Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sports Books for Kids

I have decided to pursue a sports theme this week.  Perhaps it is because I am feeling guilty that I did all girl books last week.  Perhaps it is because my son is in the middle of tennis season and I am hoping that he will decide to work hard on his sport because he loves it and not because his parents force him to play.  Too much information?

Well whatever the reason, this week it is all sports all the time.  From baseball to soccer to a book that covers every sport a guy could want, let the reading begin!

You can also check out more sports books I have reviewed at the following links: The Best Baseball Books Your Kids Haven't Read, and Balls, Bats and Boys.

Title:          Guys Read The Sports Pages

Edited By: Jon Scieszka

Target:       Grades 5-8

Series:        Yes, there are other topics in the Guys Read series including Humor and Thrills.

What this book is about:
This book is a set of ten short stories written by a variety of authors.  The overlying theme of each essay is sports.  The sports profiled include baseball, football, track, hockey, and basketball.

Why I love this book:
First off I love the format of ten short stories.  I think it provides a great reading experience for boys.  Many times older boys are reluctant readers or they don’t have the time to devote to a full novel.  The smaller stories mean that they can pick the book up and finish a narrative in one day, or if they don’t like one of the stories, they can just skip it.

I also enjoy so many of the authors who are featured.  Dan Gutman is a favorite of mine, and his story was the first and probably my favorite of the ten.  It focuses on the crazy rituals fans have in baseball.  One of the stories is an interview with hockey player Dustin Brown.  Hearing his journey to the NHL was really eye opening.  He talked about his failures, his hard work and what it took to make it as a professional hockey player.

I have to admit that not all the stories are created equal.  A few in the middle didn’t resonate for me.  The story of James Brown’s college recruiting will probably not be a page turner for most kids.  The track and field piece was a bit underdeveloped and the abuse suffered by the boy in the Meat Grinder story was a little dark, but other than that, most of the pieces were funny and thought provoking.

Who this book is for:
This book is intended and written for boys, and I think it does a good job of providing a variety of reading experiences for them in one book.

Final thoughts:
The US Department of Education reading tests for the last 30 years show boys scoring worse than girls in every age group, every year - so bringing home books that encourage our boys to read is so important.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Guys Read: The Sports Pages  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Plunked

Author:   Michael Northrop

Target:    Grades 4-6

Series:     No

What this book is about:
Jack loves baseball, it is what defines him.  When he wins the coveted starting position in left field in his last year in the Little League Majors, he knows this will be a great season.  However, a routine at bat leads to Jack being hit in the face by a wild pitch.  With his confidence shaken, he is not longer worried about keeping his starting position, but about whether or not he should be playing baseball at all.

Why I love this book:
I really liked Jack.  His voice felt real.  My son got hit in the hand by a pitch several years ago, and I remember how we had to build his confidence back, so this story especially rang true for me.  Northrop sneaks some humor into the book as well.  While I wouldn’t call it laugh out loud funny, there were parts that certainly put a smile on my face, and places were the book did not take itself too seriously!  A good thing. 

I think for boys, Jack’s confidence and concerns will ring true and that the book will speak to them.

Who this book is for:
You do have to know a little about baseball to get the most out of this book, but for boys who like sports, this book will be a good fit.

Final thoughts:
The mental aspect of sports can be just as important, if not more, than the physical game.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Plunked  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Beyond Lucky

Author:   Sarah Aronson

Target:    Grades 5-8

Series:      No

What this book is about:
Ari Fish loves soccer.  Ari Fish is extremely superstitious.  When he finds a Wayne Timco soccer card, the greatest soccer goalie to come out of Ari’s home town, he knows that luck is on his side.  Still, problems with his best friend, having a girl join their soccer team and figuring out the true value of teamwork are at the heart of this book.

Why I love this book:
Alert, the first chapter is not so good, but once you get past that, this book absolutely sucks you in so stick with it!  By the fourth chapter I did not want to put the book down.  Ari is such a likable character who works hard, doubts himself and struggles with doing the right thing.  I was totally caught up in the soccer games and the mystery left me guessing until the end.  

Who this book is for:
The soccer games were well written, so I would recommend it for kids who play, they will be able to relate to the game situations.  However, it is easy to get caught up in the story, and many of the issues of being on a team are relevant no matter what sport your child plays.

Final thoughts:
It’s a keeper (a little soccer humor for you goalies out there!)

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Beyond Lucky  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Friday, April 26, 2013

International Stories for Picture Book Friday

This week for Picture Book Friday, I am going international!  Your children are never too young to introduce them to other cultures - their stories and traditions.

