Friday, September 19, 2014

Gaston is a Delight of a Picture Book

It's picture book time.  This book caught my eye from just observing the cover.  The artwork by Christian Robinson is delightfully enchanting and a treat to page through.  Paired with a lovely story, this book is a whimsical read.

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Title: Gaston

Author:Kelly DiPucchio

Target:Preschool - Grade 2

What this book is about: 
Gaston, looking very much like a bulldog, is a puppy in a new littler of poodles.  He is taught to be a proper pooch and works very hard to please his adoring family.  However a trip to the park quickly reinforces that a mistake has been made somewhere, when a new litter of bulldogs has one puppy that looks exactly like a poodle.  The two puppies trade places, and while they look like they belong, they do not feel right at all.  When the chance comes to switch back, they realize that their original family is home, despite how it may look on the outside.  

Why I love this book: 
First off the illustrations by Christian Robinson are gorgeous.  The muted colors and adorable pooches are brought to life in this story.  

I  also like the message for kids.  They may occasionally feel like the black sheep of a family, but home is where they belong.  This would also be a lovely story for kids who are adopted to see that having them as part of the family feels just right even though they may look a little different from the other members.

Who this book is for: 
Great for all kids.  A lovely story with humor and a serious cute factor.

Final thoughts: 
I really enjoyed DiPucchio’s Crafty Chloe so I was looking forward to this book.  It did not disappoint.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Gaston  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5,000 Awesome Facts ... Yes 5,000




Title:     5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) (National Geographic Kids)

Author: National Geographic Kids

There isn't much of a review I can give of this book, other than to let you know it is out there.  If you have a child that goes gaga for random trivia facts listed at nauseum, then this is the book for them.

Your child will learn:

The largest s'more ever made used 40,000 marshmallows

Scientists have invented a clock that is powered by dead flies

97 percent of water on earth is undrinkable

and 4,997 other things to amaze and thrill you both.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sisters is a Funny Graphic Novel for Kids

Smile is such a wonderful graphic novel, it is nice to see Raina Telgemeier share more of her story with her new offering.  In this companion book she is looking at the relationship between sisters, which is quite funny when you are not one of the sisters.  Her honest observations about family life will have kids and adults chuckling with a knowing smile!  Check out the book trailer at the end of the post.

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Title:       Sisters

Author:  Raina Telgemeier

Target:   Grades 3-7

Series:    Yes

What this book is about:  
In this companion novel to Smile, Telgemeier is exploring the complicated relationship between sisters.  The book adeptly moves from past to present showing us the early years when Raina desperately wanted a little sister to - flash forward - when they can’t get through a conversation without pushing each others buttons.  In this story, Raina and her family are taking a road trip to a family reunion and it shows us how all the drama on the trip is rooted in relationships that developed from when they were very young.  

Why I love this book: 
I may never have had a sister, but the truth about family dynamics is honestly revealed in this book.  I couldn’t help but see myself and my kids time and time again.  I have to admit it is a lot funnier to see them play out in someone else's family!  I was constantly smiling with a knowing understanding at this book.

As in Smile, Raina is a likable and relatable character, so kids will warm to her and her struggles.  They will also see the fights and triumphs they deal with every day play out in this story which will make it all that more relatable.   On top of that the book is just charming and funny. 

Who this book is for:  
Any girl who has a family, especially a sibling, will be able to relate and laugh at this story.  While the subject matter is deep, the delivery is deftly done and the story will appeal to kids on many levels depending on the reader’s age.  You do not have to have read Smile to enjoy this story.

Final thoughts: 
My daughter stopped asking for a sister after reading this book.  A girl cousin is just fine for her now.  Also, I loved the references to a walkman, a little blast from my past!  

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Sisters  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Ruby Goldberg Makes Science Fun for Kids

If you had told me a few weeks ago that you could give my daughter a book to get her excited about entering the science fair I would have checked you for a hallucinatory illness.  Well, if I wasn't proven wrong by this lovely story that brings an unparalleled level of excitement and enthusiasm to constructing a Rube Goldberg machine!  Imagine that!

I have included the most amazing Rube Goldberg machine I have ever seen from a Chicago band OK Go.  For those of you unfamiliar with these contraptions you can see the gold standard!  If your kids had any apprehension about entering one of these in a science fair, this video might just change their minds. Check for this video at the end of the post.

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Title:       Ruby Goldberg’s Bright Idea

Author: Anna Humphrey

Target:  Grades 3-6

Series:   No

What this book is about: 
Ruby Goldberg is named after Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist who invented machines that would perform a complicated series of movements to complete a simple task.  When the science fair rolls around, Ruby is inspired to create a Rube Goldberg machine to get her grandfather’s slippers and paper - tasks that his recently deceased dog used to do.  However, can she beat her science fair archnemesis, Dominic Robinson, who happens to have some skills she needs to complete her own machine, while not forgetting about her best friend and grandfather who are her biggest fans?  Got you hanging by a string now don’t I?

Why I love this book: 
This book got my daughter thinking science.  My daughter would much rather enter a writing contest than ever consider entering the science fair, but after one read of this book she and her friends where busy drawing their own Rube Goldberg machines to enter into our science fair which is in April!.  Any book that gets kids interesting in inventing machines is a big win in my book.

The book also has nice messages about supporting your friends and not judging other people, but the best part by far is getting kids to think about how things work.

Who this book is for: 
Great book to get kids interested and excited in science without feeling forced.

Final thoughts: 
This book should be a staple in any school classroom or library to get kids interested in entering their own science fairs.  Book talking this one or giving it to your child a few weeks before the fair will get their creative juices flowing!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Ruby Goldberg's Bright Idea  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Almost Super is 100% Terrific

It is such a treat for me when I find a book that both my 12 year old robotics loving son and my 10 year old soccer playing daughter can both agree is great.  It takes a talented individual to produce such a book!  I guess we know Marion Jensen's superpower!  Not only is this book funny, but it is filled with great little inside jokes that my kids have truly enjoyed sharing with each other.  This book is a can't miss.

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Title:      Almost Super

Author:  Marion Jensen

Target:   Grades 3-7

Series:    Yes

What this book is about: 
Imagine being born into the Baileys, a super hero family.  After your twelfth birthday you get your super power to help in the fight against the Johnsons, a family of super villains.  You have been dreaming of this moment.  Will you be imparted with supper strength, the ability to read minds or will you shoot water out of your palms? When the time arrives you learn you can, wait for it …… turn your innie belly button into an outie?  Oh, something has gone terribly wrong.  And this is only the beginning of the mix ups occurring for these newly minted “almost superheroes.”

Why I love this book:  
Let me count the ways.  First off both my 12 year old son and 10 year old daughter LOVED this book.  Getting them to agree on a story is almost unheard of.  But this book is so darn funny that they were both laughing while reading.

Which brings me to another reason I loved the book.  Despite the fact that I knew the story before I started, that my kids had read me excerpts aloud of the funny party, and that I knew all the zany powers these kids get, I laughed every time.  Couldn’t help it.  This guy does silly humor in a smart way.  Bravo!

Who this book is for: 
I think it would be harder to find a kid who doesn’t like this book.  Most kids should love the clever humor.

Final thoughts: 
The next book is not out until 2015.  I really need the power of time travel!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Almost Super  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

You Can't Miss The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Well, I thought you would have to go to London to enjoy the book I purchased there a few weeks ago, but low and behold, when I arrived back in the States it had just been released here.  I wish I could say it was all part of a clever marketing ploy, but in this case it was just dumb luck.  So save yourself the airfare and enjoy the antics of Tom Gates right here at home.

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Title:       The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Author:   L. Pichon

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     Yes

Winner of the Roald Dahl Prize

What this book is about: 
Tom is a mischievous kid who is consistently late for school, loves to annoy his sister, and isn’t the best at getting his homework done.  And yet, he is completely appealing and kids will love reading about his antics, his feud with Marcus Meldrew and his attempts to impress the very smart Amy Porter.  Following the life of Tom is anything but boring.

Why I love this book: 
Well I found this book at a bookstore in London, and because it won the Roald Dahl prize I had to pick it up.  For those not familiar with this award it is bestowed upon the funniest kid books of the year.  How great are the British - an award for funny books.  I love it.  

Filled with illustrations on every page, this book is reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy kid in style.  I have to admit that I thought I would be annoyed by Tom’s behavior, but he is just plain charming and well written.  Pichon has certainly created a humorous character that is guaranteed to please.

Who this book is for: 
Based on format, kids who like Diary of Wimpy Kid books will gravitate to this one.  With the plethora of illustrations it will appeal to even the reluctant reader.

Final thoughts: 
Tom is a fun, well written character that will tickle your funny bone.  However, this is one kid I would prefer not to have in my class.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Perfect Picture Book for Girls

I am going to start the week off with a fabulous picture book.  My job should be to make sure there are no age restrictions on these books.  I mean come on, you can still catch me eating an ice cream cone with sprinkles, why not a picture book?

These books are nuggets of wisdom that remind us to laugh, evoke what is really important and provide insight into how we think and act.  With humor comes some truth, so that is why the best picture books always have to have a giggle factor and some sprinkles of wisdom!

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Title:       Uni the Unicorn

Author:  Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Target:   Preschool - age 99

What this book is about: 
Uni is a typical unicorn.  Uni has a magnificent mane, golden hooves and can make wishes come true.  However, there is one thing that sets Uni apart from the other unicorns …. Uni believes that little girls are real - gasp!  Uni dreams of all the things they can do together which of course involves a lot of rainbows.  What Uni doesn’t know is that somewhere not so far away, there is a little girl who believes in Uni.

Why I love this book: 
I have made no secret on this blog about how much I love this author.  Amy Krouse Rosenthal is the writer I want to be when I grow up.  Her books are brilliant, deceptively simple in their humor and wonderful in their clever word choices. (yes Amy, we notice!)  This book is both laugh inducing and touching, which the best books so often are.

I have to admit that I love the choice of illustrators for this endeavor.  Typically Rosenthal’s books have much simpler design aesthetics - think Little Pea, this plus that (a personal favorite) or Exclamation Mark.  However, Brigette Barrager has created a retro golden book design feel that makes the message feel rooted in past sensibilities without being old fashioned.

Who this book is for: 
Great for any little girl who wants to believe, and who loves to laugh.

Final thoughts: 
I believe Amy Krouse Rosenthal … I believe.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Uni the Unicorn  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.