Sunday, April 29, 2012

What to Read After The Hunger Games

Good vs. evil, an emerging hero, nonstop action, mysterious circumstances, dark surroundings - these are all the qualities of a great novel.  They also happen to be the qualities in the new dystopian novels that are gaining in popularity since The Hunger Games.

Great plots and strong characters are the basis for these books, but it's the idea of a world that is different and worse than our own that is so compelling.  And let's be honest, it's a nice break from the vampire books!


Title:          The Maze Runner
Author:      James Dashner
Target:       Grades 6-10
Series:        This is the first book in a trilogy
What this book is about:
Thomas wakes up in an elevator, his memories gone.  When the doors to the elevator open, he is surrounded by a group of boys, a farm like setting and stone walls.  The stone walls are closed every night to keep out evil creatures that inhabit the darkness and opened during the day to expose an elaborate maze.  The boys are convinced that this maze holds the key to their way home.
What I love about this book:
The premise is riveting.  Why are they here? Can they figure out the maze, and if they do, will it save them?  There is plenty of action and lots of cliffhangers.  I didn’t love the main character, Thomas, but many of the supporting characters were well done and I was invested in the outcome!  While this book does have a conclusion of sorts, it also sets the reader up for the next book by creating new doubt.
Who this book is for:
Kids who like the unknown and imagining different worlds.  This book has a little science fiction bent as well.  There are some more graphic death scenes, so be forewarned if that is an issue!
Final thoughts:
The mystery will suck you in.  Be prepared to read all three books in this series.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Trilogy, Book 1).  A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.


Title:          Legend

Author:      Marie Lu

Target:       Grades 7 and up

Series:        First book in a planned trilogy

What this book is about:
The US has been fractured by an apocalyptic event and divided into two warring factions, the Republic and the Colonies.  In the midst of this, a young man, Day, has been evading the Republic and causing trouble for their troops.  When it is believed he killed a Republic officer, the officer's sister, June, hunts Day down for revenge.  However, the more she learns about Day and the actions of the Republic, the more she questions what she has been brought up believing.

Why I love this book:
This book is told in the alternating voices of Day and June and is a thrill ride the whole way.  There is action, deceit, romance, daring physical challenges and a really bad guy.  You get thrown into the action from the first page and have to work to fill in the blanks.  The characters are well developed and it was enlightening reading the story form each of their perspectives.  There are a few things left hanging but I assume that is because this is a planned trilogy.  Just a fun read with great characters and the required government cover ups!

Who this book is for:
Boys or girls will enjoy it, and it is a fairly quick read at 300 pages.

Final thoughts:
I am very much looking forward to the second book!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here for a link the Amazons: Legend A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.






Title:          The City of Ember

Author:      Jeanne DuPrau

Target:       Grades 4-8

Series:        This is the first book in a series

What this story is about:
After an undescribed apocalyptic event on earth, the Builders create an underground world where a group of humans go to live until they feel it is safe to return to the surface.  The catch in this book is that the humans don’t realize they are living underground, they simply think this is life as they know it.  The safeguard to release them from this underground world 200 years from its inception was lost long ago, and no one even remembers it exists.  Our two main characters, Lina and Doon find the now almost indecipherable lost instructions, and they must grapple with the fact that there may be another way of life.


Why I love this book:
The premise of this story is just fabulous.  I love the idea of generations of people living underground for so long they have no concept of the sun, and they make up legends and tales about the dark that surrounds them.  I also enjoyed that this was an exciting adventure.  As Lina and Doon hunt for the truth, there are others who are happy to keep things as they are, which leads to an exciting climax as they try and save their people.  They also wrestle with their own hopes, fears and leadership.

What is interesting in this book is that the citizens of Ember behave in the same way that any group of people will behave.  There are some that like the status quo, others who are looking to be saved, some who hoard and take advantage of the situation and a few that stand up and lead.


Who this book is for:
Great for kids interested in dystopian literature or who love the idea of that our world may not be as it appears.


Final thoughts:
This one ends on a cliffhanger so be prepared to read the second book!