The first book I am profiling came from a search request I got from a Muslim mother.  She was asking me about books that would help kids understand the Muslim culture.  The second was a request from a boy of Indian heritage at a book fair, who was looking for stories that fit into his culture.  He didn't express it that way, he was only six, but he wanted a book of Indian stories and so the hunt was on!

I thought that these parent and chidren's requests probably represent a larger need for books that give kids a more global perspective.  So I hope you and your kids enjoy these stories.  As the years go on I would love to see books that blur the line between a good story and an international outlook!

Title:       Golden Domes and Silver Laterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

Author:    Hena Kahn

Target:     Preschool - Kindergarten

What this book is about:
At its most basic, this book is about colors.  However, this book encompasses so much more.  It is also a primer on Muslim culture, encompassing traditions and definitions of important items that are apart of daily and religious life.  Children learn about the white kufi, round hats worn by Muslim men and boys and the yellow box holding the zakat, money donated to those in need.

Why I love this book:
First off, the illustrations are gorgeous.  They are colorful and bold and will immediately hold a child’s attention.  I also simply loved learning about elements of the Muslim culture and children will be informed in a beautiful and creative way. 

This book is a lovely introduction to the basics of what may be a new religion to some children, and for those who are Muslim it presents the cultural elements in a visually stimulating way.  

Who this book is for:
Great way to introduce the concept of other religions to young children, but it is also a lovely book of colors at heart.

Final thoughts:
This book may well inspire questions about other world religions and expend your child’s view.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       The Elephant’s Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India

Author:   Marcia Williams

Target:    Grades 2-5

What this book is about:
This book is a retelling of eight indian folktales in a graphic novel format.  Of course each story espouses a virtue such as “greed doesn’t pay” and “wisdom can overcome physical strength.”

Why I love this book:
Sometimes books of folktales can get a little preachy and highbrow, but this book does not suffer that fate.  The graphic novel format actually helps move the stories along at a good pace and the author interjects humorous sidebars to make the stories even more engaging.  

This is a good book to give kids exposure to fables and those lessons that transcend cultures.

Who this book is for:
Most kids should enjoy the book given the colorful illustrations and easy to read format.

Final thoughts:
I love exposing kids to the stories from other cultures.  It simply broadens their world view.  Also, many of the stories have similar counterparts in our own culture, which shows kids that even though we may take different paths, we all end up in the same place!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Elephant's Friend and Other Tales from Ancient India  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fun Books for Tween Girls

Every once in a while I need to do a girl post.  I hate to stereotype books, because I truly believe that a good story is a good story that either sex can enjoy.  However, there are just some books that exude a girl vibe.  They touch on general female quirks and sensibilities, and they really won't be enjoyed that much by a majority of the male population.

I had a friend ask me the other day if I liked reading "girl" books more than "boy" books and I thought it was an interesting question.  When I was a tween, the books I am profiling today would have been at the top of my list.  These books spoke to all my fantasies and aspirations.  But now, not so much.  I love a great adventure, I have fallen in love with sports books for sports I will never play and I have even grown to appreciate a good sci fi story.

So I guess the moral of the story is that while the books profiled today may strike a cord in the tween girl, they are only part of a repetoire of books she will enjoy over the coming years.  Let her indulge for now and know that while these books are not award winners, they are strong stories with girls who have heart and a point of view.

Title:       Commercial Breaks: Famous for Thirty Seconds

Author:   P. G. Kain

Target:    Grades 4-7

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Brittany Rush has been making commercials since she was still in diapers.  However, when her mother scores an overseas assignment in Hong Kong for a year, Brittany has to leave all that behind.  Upon her return she thinks she can pick up right where she left off, but instead of still being the “it” girl, she is now just one of many pretty faces.  Can she discover what makes her special, and when she does, will that change everything?

Why I love this book:
Ok, lets not beat around the bush, this book is not winning any Newbery awards, but this story is one I would have devoured when I was in middle school.  It is surprisingly well written for the tween genre and it also gives quite a realistic view of what it is like to be in commercials, rejection and all. 

The cover really gives the impression that it is a bubble gum novel, which is a shame, because while not deep and thought provoking, it has enough substance and is engaging enough that I though it was a worthwhile read, and I do not suffer idiot books lightly.

Who this book is for:
Great for tween girls who like the idea of modeling or acting.  This is not a sugar coated version of the industry, despite what the cover would imply.  Nothing inappropriate, all good clean fun.

