Monday, April 20, 2015

Survivor for Kids

Today I have one of those books that is not significant literature, it will never win any awards and if you look too closely you will see the holes ... but it is one fun ride that will keep kids with a book in their hands as they follow the ups and downs of these four kid survivors!

In the end, loving books and a good story are the goals and this book may just pull in a less than voracious reader or keep a strong reader turning pages - something I love to see.

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Title: Stranded

Authors: Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts

Target: Grade 3-5

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
As the parent’s of a newly blended family start their honeymoon in Hawaii, the new siblings go off with an uncle on a weeklong boat trip in order to start the bonding process.  After encountering a severe storm, the adults are washed away while trying to secure the lifeboat and the four kids are left behind on the boat which crashes into a remote island.  They begin the process of trying to figure out where they are, how to survive until they are rescued and how to work with each other.  But then the boat washes back into the ocean, and all bets are off.

Why I love this book: 
First off the authors of the book are the host of Survivor and the author behind James Patterson’s widely successful Middle School series.  They can write adventure and this book has the kids crossing deadly cliffs, battling raging waters and dealing with the elements.  

This book is not an award winner, but it is a fun, edge of your seat ride with plenty of suspense to keep kids turning pages.  The one thing that always annoys me about these books, however, is that it ends on a cliffhanger.  Nice if you want your kids to keep reading the series, but I hate it when there isn’t some sort of resolution, even if all the story lines are completed.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids just moving up from early chapter books.  The book isn’t long and the type is large so it isn’t intimidating.  The story moves at a fast pace so kids will be entertained throughout.

Good for kids who like the Middle School series or Treasure Hunters.

Final thoughts: 
This is an amusing easy read, kind of like the Survivor show.

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

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Book Full of Shenanigans

I always encourage parents to keep picture books around long after they think their kids have moved on.  So many of these books have humor and lessons that are lost on the youngest readers, and as your kids get older they will appreciate some of the more sophisticated story lines that the best picture books provide.

Today, in fact, I have a picture book that is decidedly targeted at an older audience.  Nothing about this book feels juvenile, and the story about an international con man will have kids clamoring to share with you the scheming and shenanigans that only the best master of deception can pull off!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and by email so that you won't miss an opportunity to train you kids in the art of the con.  Although a long prison sentence at Alcatraz will dissuade them from using their new found skills!

Title: Tricky Vic

Author: Greg Pizzoli

Target: Grades 2 and up

What this book is about:  
This book is about Tricky Vic (not his given name), a real life con man, who makes those guys in Oceans Eleven look like amateurs.  Turns out he was an international thief who tricked people in buying money making machines, counterfeit bills and even sold the eiffel tower - more than once!  Of course he made brilliant get aways, shimming down a bedsheet to break out of prison while pretending to be a window washer. 

Why I love this book: 
Who wouldn’t love a book where the deception is on, and it isn’t fiction but a true account of an artist - con artist that is.  Even the artwork is deceptively entertaining.  Using mixed media,  Pizzoli has created a story that flows effortlessly.  The simplicity of the illustrations are striking and the flow of the story keeps the reader entertained.  While we see the faces of all the people he encounters, Tricky Vic’s face remains simply a thumbprint.  Clever stuff.  Creating it as a picture book means the story is full of facts, but never bogged down as we are charmed along with the marks in the story.  

Who this book is for: 
This picture book is for an older crowd and they will be pleased.  It does not look juvenile and the content respects it’s older audience.  Pizzoli does not deliver a moral lesson on the deceptions of Tricky Vic but his death after years in Alcatraz shows that he does get his just deserts. 

Final thoughts: 
Bringing in Al Capone, Bootleggers and Alcatraz this book factually cements itself in history while still sharing the fun of a real life “con man.”

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Deliciously Good Book for Kids

The book I am profiling today appealed to me from the start.  Perhaps it was the Twinkie Pie on the cover, I am a succor for sweets!  But it was a surprisingly lovely read and once I got started, I had a hard time putting this one down!