To purchase this book, visit you local bookstore or click here for a link to Amazon: The City of Ember (Books of Ember).  A portion of your purchase goes to support this blog.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Favorite Books of 2012 ... So Far

Thought it would be fun this week to post some of my favorite books of the year....so far!  There have been a few that have really stood out above the rest (in book talk this means I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish them.)  There are two in particular that I think could be early Newbery contenders, however that is a tricky little award, so you just never know (do you sense I am still a little bitter about my favorite book from last year - Ok for Now!)

Anywhooo...I am starting with my all time favorite Wonder.  This book is just one of those stories that will not only touch you and your child, but neither of you will be able to put it down.  Just a triumph of a book that I think all your kids should read.  Well enough of my preaching...now get out there and read a book!!

Oh, and don't forget to follow One Great Book on Facebook or twitter for great stuff on kids's books!


Title:          Wonder
Author:      R. J. Palacio
Target:       Grade 3-6
Series:        No
What this book is about:
Auggie Pullman is about to enter fifth grade at the first real school he has ever been to.  He has been home schooled up to this point because he was born with a facial deformity so severe it prevented him from going to a mainstream school.  We are there as Auggie faces the challenges and we learn he is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face.
Why I love this book:
As a parent, I usually shy away from books where the kids have to go through extraordinary challenges such as this, it just pulls too hard on my parent heartstrings.  However, I am so glad that I didn’t shy away from Wonder!  It is told in the voice of Auggie as well as some of the other young characters.  When you get the viewpoints of several different young people to the same scene, it allows kids to see that there is more than one way to look at a situation.  It is a wonderful way to teach empathy, something this book does in spades
Auggie’s voice rings true and I grew to love him throughout the book and see both his challenges and those of his family and friends.  But the book also shows us the humor and love that surrounds this family.  There are actually some laugh out loud moments.  Ultimately the story shows you how similar we all are in side!
Who this book is for:
Great book for any reader.  The voices feel authentic so kids will easily see themselves and others in the story.  The action and events also move at a good pace.  I must note that my fourth grade son loved it, so it is not a story that only speaks to adults.  My son actually snuck into his room to read it one day because he told me he couldn’t wait to finish it!  Now if that isn’t a resounding recommendation for this fabulous book, I don’t know what is!
Final thoughts:
This book is an early contender for the Newbery and I can easily see why.  It is so thoughtful and well done with a voice that a child will hear and understand!  One of my favorites so far this year. 

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: Wonder, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!


Title:          The Mighty Miss Malone
Author:      Christopher Paul Curtis
Target:       Grades 4-7
Series:        No
What this book is about:
Deza Malone is a young girl growing up during the Depression.  Deza is the smartest girl in her class, and the adults around her see a special path for her in life.  However, when a terrible accident affects her father and he leaves to find work, Deza and her older brother must move to an encampment  miles from their home, and they cling to the hope they will one day all be together again.
Why I love this book:
Wow, when I finished this book I was blown away.  It is beautifully written, it tells of what life was really like during the depression, but it never looses its optimism or its humor.  Deza annoyed the stuffing out of me at the beginning of the story, but by the end I grew to love her and her family  The hardship and the hope stuck together like glue in this story and these characters were so well developed I felt like I knew them.
Who this book is for:
I have a feeling that the idea of the book will not appeal to alot of kids, but I dare a child to read it and not love it.  This is a case where a book is so well written that the story will touch them even if the topic doesn’t initially interest them.
Final thoughts:
I think the cover of this book is one of the most striking I have seen!  In this case, please do judge this book by its cover!

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: The Mighty Miss Malone, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!


Title:          The Case of the Deadly Desperados
Author:      Caroline Lawrence
Target:       Grades 4-8
Series:        This is the first book in a planned series
What this book is about:
PK Pinkerton is in trouble.  His Sioux mother and Pinkerton father (of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency) are dead.  His foster parents have just been murdered by Desperados in an attempt to get a piece of paper which might give PK the rights to a substantial portion of the Comstock Load.  He is on the run from these Desperados in the town of Virginia City.  Here he meets a soiled dove, an ace poker player, celestials and tavern owners who all want in on the action.  Will he get out of this alive?  Set in the Wild West of 1862, PK must find out who he can trust!
Why I love this book:
Ok, I admit that my summary might not make you want to jump up and buy this book, but jump up and get this book.  This is one of those books that I read straight through, which I don’t often do, but it was just that good!!  The tongue and cheek humor is fabulous, and the action is non stop.  PK is a wonderful character.  He can’t read people’s emotions but he is a genius with numbers and details.  As he changes disguises and figures out who his friends really are, you are pulled in more and more to this delightful story.  And did I mention it is funny in the most dead pan way!
Who this book is for:
I have skewed it a little older simply because some of the humor is a little sophisticated, and there is that pesky situation of murdered foster parents.  Also there are some references to loose women and a scene in an Opium den, but they are really very innocent and the life lessons in the book are extremely solid!  Also, without giving too much away, this book is really for boys and girls, as our main character masquerades as both!  Oh, I want to tell you more, but it would ruin the fun!
Final thoughts:
Who can resist a book whose first sentence starts out, “My name is PK Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead.”

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: The Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries, Book One, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Best New Children's Book Series

I read a lot of established series as well as new books.  Several of these new books start out as planned series and I must say there have been a few that have stood out above the rest!  By that I mean I can't wait for the second book to come out!   In a few cases the wait isn't that long, but for others I know I am in for a long haul.  Oh well, call me committed, but these books are worth waiting for!

I have included two brand new series as well as two that I have already blogged about, because they are the ones that have stuck with me.  Ok authors, my fate is in your hands, so please try and be quick about it!

Don't forget to like One Great Book on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, especially for updates on when the second books in these series will be released.


Title:          The False Prince
Author:      Jennifer A. Nielsen
Target:       Grades 4-8
Series:       This is the first book in a planned trilogy
What this book is about:
In the land of Carthya  the king, queen and first son have been murdered.  In an attempt to stop the country from civil war, a nobleman, Connor, rounds up orphans who resemble the second son, lost at sea four years earlier, to impersonate the only possible heir.  Four boys are chosen and they must compete for the chance to take the place of the prince.  If they are not chosen they will be killed.  The story is told in Sage’s voice, one of the orphans.
Why I love this book:
This book is fabulous!!  First of all, Sage is just a wonderful character.  He reminds me quite a bit of Hans Solo in Star Wars, brash, full of swagger, but also very self aware and charming.  His voice is so fresh and fun that I would recommend the book on that alone....however, the story is equally good.  I read ALOT and it is not often that I get surprised by a twist in a story, and this one just came out of no where, but it was perfect.
Who this book is for:
Great for all kids in the target, but I will say that it was fun to read a book with a great plot and great characters that had no magic, wizardry or spells.  Not that I don’t like those things, but this was just good old fashioned story telling at its best.
Final thoughts:
Loved that even though it is a trilogy, the ending was nicely satisfying. 

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: The False Prince: (Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy)



Title:          Tuesdays at the Castle

Author:      Jessica Day George
Target:       Grades 3-6
Series:        This is the first book in a planned series
What this book is about:
Princess Celie lives with her family in an unusual castle.  The castle itself is alive and can change surroundings, moves staircases, and eliminates rooms based on the behavior it wants of the inhabitants.  Luckily the castle is wise, unluckily, there is a plot to take over the kingdom and Celie and her siblings will have to depend on the castle and each other to stop it.
Why I love this book:
This is with out a doubt one of my favorite new series of the year.   Charming is the best word I have to describe it. Having a castle as a character took the story in a whole new direction, and the author did a wonderful job of creating interesting personalities and keeping the suspense up.  I had a hard time putting this book down!
Who this book is for:
Girls who love a great adventure!
Final thoughts:
I can’t wait for the next book in the series to delve into the magic surrounding the castle and the children!

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: Tuesdays at the Castle




Title:          The Unwanteds

Author:      Lisa McMann
Target:       Grades 4-8
Series:        This is the first book in a planned trilogy.  
What this book is about:
In the land of Quill you are a Wanted (great), Necessary (ok) or Unwanted (yikes).  We start the story off with twins, Aaron and Alex, one is Wanted, the other Unwanted.  Unwanteds are sent to the death farm were the inevitable is supposed to occur.  However, much to the surprise of the Unwanteds, the death farm is actually a mirage for the magical kingdom of Artime, where those in the creative arts can flourish and learn magic.  However, Artime cannot remain hidden from Quill forever, so a  showdown is inevitable, pitting brother against brother.
Why I love this book:
Let me start off by saying the cover calls this book the Hunger Games meets Harry Potter and on some level this is true.  However, I can say without a doubt that this book is not a good as either book, let alone a combo.  The characters are simple, the plot straightforward and the action predictable.  So why am I recommending it?   Because it is ideal for an elementary/middle school child.  I will say that it is easy to get caught up in this interesting story and frankly the premise is extremely creative.  The fact that it is written for it’s audience and not a higher level means that a 9 - 12 year old will be thoroughly engaged and the content is appropriate for them!
Who this book is for:
Kids who loved Harry Potter and Hunger Games will enjoy this book.  My son read it in two days straight!
Final thoughts:
A highly imaginative book!

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon:





Title:          The Emerald Atlas

Author:      John Stephens
Target:       Grades 4-8
Series:        First book in a planned trilogy
What this book is about:
Three children are separated from their parents and sent to a series of orphanages because (unbeknownst to them) they are destined to fulfill a prophecy and evil is trying to find them.  However, as all good stories go, the last orphanage takes them directly to their destiny as they find a mysterious book which allows them to travel through time and discover magical and mysterious worlds.  They must fight against the forces who are trying to use this book for evil and learn their destiny and the power of family.
Why I love this book:
Imagine the Golden Compass, Harry Potter and the Tales of Narnia all mixed up in a bag and that would be the influence for this book.  At times I felt like the material was not original enough, but that said, the story was engaging and I was caught up in the characters.  
This book is the first in a planned series of three books and the action keeps it moving at a good pace.  The time travel was confusing for me (and I like to think I can manage your basic single mutable time stream theory) so I imagine that unless your kids are especially brilliant or on the older end of the target audience, they will simply gloss over the nuances of time travel in the story.
Who this book is for:
Kids who like an adventure, this story is action packed!
Final thoughts:
Interestingly the author also wrote for the Gillmore Girls (a favorite series of mine), however, while the characters are well developed, they do lack the quirky charm I was expecting!


To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon:
The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Great Early Chapter Books

I thought this week I would post some great early chapter books you may not have heard about.  I think parents struggle the most during this phase of their child's reading to find great books.  It's tricky to get a book at just the right level, with just the right amount of illustrations, with just the the right vocabulary, that also interests your child.

If they don't like Ivy and Bean or Magic Tree House (or if they have finished these series,) it is sometimes difficult to find the other books out there that will inspire them.  I hope you like this weeks selection.  These books have great characters, fun plots and I hope they will inspire your child to continue their love of reading!

Don't forget to "like" one great book on Facebook or follow us on twitter for information on what is new and exciting in kid's literature!


Title:          Zeke Meeks vs the Putrid Puppet Pals
Author:      D.L. Green
Target:       Grades 1-3
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Zeke is in third grade, and when his friends begin buying the latest toy craze, Puppet Pals, he has no one to play basketball with at recess.  Without any one to play with, he considers using the allowance he has been saving for the Great Epic Superhero video game to buy Puppet Pals.  Will Zeke succumb to the latest toy phase or will he convince his friends that there are other things to do that can be more fun?
Why I love this book:
This book surprised me.  It was funny and smart at the same time.  Zeke is actually a very real and likable character and the author captured the feelings of kids obsessed with any commercially driven toy fad - can you say silly banz!  The other characters that surround Zeke are also well done.  Kids will love Zeke’s little sister who can’t stop singing princess jingles, Grace the class bully with fingernails sharp, as well nails, and Owen the smooth talking popular kid who charms his way around the class.
I also want to add that the illustrations by Josh Alves are well done and quite clever.  They add quite a bit of humor to the book.
Who this book is for:
Great for early chapter book readers with pictures on each page and larger text.  This book is full of good stuff but never feels overwhelming.
Final thoughts:
Zeke Meeks - defender of the puppet pal free playground!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Zeke Meeks vs the Putrid Puppet Pals




Title:          Princess Posey and the Perfect Present
Author:      Stephanie Greene
Target:       Kindergarten - Grade 2
Series:        Yes

What this book is about:
Posey is in love with first grade.  She loves her friends, her classroom and her teacher.  When her teacher’s birthday comes up, Posey decides on the perfect present, a flower from her garden.  But when her best friend brings in a huge bouquet, Posey has to figure out if her present is good enough.
Why I love this book:
Charming.  Posey is a delightful character who has to deal with real feelings of jealousy and managing first grade friends.  Her actions and emotions are perfectly age appropriate and relatable to any kindergartner up to second grader.
Who this book is for: Girls just starting chapter books.  The pages are not overwhelming, there are plenty of pictures and the chapters are short.

Final thoughts:
A perfect present for a girls wanting to get her hands on a chapter book!  This is also a series with four titles so more Princess Posey to go around!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Princess Posey and the Perfect Present: Book 2


Title:          Roscoe Riley
Author:      Katherine Applegate
Target:       Grades K-2
Series:        Yes
What this series is about:
Instead of talking about the first book, thought I would just dive into the whole series!  Roscoe is a good hearted first grader who seems to run into trouble on a regular basis.  The title does not refer to the fact that he “rules” but the fact that his adventures usually lead to a list of rules that one should follow to not get into the same trouble again.  While he never goes looking for trouble, trouble always seems to find him!
Why I love these books:
Roscoe is a nice kid without being sappy or unrealistic.  His rules are always funny and telling  without feeling like lessons.  There is a dry sense of humor to these books.  In the end these are just fun and well written adventures.
Who these books are for:
Great for early chapter book readers.  Sentences and spacing are not overwhelming.  There are not pictures on every page, but they are scattered throughout each chapter.
Final thoughts:
Thought in the spirit of a book blog I should share a few of Roscoe’s rules for the bookstore:
  1. Do not ask the bookstore lady to come to your house and read you a bedtime story.  She has other plans.
  2. There will never be enough books about dinosaurs, pirates or boogers.
  3. The bookstore manager cannot call your favorite author and ask why it is taking so long for her to write another book.”
To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here:Roscoe Riley Rules #1: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs



Title:          Anna Hibiscus
Author:      Atinuke
Target:       Grades K-2
Series:        Yes
What this book is about:
Anna Hibiscus is a young girl who lives in Africa, “Amazing Africa!”  In the four stories written by our author, we learn about how Anna lives and thrives in a house full of Aunties and Uncles, cousins and grandparents. We learn about some of the hardships in the world around her, despite their modern conveniences.  We discover how concerned the family is that an Aunty who has moved to the States might have lost the ways of Africa.  And we finally get a chance to see how much Anna wants to see the miracle of a snowy day!
Why I love this book:
Generally multicultural books feel contrived to me and I must admit that I didn’t have a lot of initial hope for Anna Hibiscus.  However, these stories are absolutely charming.  They are full of humor, and while the surroundings are certainly different than what we experience, the human emotions and feelings are just the same!
I loved that I got a peak into family life in Africa.  What the author did so well was to tell four wonderful stories that also just happen to show kids what life is like in another culture.  
Who this book is for:
Kids reading chapter books should be able to easily read Anna Hibiscus.  There are plenty of illustrations on each page, but the four stories themselves are longer than actual chapters so that could be a challenge.  It is also a great read aloud, and in fact, that is how my daughter and I enjoyed (and loved) the book.
Final thoughts:
Anna, Amazing Anna!  A lovely early chapter book!


To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Anna Hibiscus

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Top 5 Funny Picture Books

For me, the first criteria in judging a picture book is whether or not it makes my family laugh.  There is just something about your children giggling next to you as they get the humor in an especially clever book which is priceless to me.  I also find that the funny books are the ones kids go back to time and time again.

This week I have chosen some laugh out loud funny books, some with decidedly quirky humor and some touching books that use humor to elevate their charm.  It was hard to narrow it down to five, so I think I will post my runner ups in the upcoming weeks.  Hope you all get a good laugh out of them!

Don't forget to like one great book on Facebook or follow us on twitter for great info on what is happening in the world of children's literature.


Title:         Let’s Do Nothing
Author:     Tony Fucile
Target:      Preschool - Grade 2
What this book is about:
They have played baseball, painted pictures, baked cookies, played board games, read every comic book ever written...now what?!  Just when it seems boredom will overtake them, Sal and Frankie decide to do nothing,  But as they discover, doing nothing isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Why I love this book:
This book cracks me and my family up every time we read it!  Frankie’s imagination is priceless so that even when he pretends to be a statue, he gets bombarded by pigeons.  When he pretends to be a tree, the family dog uses him for well..what dogs use trees for, and when he pretends to be a building...you will just have to read it to find out!
Who this book is for:
Any family who enjoys a great laugh out loud read.  There isn’t a lot of text, but it is the well timed phrases and the pictures that create the funny moments in this book.
Final thoughts:
Do something and get this wonderful book for your family!


To purchase this book, visit you local bookstore or click here: Let's Do Nothing!




Title:          A House in the Woods

Author:      Inga Moore
Target:       Preschool-Grade 2
What this book is about:
Two little pigs build their houses next to each other, only to return to find Bear and Moose have moved in, with the tragic consequence - they are too big for the abodes.  The four friends decide to build a house they can all live in together and employ the Beavers - at a cost of four plates of peanut butter sandwiches - to get the house built.
Why I love this book:
The cover of this book just said boring to me.  In fact, if I hadn’t read a wonderful review of the book on the Hickelbee’s website, I might never have read the book at all.  I’m so glad I didn’t judge this book by it’s cover.
I call this my quietly funny book.  There are no big laugh out loud moments, but my daughter and I were grinning the whole time we were reading it.  From the clever illustrations (the moose drawings are my favorite, with the beavers a close second) to the language where unexpected things seem so commonplace in the story - this is where Moore’s humor shows itself so well - the book is an absolute delight!
Who this book is for:
I can’t think of a child who wouldn’t like this book.  Touching and funny all at the same time!
Final thoughts:
At the end of the day, the clever humor in this book elevates it from just being a sweet story about family, to a truly original book.


To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: A House in the Woods





Title:Stuck

Author:Oliver Jeffers
Target:Preschool - Grade 2
What this book is about:
When young Floyd gets his kite stuck up in the tree, he tries throwing up his favorite shoe to get it down.  When his favorite shoe gets stuck he tries throwing up his other shoe which also gets stuck! Of course he can’t stop now, as the series of items get bigger and funnier.  Suffice it to say that he does eventually get his kite down, but that is not where this very funny story ends!
Why I love it:
Laugh out loud funny, really my favorite quality in a children’s book!  And not just funny for kids, but also clever enough for adults.  There are so many smaller bits of humor in the book that kids will understand, although they may need a parent to point them out, and that discovery for them is delightful!
Who this book is for:
Any child will devour this book, but it does make a wonderful read aloud for a classroom, in case you were wondering!
Final thoughts:
As the author says, the best way to solve a problem is to throw things at it (even the kitchen sink!)

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Stuck




Title:          I Want my Hat Back
Author:     Jon Klassen
Target:      Preschool-Grade 1
What this book is about:
Told completely in a dialogue format, Bear has lost his hat and asks many of the forest animals if they have seen it.  When he figures out where his hat can be found, the true humor of the book kicks in.  We learn that those who protest the most, are probably the most guilty.
Why I love this book:
Illustrations are simple but perfect for the story!  The sly humor is laugh out loud funny and the reader is in on the joke!  I love it when an author can use deadpan humor that both a child and an adult can relate to.  
Who this book is for:
Children who love great illustrations and a great story.  The only concern I will voice is that the ending can be taken as a bit severe.  However, it is left up to the reader to decide the fate of  our hat stealing rabbit.  
Final thoughts:
A simple book that delivers!

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: I Want My Hat Back



Book:          Cowboy & Octopus

Author:        Jon Scieszka
Target:         Preschool to Grade 2
What this book is about: 
This book is about two unlikely friends, cowboy and octopus who encounter many of the same problems that friends do, and always find an agreeable, albeit funny ways to solve them.  There are 7 stories within the book which include octopus “fixing” a broken teeter-totter by sitting  on the other end, a knock knock joke gone awry, to an all bean feast prepared by cowboy for octopus.
Why I love this book: 
I have read this book twice in my children’s first grade class, and both times it has had a wonderful reception!  I just love it when kids laugh out loud at the stories!  However, to say that it is quirky is an understatement!  You need to have an oddball sense of humor to really appreciate this set of stories.  I also want to note that I really like the message of friendship that the book embraces.
Who this book is for:
Those who are familiar with Scieszka’s work (Stinky Cheese Man, Math Curse) will surely appreciate this picture book for the younger set.  
Final thoughts:
Even as my kids get older they still love to pull this book off the shelf.

To purchase this book, visit your local bookstore or click here: Cowboy and Octopus