Final thoughts:
This book totally appealed to my inner tween girl!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Famous for Thirty Seconds (Commercial Breaks)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Heist Society

Author:   Ally Carter

Target:    Grades 5-7

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Kat comes from a family of criminals, high end art thieving criminals.  She has been helping with heists since she was three years old.  When she tries to leave that life and live like a normal teenager, she is pulled in again when a ruthless criminal threatens her father.  Can she and a band of young thieving prodigies steal painting from one of the most well protected museums in the world, and get her father off the hook?

Why I love this book:
Ok, lets be clear.  This book is not highbrow literature, but it is a fun ride.  Kat and her friends plot to pull off an Ocean’s Eleven type heist, and fool all the grown ups around them.  What is not to love.

There is the hint of romance, but it doesn’t dominate the book, and the fun in the story is seeing how they pull off the crime of the century.

Who this book is for:
Great girl book for those who also enjoy some exciting plot twists.

Final thoughts:
Just the book I would have loved when I was young.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Heist Society  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       My Life in Pink and Green

Author:    Lisa Greenwald

Target:     Grades 4-7

Series:     The second book was just released

What this book is about:
Lucy’s family has owned the Old Mill Pharmacy for generations.  However, with the rise of superstores, their small family pharmacy is on the brink of going out of business.  Lucy tries to help by offering skin and makeup tips, but her best idea comes after she joins the Earth Club at school.  Will it be enough to for them to keep their home and business?

Why I love this book:
Ok, lets say right up front that this is a fun girly book.  Lucy is a lovely, optimistic girl with the patience of a saint.  She is full of heart and trying as best she can to save her family business, taping into her entrepreneurial spirit.  

I loved the message that one person really can make a difference and the book incorporated some great messages about going green, something many tweens are focused on.  The advice on makeup was also one parents will appreciate, as Lucy tells girls that makeup should always be natural and simply enhance what they already have.  The skin and beauty tips at the start of every chapter was also a fun touch.

Who this book is for:
Great tween book for girls who like girly stories.  Nothing objectionable and a fun read.

Final thoughts:
This story was very well done for girls who like this genre.

To purchase this book, click on the  following link to connect to Amazon: My Life in Pink & Green  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Picture Books that Teach Math Skills

While I don't believe that the goal of a picture book is to teach math, some of the best picture books incorporate math concepts and terms into stories that help reinforce these ideas and show kids that math really can be used on a daily basis.  When the story is good, kids don't even realize how much they are absorbing.

For Picture Book Friday I have selected a few picture books that help kids appreciate the power of numbers.  Great stories that teach math, well that adds up to great fun (ok, perhaps I took the pun a little to far ... it's been a long day, please forgive!)

Title:       One Grain of Rice

Author:   Demi

Target:    Kindergarten and up

What this book is about:
This is a mathematical folktale about a raja in India who stored rice for his subjects.  When famine came, he was unwilling to share what he had stored, so a very clever girl, Rani, came up with a plan.  After doing a good deed for the raja, he lets her choose her reward.  She asks for one grain of rice .... to be doubled every day for thirty days.  The raja thinks the girl is a fool, but thirty days later, his storehouses are bare and Rani has accumulated over a billion grains of rice!

Why I love this book:
This book is a visual treat to show kids the power of doubling.  Every child I read this book to thinks like the raja at the beginning of the story, that the grains will amount to nothing, and by the end their mouths are hanging open.  Of course their next comment is always “if you give me a penny today and double it every day for thirty days....”   Some of the more ambitious kids ask for a dollar!

Who this book is for:
I think all kids will get excited about the power of math after reading this book.

Final thoughts:
Let’s see, if you visit my blog today and double your visits every day ....  A girl can dream!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Zero the Hero

Author:   Joan Holub

Target:    Kindergarten and up

What this book is about:
Zero feels about as bad as a number that doesn’t count for anything can.  Addition and subtraction don’t need him and he can’t divide.  To amount to anything he has to stand to the right of a number.  However, when he discovers the power he holds in multiplication, to make the other numbers disappear, they run from him, afraid of his strength.  It is not until the numbers get held hostage by the Roman numerals that zero can use his powers for good and be the hero he always knew himself to be!

Why I love this book:
This book is just filled with math concepts to challenge kids and it is presented in such a humorous way.  The illustrations are almost like a comic book, with each character having a mouth bubble and interjecting their thoughts into the story, and these are incredibly clever thoughts.

