plot. Children are led to understand that cooperation and working together is the way to solve a common problem. Recommended as an early stage independent picture reader or read aloud.

 

 

 

 

Early Chapter Book

RISING TO THE OCCASION

Survivor Diaries: Overboard!

Written by Terry Lynn Johnson

This book is part of a series that focuses on real-life survival stories to teach important life-saving skills. In this book, Travis and his family are vacationing in Washington. At the beginning of the tale, the family is sailing on a fifty-foot whale-watching boat with other tourists. While the group is preoccupied sighting whales, a huge wave capsizes the boat. Travis frantically yells for his family; he finds himself under water. Marina, the captain’s seaworthy daughter is nearby.

Travis is wearing a wetsuit and Marina has a life jacket, but her wrist is broken. As they drift farther away from the wreckage, Marina keeps Travis calm. After many hours and no rescue, they are finally thrown ashore on a beach. Hypothermia is setting in and Marina is becoming sick and disoriented. Travis must learn to overcome his fears, follow Marina’s instructions, build a fire, set up a shelter, and find water. The next morning with no rescue in sight, Marina sees eagles flying overhead and remembers an island that has a camera studying the nest. But can Travis overcome his fear of heights and somehow scale the tree to let humans know of their plight?

This is a story of adventure and courage. Marina and Travis undergo personality transformations and role reversals. Perhaps even more importantly, readers are taught how to survive if thrown overboard, avoid hypothermia, and learn basic survival skills. Hopefully, these will never need to be employed. There are a few powerful black and white illustrations that assist readers to visualize the adventure. The author includes a US Coast Guard approved section on illustrated, step by step survival techniques. While this book has been classified an early chapter book, I believe that the eight to twelve age range is a good target audience for this book.

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