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Title: The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Author:Kat Yeh

Target: Grade 6 and up

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Gigi and her sister Didi have moved from a trailer park in South Caroline to Long Island to improve their station in life.  Didi has taken care of Gigi since their mother died and after winning a big cooking prize they finally have the funds to make sure that Gigi gets the education Didi feels she deserves.  While Gigi makes new friends, finds her first crush (and enemy) and generally works to fit in, it turns out there are family secrets that neither of the girls can run from.

Why I love this book: 
Gigi is the perfect Southern girl.  I have to admit that I didn’t think there was a chance that she would fit into her new upscale school, but surprisingly that was not too much of an issue in the story.  The one enemy she does make turns out to best friends with Gigi’s crush and Gigi has stepped on to her turf.  

But Gigi has spunk and honesty and that rings true from the start.  The big reveal in the book actually took me by surprise (I expected things to go a different way) but in hindsight I can’t believe I didn’t get it!  If anything, I felt that she and Didi could have used more of the story managing the outcome of the truth.  The story felt a bit rushed at the end, but all in all it was a lovely read.

Who this book is for: 
Given the issues in the book I would probably recommend for sixth and up.  Spoiler alter: It turns out that Didi isn’t the sister but the mother and one boy very quietly comes out as gay, so kids have to have the emotionally maturity to handle these issues in the story, but they are very well done.

Final thoughts: 
The recipes in this book will give you cardiac arrest, but it was fun to see the abundance of mayonnaise and cheese spread, not to mention the ever popular Twinkie!

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Record Breaking Kid's Book

I loved the Guinness Book of World Records when I was a kid.  I remember checking it out of the library and pouring over the crazy pictures.  It is a right of passage that every kid goes through, even in these day of YouTube and video on demand.  The picture of the woman with the longest fingernails may just haunt me forever!

To have a book this week with a kid who dreams about record breaking and the fascinating things the world has to offer, well that in and of itself is a win!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss a fascinating fact about the greatest weight juggled (59 lb, 7oz) or the highest dunk of a donut (198 ft 8in).  As for the most melons chopped on the stomach on a nail bed - well I'll just have to leave you guessing.

Title: Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker

Author: Molly B. Burnham

Target: Grade 3-7

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Teddy is the second to last child in a family with seven siblings!  His younger brother adores him, but he expresses his affection by breaking all of Teddy’s stuff.  In an effort to get away from “the Destructor” Teddy moves into a tent in the backyard.  Teddy loves the Guinness Book of World Records and he helps his neighbor “Grumpy Pigeon Man”  with his birds. It turns out these two endeavors come together in hilarious ways.

Why I love this book: 
Teddy will be a hero to every child.  He is the ultimate put upon little brother who perseveres nonetheless, and what child doesn’t see themselves that way?  

I loved that Teddy’s two best friends are an only child and one with one sibling.  They show us that no matter what your family dynamic, there are always challenges, which I appreciated.

I liked the fart jokes.  They were not overwhelming, but I chuckled, and farts done well are funny.  I also like the tie in to the Guinness Book of World Records.  Kids can’t get enough of these books, so it was a joy to see it featured in this story.

Who this book is for: 
The book is segregated by month and then with smaller topics highlighted, which makes is an easy read.  Kids who enjoy the Wimpy Kid format should easily be able to manage this story.  

Final thoughts: 
Teddy Mars is a pretty nice kid, if you ask me!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Teddy Mars Book #1: Almost a World Record Breaker  A portion of each purchase will go to supper this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Teaching Kids to Trust the Source of Information

In this age of the internet, it is never too early to get kids to look at the source of information.  Not everything they read or see is true, and how do they decide what is a reliable account and one that is perhaps not as authentic?

The book I am profiling today is a funny look at how the originator of a story may have other motives for not sharing the complete truth.  Is he giving you the real deal?  That is up to you to decide.

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Title: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Author: Julia Sarcone-Roach

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 2

What this book is about:  
This book begins with our narrator explaining what happened to a girl’s sandwich which has disappeared.  Of course it starts with a bear who manages to hop a truck to the city.  This new type of forest presents challenges and opportunities for our bear as he navigates new trees (telephone poles) mud (wet cement) and green fun (playgrounds).  But when hunger strikes, he nabs an unattended sandwich and then hops a boat home.  Of course everything is placed in doubt when it turns our our narrator is a cute little dog sharing the tale with his owner. 

Why I love this book: 
I always love a surprise ending, and this one is a very clever twist.  This tall tale is placed immediately in doubt when we see the potential culprit is the one who is rellaying the events.  Is it a true tale?  Well that is for you to decide, but it is a fun way to teach kids about trusting the source!

Bear’s adventures are full of fun and humor with lots for kids to discover.  I loved the end pages with lots of delicious sandwiches to choose from!

Who this book is for: 
I have targeted it a little older simply because the humor at the end demands more maturity from kids.  Younger kids may not get it.

Final thoughts: 
A good sandwich really is hard to resist!

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book for Any Kid Who Has Wanted to Be On Stage

I never fancied myself a kid who could do musical theater.  One listen to my less than melodic voice and the reasons are quite clear.  However, I remember listening to Sound of Music on my turntable (yes turntable) for hours on end, memorizing every song down the slightest detail.

Well the book I am profiling today is for kids who can see themselves up on stage, or at least can dream.  They are enamored with the arts or at least intrigued enough to understand how someone can be so passionate about a Sondheim production!

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss any books for kids who love Broadway and who maybe have a dream that they might someday find themselves on the Great White Way!

Title: Jack & Louisa: Act 1

Authors: Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead

Target: Grade 3-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Jack was an actor on Broadway … yes that Broadway.  Louisa is a Musical Theater Nerd (MTN) who dreams of being on The Great White Way.  When Jack’s voice changes and he looses a plum role, his father is free to take his dream job in Ohio.  Not a big thrill for Jack, but Louisa is beside herself that another MTN is in the neighborhood.  As Jack wrestles with finding his confidence, Louisa must contain her desire for a compatriot to star with her in the community production of Into the Woods.

Why I love this book: 
This is a lovely story.  While the book holds no big surprises, it does share the heartfelt fun of two new friends who are discovering that they both have the same passion and they can support each other in their endeavors.  

It is also a big win if you have a child who loves musical theater.  They will see their MTN passions on display in a big way, and they will appreciate the attention to detail that only a true fan of Broadway can appreciate.

There are lots of references to  the musical Into the Woods.  I was thrilled that the movie was recently released so I felt even the slightest bit “in the know.”

Who this book is for: 
Great book for kids who love musical theater and also for kids who enjoy relationship driven stories.  Nice book for both boys and girls since it is told in alternating voices.

Final thoughts: 
I adore the cover of this book.  The colors and illustrations are spot on - I only wish they carried through to the inside of the book.  It would have made the story all the more charming.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Jack & Louisa: Act 1  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Great Graphic Novel for Girls

Really strong graphic novels are always something that brings a smile to my face.  I am a huge fan of the genre and when they are executed well they can rival some of the best novels out there.  The quality continue to get better and better and today I have a lovely debut graphic novel author who has nailed it on her first offering out of the gate.

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Title: Roller Girl

Author: Victoria Jamieson

Target: Grade 5-7

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Twelve year old Astrid and her friend Nicole are trying to decide what to do over the summer before they start middle school.  Nicole loves ballet, but Astrid is dreaming of becoming a roller derby champion.  When Nicole choses ballet camp with Astrid’s arch enemy over roller derby camp, their friendship is seriously threatened.  Perhaps it is time for these two friends to move on and follow their own passions.

Why I love this book: 
I am always looking for strong graphic novels to recommend after kids have read Smile and Sisters.  This book perfectly fits the bill.  The graphics are clean and realistic, reminiscent of Raina Telgemeier.  The story is an honest look at friendship, hurt feelings and following the path that is right for you.

I enjoyed Astrid.  I liked that Roller Derby camp was hard and that she wanted to quit - welcome to the real world.  I liked that she didn’t always get the positions she wanted, despite working hard and that she had to deal with jealousy when her friend got a spot she was coveting.  These show kids that even in stories, characters can have happy endings by adjusting their expectations instead of expecting everything to go their way.  A lovely message that rings true.

Who this book is for: 
Great book for kids who enjoyed Smile and Sisters.

Final thoughts: 
I love that Astrid is a fierce strong girl to be reckoned with.

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