The author’s goal was to create a great story that also subtly teaches math concepts.  She has even managed to cleverly get in even/odd numbers, rounding and place holding, without ever taking away from the fun of the story!

Who this book is for:
This is not a preschool picture book.  The humor is a little too sophisticated for such a young age and the math concepts presented, such as multiplication, division and Roman numerals are for an older audience.

Final thoughts:
I can think of 100 reasons to read this book, so I will dedicate my enjoyment to the number zero!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Zero the Hero  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Kids Book Series That Keep Getting Better

This week I am focusing on round two, the second installment in a book series.  So often I fall in love with a new story, only to be dissapointed with the next segment in the narrative.  But not this week.  Three stories that I loved from the start now have new extensions to their stories and they are good, so good in fact that a few I like better than the originals!

The Quick Fix I profiled a few weeks ago, but it seemed so appropriate for this post I decided to post it again in case you missed it.  So please take a look at these wonderful series.  I can say without hesitation that if your kids like the first book, they'll love the second!

Title:       The Candy Shop War: Arcade Catastrophe 

Author:   Brandon Mull

Target:    Grades 5-8

Series:     Yes. The first book is The Candy Shop War.

What this book is about:
In this sequel to The Candy Shop War, friends Nate, Summer, Trevor and Pigeon are thrust again into magical mayhem.  This time a wizard is using the games at Arcadeland to recruit kids to become part of his private clubs.  They earn stamps that allow them to fly, swim indefinitely, run at great speed or be almost invincible.  These clubs then compete to acquire certain objects that will help the wizard gain more power.  Can our friends infiltrate these clubs and stop the wizard from obtaining magic that will allow him to control the world?

Why I love this book:
I have to say that while I enjoyed the first book, I did think that the second book was even better.  In the first book, the kids are wrestling with some fairly difficult moral choices, which made it dark at times.  In the second book, their actions are less morally weighted, and Mull provides a lot of non stop action.

I also quite liked the arcade theme.  The kids working towards prizes, and the teams competing was very relatable and fun so I think kids will definitely be turned on by the premise.  The magic was also used very effectively to move the story forward.

Who this book is for:
This book is 426 pages, which is quite a lot of story.  Kids have to be able to digest a book that size, which is why I have targeted it to an older audience.  I would also recommend reading The Candy Shop Wars first, but you could get away with not reading them in order.

Final thoughts:
The first book was originally intended as a stand alone, but I am so pleased that Brandon Mull didn’t stop there.  It even feels as though he has kept the door open for a third installment, so I will be patiently waiting ..... ok, maybe not so patiently!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Candy Shop War, Book 2: Arcade Catastrophe  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       The Runaway King

Author:   Jennifer A. Nielsen

Target:    Grades 4-8

Series:     Yes, this is the second book in a trilogy which began with The False Prince

What this book is about:
Well we find Jaron/Sage is now on the throne of Carthya, but things are not going well.  In the first chapter there is already an assassination attempt on his life, as he realizes that strong forces from beyond are trying to take down his kingdom.  He must face the pirates who are set on invading, but the only way to get close to them is to leave the throne and take on his old identity, Sage.  No ones leaves the pirates alive, so Sage will either have to convince them to stop this war or die trying.

Why I love this book:
Nielsen has done it again.  An edge of your seat adventure that had me wondering at every turn how Jaron/Sage would get out of this one.  I worried that in a second installment the action would in fact, stall.  But this second book still had me riveted.  I will say that some of the twists seemed a bit contrived, but it is such a fun story that I could easily overlook that.

As always, Jaron/Sage is such a wonderfully written character.  I will say again that he reminds me of a teenage Hans Solo, full of confidence, swagger and just the right amount of intelligent sarcasm.  He must be a wonderful character to write because his words and actions truly make this book a winner.

Who this book is for:
Great for kids who like action, adventure and some brash but intelligent humor!

Final thoughts:
Oh, Jennifer Nielsen, why must you make us wait a whole year to find out the fate of Jaron/Sage and Carthya?  You are an evil woman.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Runaway King: Book 2 of the Ascendance Trilogy  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       The Quick Fix

Author:   Jack D. Ferraiolo

Target:    Grades 5-8

Series:     Yes. The first book is The Big Splash.

What this book is about:
The book is a sequel to Ferraiolo’s first book, The Big Splash.  We are taken back to Franklin Middle School, otherwise known as “the Frank.”  Matt, our resident detective and good guy is still dealing with Vinny Biggs, who runs the dirty dealings at the school: access to hall passes, test answers, and contraband sweets.  When Matt takes the case of a lovely blond cheerleader who is concerned when her boyfriend asks her to hold a piece of wood - no question asked, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. 

