Posts tagged ‘twins’

SCIENCE AT OUR FINGERTIPS

The Exploding Twins: A Volcano Adventure

Written by Y. and M. Leshem

Illustrated by Lucia Benito

This is a charming, hands-on book for curious, young scientists. Daniel and Allison are twins who are listening to their Aunt Melissa, who has just returned from a trip to South America. She is showing them pictures of her climb to the top of a volcano. Their interest immediately peeks when their parents ask if they would like to create a volcano of their own in the backyard.  The twins eagerly jump at the opportunity.

The second part of the book explains in easy to understand text and vivid illustrations how a volcano looks and what happens when it explodes. Then the authors present the materials necessary to create an exploding volcano from ordinary household materials. Each step leads to the climax of the explosion.

This book is an effective combination of endearing characters and a recipe for a science experiment that any family can share together. I have seen this experiment done in the classroom many times and it never fails to amaze budding, young scientists. Highly recommended for elementary and middle-grade students as a good choice in the STEM category to encourage a greater awareness of science all around us for both girls and boys.

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BOOK REVIEW BLITZ – MIKE AND THE LABRADOODLE

Title: Mike and the Dog-Gone Labradoodle: The Pet Shop Society, Book 1

Written by Emlyn Chand

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First in a series of mystery detective chapter books for young readers in the seven to eleven age group. The eight chapters are only five or six pages each, and they are content referenced in The Table of Contents. Book is perfect for a teacher read aloud or an independent reluctant reader as the text provides a good balance of humor, interesting characters, and an age appropriate story line.

Main characters, Maddie and Mike are sixth grade twins who could not be more opposite. Maddie loves reading and school: Mike loves sports and watching TV. When Nic Chang’s Labradoodle named Baxter goes missing, Baxter and his friend, Tyler, offer to help. But Maddie and her friend, Bree, overhear and come up with the suggestion that they need to go back and retrace Baxter’s steps. They piece together clues to solve the mystery. At the same time, Nic reveals a secret about herself. Solving the mystery leads to the five becoming friends and discovering a common bond. They decide to form The Pet Shop Society dedicated to solving more mysteries around their community. Their adventures will continue in the next two books of the series. Recommended for early readers who enjoy mysteries.

Also a good choice for exploring family and peer relationships.

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About the Author: Emlyn Chand

Emlyn (4)From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life: she has published fiction across multiple genres, oversees and contributes as both an editor and an author to the Novel Publicity Guides for Writing & Marketing Fiction series, and loves the written word so much, she even married author Falcon Storm! Don’t forget that she is the founder and president of Novel Publicity too.

The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it—a lesson she has never forgotten. Maybe that’s why she loves writing her Bird Brain Book series for children so much!

Emlyn’s first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Face-Off

Written by Stacy Drumtra-Juba

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Fast moving young adult novella centering around the issues of sibling rivalry, family relationships, the sport of hockey, coming of age, and divorce. The McKendrick Family is undergoing a crisis. Parents are constantly fighting and are on the verge of divorce. A.J. McKendrick is an out of work architect struggling to make ends meet, placing additional strain on the marriage. High school juniors and fraternal twins, Brad and T.J., strive to shine in hockey, but T.J. has the better grades. Dad places unrealistic expectations on T.J. When finances force the parents to remove T.J. from private school, the brothers are faced with a new situation for rivalry; how to play together on the same hockey team. Their younger brother Chris gets into fights in school and attempts to run away. All this emotional stress plays havoc on the lives of the family, their school, and their friends. In addition, there are the coming of age issues related to romance and future career plans.

The short tale offers a lot to young teen readers. It is packed with action, emotional tension, details about the sport of hockey, and well-defined characters facing issues with which the reader may empathize. This book would be a good choice for a reluctant reader as the tone is conversational and smooth flowing. Juba immediately draws you in and holds your attention. Highly recommended for teens, particularly boys who love sports.

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OPPOSITES ATTRACT

What A Pair! Mattie and Mark Miller:Double Trouble Series

Written by Wanda E. Brunstetter

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This is the first in a series focused on the Amish way of life and nine year old twins, Mattie and Mark. Targeted for middle grade readers ages eight through twelve, the book is a fun and educational introduction to a way of life misunderstood by most observers.

Brunstetter begins by explaining that the Amish are group of people who live a plain life without using many modern things; a simple plausible way to explain to children why they are different but not strange. The author goes on to give examples as to how they live and work both in the past and present.

