Posts tagged ‘book series’

SECRET SANTA

Sophie Washington: Secret Santa

Written and Illustrated by Tonya Duncan Ellis

This Christmas themed story adds a nice touch to the Sophie Washington series of books. These chapter books are geared to middle-grade readers. The black and white line drawings enhance the tale and provide added incentives for beginning readers.

Sophie is now a sixth-grader at Xavier Academy. Her younger brother, Cole, is sometimes a thorn in her side, but she loves him dearly. Sophie steps in to protect him from a new neighbor who is bullying Cole. The main part of the plot involves a series of Christmas gifts that mysteriously appear on Sophie’s doorstep. The signature says from your Secret Santa. Sophie is puzzled. She and her girlfriends try to figure out the mystery. Then she learns that another boy in school is also receiving gifts. Sophie’s grandmother helps them to solve the mystery when a clue emerges. The giver is certainly not anyone they might have suspected.

This book is a beautiful story portraying the true Christmas spirit. Lots of wholesome family values, like supportive family relationships, bullying, and preteen angst are addressed. I highly recommend the book to lift holiday spirits. If you enjoy it, check out the entire Sophie Washington book series.

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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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MAN’S BEST SUPER SLEUTH

Hide and Panic Stations (Super Sleuth Sam Book 1)

Written by Monty J. McClaine

This is the first book in a nine-part series. The author uses the introduction to present the characters of the series. Jack is a mischievous six-year-old. His father likes to tinker in the garage with his Corvette, his mother is a devoted stay at home mom, his sister, Molly has just begun to crawl. Sam, the basset hound is always on red alert protecting the family and serving as Jack’s constant companion. But Sam is no ordinary dog, he has magical powers passed down to him from his ancestors. When Sam recites his chant, he develops super speed and the detective skills of a Sherlock Holmes.

One day Jack and Sam are playing hide and seek. Jack pushes the envelope by finding a hiding place in which no one discovers him. While Jack is comfortably ensconced reading his dad’s comic and enjoying a snack, the rest of the family is in panic mode. Readers will enjoy how Sam employs his super speed and detective smarts to solve the mystery of Sam’s disappearance. Sam’s parents are about to call the police. Will Sam be able to solve the mystery? Perhaps young readers will be able to help.

This book is a fun chapter book for beginning and middle-grade readers. It presents a typical family with some atypical characteristics, some humor, and a mystery for readers to ponder. Recommended especially for third to fifth graders. The length of approximately one hundred pages makes it a good choice for reluctant readers as well.

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Fit for a Prince

 Carlo the Mouse, Book 4: Rules Are for a Reason
Written by Mrs. D
Illustrated by Chanoa

Book 4 continues the adventures of Carlo, the intrepid mouse, on his adventure in the hospital where he lives. Carlo spends most of his time dodging the hospital administrator who is determined to eliminate him. When Carlo spies a poster on the wall labeled “most wanted mouse,” he becomes indignant because he feels it doesn’t do him justice.

Carlo’s parents have repeatedly warned him to follow the rules, but Carlo continues to taunt the hospital chef by stealing food from the kitchen by night and watching cooking shows in the patient’s rooms during the day. One day Carlo breaks out in hives “…like popcorn bursting in a hot pan.” Carlo fantasizes how he got this disease. His mother figures it out. Carlo has spent too much time in the infectious disease part of the hospital and has contracted chicken pox. Poor Carlo takes this literally and fears that there are chickens under his skin.

The book is written with humor, colorful language and vibrant illustrations by Chanoa. Elementary school-age readers will be truly entertained. Carlo learns the hard way once more why it is important to follow the rules. Maybe his young readers will take note.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and voluntarily decided to read and review the book giving my honest opinions for no compensation.

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SWEET T AND THE TURTLE BLOG TOUR

 

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HERE IS MY REVIEW OF BOOK 3 IN THE SWEET T SERIES:

BLOG TOUR

SWEET T AND THE TURTLE TEAM

Written by Cat Michaels

Illustrated by Irene A. Jahns

 

Nine year old Tara is spending the summer on Gull Island at her Great Aunt Mae’s house with her mom and younger sister Jenna. Tara misses her friends. Billy, who lives next door, tries to befriend her. Tara is upset when she sees him being bullied and doesn’t understand why. Turns out Billy has a secret that he is unwilling to share.

Things are slow and pretty boring until one of the staffers at the Aquarium breaks her ankle. Tara’s mother is short staffed and needs volunteers to help supervise the hatching of turtle eggs on the island.

Tara, Jenna, and Billy study hard and dedicate themselves to protecting the turtle nests. But when a tropical storm named Parker threatens to destroy their charges, everyone rushes to save their mission.

I enjoyed the alliteration and onomatopoeia that the author uses so effectively. At the end of each day Tara texts her older sister Kristen. This is an effective way to keep the story fresh in reader’s minds, making it a good choice for beginning or reluctant readers. Michaels also includes a glossary to explain the texting code. In addition, there are “Mind Ticklers,” questions for readers to answer about the story, as well as a few questions soliciting the reader’s opinions.

This beginning chapter book targeted for children ages seven through eleven is well-written and engaging. The soft watercolor illustrations are pleasant and soothing. I recommend this book as the perfect summertime read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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TROUBLE AFOOT

A Day for Courage: Tales of Friendship Bog Book 7

Written by Gloria Repp

Illustrated by Michael Swaim

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More trouble afoot in Friendship Bog and the surrounding swamps. Kidnappings, poisoning and floods are in store for the animal inhabitants. Our frog friends, Pibbin and Leeper go on a mission to help young rabbits that have been poisoned by a mysterious orange berry plant. They must search for the only known cure, the gel from the Gummy Bark to counteract the poison. Keena, the nefarious lizard, is suspected to be behind it. In the meantime, Carpenter frog has disappeared from his workshop so Pibbin and Tatter go to search for him. Along the way it is discovered that the beaver are having a problem with the skinks and Cheeco the Chipmunk is also missing. As the search continues, our investigators discover a mysterious map that they hope will be a key to solving the mystery. The beavers come up with a plan to rid themselves of Keena, the lizards, and the skinks, but will their plan work or will it destroy their homeland in the process?

Lots of adventure and twists and turns mixed with lessons for young chapter book readers. Our frog friends teach courage, bravery, and standing up for the rights of others. Cooperation is the only way to success, and there is value in taking risks when the ultimate aim is to make life better for all concerned.

Readers age seven and older who like animals, adventure and reading a series should enjoy all the books about life in Friendship Bog.

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