Why I love this book:
Ferraiolo has done it again.  His books embody the old time detective with swagger and a heart of gold who helps the dame in trouble, but our detective is in for more than he bargained for.  Ferraiolo manages to accomplish this mood while keeping the subject matter fresh and current.  A great combination.  

I actually enjoyed the sequel more than  the original book, because the original story had some moments when kids were actually being quite unkind to each other, and it made me feel uncomfortable.  However, rest assured, the message in these books is always positive, where looking out for the underdog and doing the right thing is the best course of action.

Who this book is for:
While you don’t have to read the first book, it does help because many of the original characters resurface in The Quick Fix, and you will enjoy the story more if you understand their history in the narrative.  This book will be a fun ride for most kids.

Final thoughts:
The dialogue is sharp and funny, with all the retorts I wish I could think of spur of the moment.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Quick Fix (Big Splash)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Friday, April 12, 2013

If I Built a House

Picture Book Friday has rolled around again and I have a fun one this week.

Things have been quiet and a little boring here at the Hooper house as my kids have been home for spring break, and we appear to be the only family within a ten mile radius who has not gone on a trip to celebrate this said break.  Tumble weeds are blowing through town, the bagel shop is empty and I didn't even have to wait to order my Starbucks coffee yesterday.

But I'm not jelous, oh no!  I hold no grudges toward the other families basking in the Hawaiian sunshine, spring skiing on the slopes of Tahoe or frolicking at Disneyland.  I wish them only the best, because that is just the kind of gal I am.  Ok, are you buying this yet, because even I am starting to get nauseous.

However, leave it to me to hold down the fort and provide you with great book choices, no matter where your vacation may have taken you!

Title:       If I Built a House

Author:   Chris Van Dusen

Target:    Preschool - Grade 3

What this book is about:
Jack is imagining his dream house, and what a house it will be!  Trampolines embedded in the floor, a racetrack room and of course a giant slide.  Just about anything a kid could envision is artfully included in this home.

Why I love this book:
First off I love the artwork by Chris Van Dusen.  It is retro with an absolutely modern feel which makes all the home features come alive.  This book absolutely spurs a child’s imagination as they envision the kind of things they would include in their own fantasy house!  Of course, Van Dusen’s first book If I Built a Car has been a favorite in our home for years, and this book just keeps the fun going.

Who this book is for:
Any child with a wonderful imagination.

Final thoughts:
My favorite feature, the Scrub-a-Dub-Dub conveyor belt that moves you along while washing you clean.  Just think how much faster bedtime would be!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: If I Built a House  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wonderful Books to Read Aloud to Kids

My daughter and I have been on a read aloud marathon lately.  Crazy schedules, sports, and travel got us off our nightly read aloud "dates" but recently we picked back up right were we left off and it has been so much fun.  Reading aloud to my kids is one of those things that I have to force myself to do, especially when I look at the pile of dishes to be done, and the mounds of stuff (I was going to say crap) to be put away.  However, right after I finish reading, I always wonder why I put it off.  I end up getting so much enjoyment from it.

So it seemed fitting to share some books we have loved recently.   I would also encourage you to read to all your kids.  My older ones will stop to listen and then settle in to hear the whole story and they enjoy it as much as the youngest.  There is really no age limit to reading aloud to kids, because don't we all enjoy just sitting back and letting someone do the work for us, and when it's a story, all the better.

Reading aloud to kids:   Gets them to associate reading with pleasure
                                             Builds stronger vocabularies
                                             Gives them knowledge

So what are you waiting for .... get out there and read them a book!

Title:       Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan

Author:   R. A. Spratt

Target:    Grades 3 - 5

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
Nanny Piggins is back for her second set of adventures!  For those unfamiliar with this chocolate cake loving bovine, she is the nanny for the three Green children.  Her willingness to work for 10 cents a day and her previous experience being shot out of cannons for the circus, make her the obvious choice to take care of young children.  In this book Nanny Piggins must: stop Mr. Green from remarrying so that he can simply replace her, dig a hole to China, take on the duties of Headmistress for a day and stop an unruly Gypsy wedding.  So is the life a gorgeous pig.

Why I love this book:
Nanny Piggins is everything a child wants in a nanny, but nothing a parent does.  Well, that is not quite true.  What redeems Nanny Piggins every time is her unflinching love of her wards, which every parent wishes for their child.  