She provides a glossary of the Amish language words which are used liberally throughout the story. Readers will love these feisty twins with diametrically opposed personalities. What they do have in common is a love of life, family, and kind hearts. For example, Mattie is a dreamer, Mark a scholar, Mattie is cautious, Mark an adventurer, Mattie loves dogs, and Mark loves cats. Mattie is a great baseball player, while Mark cringes when he sees a bat and ball. As the reader follows one humorous adventure after another, what comes through is deep commitment to family, society and community, and a story about two children experiencing the same problems any tween faces. The book will appeal to both genders.

On their birthday, the twins receive an unexpected gift from their grandparents. This gift will require them to learn how to work together. When an unexpected emergency arises, the twins learn the real value of teamwork. The plot has lots of twists and turns and many different scenarios to appeal to a wide variety of reader interests. Text is interesting and challenging, yet not too overwhelming. Lots of humor, adventure, family fun, good values and the benefit of learning about a culture few have experienced first hand. Highly recommended for tweens and young adult readers or anyone interested in understanding Amish society.

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FAMILY SECRETS

Sophie And Crystal Carter and the Unexpected Secret

Written by Kelly Cairns

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Looking at this title and cover, you probably would  guess that this story is a magical adventure. The author has seamlessly interwoven a diversity of elements into an intriguing plot with so many twists and turns that the reader is left guessing right up to the end of the story.

At first glance, ten year old fraternal twins Sophie and Crystal Carter are just like most girls their age. They live with their mom, Sarah in a small town. Sophie is shy and nervous, while her sister is rather confident and bossy. This summer, the girls are surprised to hear that they would be staying with their maternal grandfather, whom they had never met. Their mother needs to take care of some business; she appears irritable and upset. Upon arrival at the house, the girls discover it is creepy and old. Soon the girls hear strange noises, and upon investigating the twins find some disturbing things in the basement. When the girls confront their grandfather, they are astonished to discover that everyone in the family is not who they appear to be—even themselves. Granddad decides to come clean and tell them the truth.

I don’t want to give away the intricate and well-written plot filled with surprises. Readers will find spiders, witches, leprechauns, bats, pixies, winged horses, magic mushrooms, spells, and potions with plenty of evil forces at work. This newly thrown together family will need to fight for their survival. In doing so, they will learn a lot a about themselves in the process. Cairns does an excellent job with character development; I really felt as if I were in all the character’s shoes. Things never get dull. The reader will be left guessing as to the outcome right up to the end of the adventure. Be forewarned, the ending is a bit of a tearjerker.

This book is targeted for ages seven and up. Despite the lack of illustrations, the story of less than 100 pages is so well written that it should hold the interest of younger readers once they get past the first few pages. As an adult reader, I could not stop reading until I got to the end. Looking forward to more adventures with the Carter family.

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MAGIC AND MYSTERY

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson

Written by Nikki Bennett

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I am delighted to take part in the Blog Tour for this book for which I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. It is an interesting middle grade chapter book story that combines so many wonderful elements.

This story relates what happens to the Munson family after their parents are killed in a car accident. Susie, the eldest at age eleven, narrates the tale. Other members of the family include Tucker, age nine, and twins Jesse and Mindy, age five. They have recently moved into a dilapidated house purchased by their Aunt Julie, who is now their legal guardian. Mindy has been traumatized by her parents’ death and refuses to speak. Her only communication is occasional whisperings to her twin Jesse. All the children still see a psychologist weekly.

Their adventures are told by Susie even though most the imaginary characters are seen through the mind of young Mindy. Oh, yes, this house is haunted. There are monsters, spiders, ghosts, dragons, a leprechaun and something sinister that lives in the basement. Together with Danny and Anna, the kids who live next door, the children spend the summer exploring the huge backyard and house. The older children suspect that Mindy is imagining all these things, yet they hear the noises and see the clues left behind like a toy triceratops and a red feather. When the new school year comes around, the children are apprehensive about beginning all over again. At first Mindy is bullied because she does not speak. The winter brings more adventures like a new boarder named Adam who lives in the cottage, an abominable snowman, and a close call when Tucker falls through the frozen pond.

In little more than one hundred pages, Bennett manages to deal with so many issues: death, bullying, unsolved mysteries, coming of age, blended families, and childhood fears. The story is told with lots of humor, authentic dialogue, and well-developed characters. Chapters are short; many have charming pencil drawn illustrations. This keeps the book interesting for the younger reader. Length of chapters make it a good choice for a classroom read aloud. Highly recommended for boys and girls ages seven through twelve. Don’t miss it!

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