Why play tag outside when it is so much more fun in the house?  Chocolate cake is the cure for anything that ails you! School really needn’t be five days a week.  These are just some of the tenets which Nanny Piggins lives by and I dare you to find a child that will not delight in these stories.

Who this book is for:
I have placed the beginning target age at third grade for independent reading, but I started reading these books aloud to my daughter in second grade and she loved them.  They do make wonderful read alouds.  Also, while you don’t have to have read the first book to enjoy this one, I think you will enjoy the stories more if you have read the first in the series, The Adventures of Nanny Piggins.

Final thoughts:
Human nannies are so overrated!

To purchase this book, click here to connect to Amazon: Nanny Piggins and The Wicked Plan  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Wolf Story

Author:   William McCleery

Target:    Grades 1-4

Series:     No

What this book is about:
This book is about a story, told at night and during outings, by a father to his son Michael and Michael’s friend Stefan.  Oh, and there’s a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow and a farmer’s son named Jimmy Tractorwheel.  And did I mention that Michael’s father is inventing this story as he goes along and that Michael and Stefan are quite demanding about how the story should proceed.

Why I love this book:
This book is a reprint of a 1947 “underground” classic.  It is absolutely charming and every child and parent can see themselves in this engaging tale.  An exasperated father who is trying to tell a story at bedtime, children who love to hear their father’s story but are very opinionated when the story does not go the way they intend and a very foolish wolf who gets pulled in every direction to satisfy the whims of the listeners.

Who this book is for:
I can’t imagine a child not loving to hear this story read aloud.  My daughter was skeptical when I brought it in at bedtime the first night, but after just one chapter she was hooked and begged each night for more chapters.

Final thoughts: 
Overall this book is so relatable to both parents and kids that it easily overcomes some of the parts that are a bit dated, a problem suffered by many other “classic" tales.  This is a wonderful book that both parents and kids can enjoy!

To purchase this book, click here to connect to Amazon: Wolf Story (New York Review Collections)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Title:       Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days

Author:   Stephen Manes

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     There is a sequel: Make Four Million Dollars by Next Thursday

What this book is about:
When Milo gets hit in the head at the library by a falling book, he takes notice.  This particular book is written by Dr. Silverfish, and it’s impressive title, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days, is just too good to pass up.  Milo follows the instructions, word for word.  Does it work?  Do you think you could do it?

Why I love this book:
Fun and funny book.  Day one is probably the funniest and my third and eighth grader were both laughing out loud.  Let’s just say that every time I asked if they wanted one more chapter, the chorus was a resounding “yes!”

The book does have a lovely message which I think parents will appreciate.  Also the chapters are just the perfect length with just the right amount of suspense so that kids won’t be able to wait for the next night.  

Who this book is for:
Great for elementary and middle school kids who like to laugh. 

Final thoughts:
The copy I got from the library had the most horribly dated illustrations.  No child will ever pick this one up on their own, but once you start reading it, they won’t want you to stop. 

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days!  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sleep Like a Tiger for Picture Book Friday

Today I thought I would profile a going to bed book.  This book won a Caldecott honor award this year, and when it was announced, I have to admit, I had never heard of the book.  At first I feared it would be too cutesy or sentimental for me.  I must admit that I like my picture books with a little humor and some edge.  However, this book really surprised me.  The humor is intelligent and the story is smart.  Of course, no going to bed book can quite compete with the all time classic, Dr Seuss's Sleep Book , but well done Caldecott committee, well done!

Title:       Sleep Like a Tiger

Author:   Mary Logue

Target:    Preschool - Kindergarten

Caldecott Honor Book

What this book is about:
This book is about a little girl who does not want to go to sleep.  Her parents acknowledge that she is not tired, but ask her to simply put on her pajamas, then brush her teeth.  After she lays in bed, they talk about all the animals who sleep, but the girl says she is still not tired.  Her parents agree with her and tell her she can stay awake all night long if she wishes, but then lo and behold, she drifts off.

Why I love this book:
This story is just clever.  I love the parents who simply agree with the little girl’s assessment of the situation while preparing her for bed!  There are some lovely funny moments and the book ties together nicely by bringing back all the animal references at the end, wrapped up neatly and put to bed.

The artwork in the book is beautiful, but I think it may be more appealing to adults.  However, that said, I think it works quite nicely with the story and is charming in a way I don’t usually find with mixed media artwork.  

Who this book is for:
Wonderful bedtime book for all kids.

Final thoughts:
This book has just enough clever humor to keep it from being too cutesy!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Sleep Like a Tiger  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog.