Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Why EBooks Will Never Be as Good as “Real” Books

Before I begin, I have a confession to make.  I am technologically illiterate.  I say this because I want to expose my weakness … ebooks intimidate me.  In the past, when confronted with the question of whether I read e-books, I told friends and acquaintances that I shied away from them because as a kid’s book reviewer, not as many kid’s books are available to me in this format.  While this is partially true, the climate is changing and in fact I can get many new books sooner if I am willing to read them on my electronic device.
So I had to face my fear and  jump into the trend.  I began to download my reading list. What I found was a mixed bag.  As I became more skilled at using my multiple e-readers I expected my satisfaction to grow, my actual physical mountains of books to whittle down to mere molehills, and my eye site to improve as I enlarged text at will.  

However, my longing for “real” paper bound books only grew and I found myself eschewing the e-versions in favor of waiting for the hard copies.  I began to reread ebooks to be sure of my reactions.  My reading experience was not quite the same when I couldn’t easily flip between pages and I wanted my reaction to a book to be based on the content and not the format it came in.  Not quite the grand conversion I expected.

So why didn’t I love this new trend?  I mean I’m a lover of mother earth.  I bring my own bags to grocery stores and ebooks certainly save our vital tree resources.  I am fond of oxygen after all.  However, there were more communal things that I found myself missing.

Ebooks are not a shared reading experience.  I can’t count the number of conversations I have with friends and strangers, about a book I am carrying around.  Whether they want my take on the book because they considered giving it to their child, or they have read it and want to discuss their love or disgust with the story, a physical book encourages discussion with very little effort.  Strangers can take on the role of instant book club member and friends can open up about ways that a book touched them, encouraging us to get to know each other better.  I missed that.

I have also found this is true with children.  A little tribe of book readers emerge when one child gets intrigued with the book her friend is carrying around and the next thing you know it circulates throughout the group of friends and encourages conversations in the class.

Not seeing what my children are reading means I am missing where they are developmentally.   Don’t underestimate how kid’s book choices reflect the stages they are going through.  With physical books I can see when they are rereading their comfort books.  Sometimes that means nothing more than they liked the book but it can also mean they need to regroup for a while before they make a developmental leap forward.  I also love talking with them about books they love or hate.  I learn a lot about their tastes and interests.

I can easily see when my kids are not finishing books.  When a book stays in the same spot for too long and I have dusted around it or the bookmark doesn’t move it means that a genre may not interest them any longer or that perhaps they have stepped up the difficulty level too high and need to take a step back.  When they are overtaxed at school, the comic books start showing up around their bed.  With an e-reader it is way too easy to miss these signs and not see how their reading is progressing.

I  never really know if people around me are reading a book or doing something else on their device.  Now I know you can get devices that simply have books, but most of us use the devices we already have.  When my husband is on his ipad is he modeling reading for the kids or is he checking the latest scores of the baseball game?  Are my kids really reading that book or are they playing with the latest app?  

Oh, and of course I am not immune to the other diversions these devices have to offer.  If a book gets a little slow, it’s tempting to just play one level of Candy Crush, which then turns into two levels and then the book is long forgotten.

Screen time is already maximized in our house.  Frankly time on the computer is a constant battle.  It is a source of conflict as the kids try and maximize their allotted time to one hundred tenths of a second in a way that would make the Olympic timekeepers proud. As their parent I  am trying to remind them that grass and sunlight are not evil.  We are not vampires after all.  Anything that gets my kids to stop looking at a screen is a plus in my book.  Sometimes I actually get physically disgusted to see them with another gadget in their hands, but a book, well that brings tears of joy to my eyes.

E-readers are expensive.  E-readers or tablets cost a lot to replace, and physical books in comparison are a mere pittance.  I like to bring books with me everywhere.  Caught in line at the grocery store, pull out a book.   Stuck in the pickup lane at school, pull out a book.  You get the idea.  Throwing a book in my bag takes little effort or thought.  If I leave my book in the pocket of the airplane, am I unhappy? Sure, but it is not the end of the world.  I am never worried that if I leave my book on the passenger seat of the car that someone will break in to get it (unless of course they have an irrational desire to read Charlotte’s Web at that exact moment.)  My iPad on the other hand is one broken window away from a new owner.  I am free to read at will with a paper book because the device itself is not limiting by being expensive or fragile.

The studies are starting to show that readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper.  As the studies trickle in, two fundamental things are becoming clear.  First, readers using a Kindle were significantly worse than paperback readers at recalling events that happened in a story.  Researches in a new Europe-wide study also found that Kindle readers had a trouble with the timing of events.  This last one doesn’t surprise in the least.  Kids use their physical place in a book to mark events in a story and understand when plot devices will be used to wrap up a narrative.  Without those visual cues, they have a hard time remembering the order of the plot.

In the end, while stories themselves are individual experiences, their relevance and understanding grows as we share them with others.  Having a conversation about a book creates a sense of community.  You both experienced the same event and while your reactions may be different, your desire to analyze it is the same.  Physical books allow us to more easily create these connections in a world that is becoming less and less composed of face to face interactions and more and more digitized.  I am unwilling to loose these opportunities to connect.  While ebooks will remain a part of the way I digest books, they certainly will be the exception and not the rule.  The tactile experience of a book is not something I am not willing to give up so easily.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Heart Pounding Book for Kids

When asked what book to give reluctant boy readers, I always fall back on Peak.  This book has so much to draw kids in: action, climbing, excitement, thrills at every turn.  I have yet to give it to a kid who hasn't loved it.

So I was so excited when I saw Roland Smith had created another adventure for our main character Peak.  He has done it again with a book that leaves you breathless and turning pages as a particularly fast clip. I wouldn't mind more books about Peak Mr. Roland, if you are so inclined.

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Title: The Edge

Author: Roland Smith

Target: Grade 6 and up

Series: This is a companion book to Peak

What this book is about: 
Fifteen year old Peak has come back from climbing Everest and is happy to be home.  But when his film crew from Everest shows up to tell him he has been selected as the U.S. representative for a Peace Climb to take place with young climbers around the world, Peak is anxious to get going.  His climbing location is Afghanistan and the trip quickly becomes a nightmare when some in his party are murdered and the rest captured by an unknown enemy.  Peak has eluded the kidnapers and now goes after them because his mother is one of the hostages.  

Why I love this book: 
Everyone in my family are huge fans of Smith’s first book Peak!  I literately had to negotiate my way to this sequel with my middle son so that I could read it first.  (Yes, there were a few extra hours of Doda exchanged and some resentful looks!)  Smith has done it again with an edge of your seat thriller that your kids will not be able to put down.  For the record, when my son did get the book we had to negotiate when he would put it away because he literately didn’t want to stop reading.

There are some issues with this story that make it not quite as strong as Peak.  The secondary characters are not well developed and the consequences and emotional fallout from the murder of the hostages is glossed over, but your kids probably won’t notice these.  They will be too caught up in the heart pounding action and engaging protagonist Peak to notice anything but the compelling narrative.

Who this book is for: 
This is a great book for kids who like action and adventure.  As with Peak, it is a wonderful way to draw in reluctant boy readers because of the climbing sequences and nerve pounding exploits.  While kids do not have to have read the first book to enjoy this one, the ending of Peak is revealed in this story so don't spoil the experience if you are planning to read the first book.

Final thoughts: 
I dare a kid to say books are boring after reading this story!

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

Friday, October 23, 2015

Funny Early Chapter Book

Who doesn't love a good rodent story?  Well, usually I am not one for hamsters, but in the hands of Ursula Vernon, even I can appreciate these little furry friends.  Her clever humor makes even the most useless house pet a star.

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Title: Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible

Author: Ursula Vernon

Target: Grades 2-5

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Along the lines of Sleeping Beauty, Harriet is cursed by an wicked fairy at her christening and is condemned to prick herself of a hamster wheel when she turns twelve and then she will die.  Unlike Sleeping Beauty, Harriet realizes that since this curse is strong, she is essentially invincible until then!  Bring on the Ogres and the cliff diving.  There is nothing she won’t do in the name of courage and adventure.  But all that excitement means she is anything but a typical princess, so when she turns twelve, nothing quite goes as planned!

Why I love this book: 
Ursula Vernon rocked the Dragonbreath series, so I was expecting good things.  Her dry wit means these books are exceptionally funny, but always in a clever way.  Hamster Princess did not disappoint.

Despite the pink and sparkly cover, Harriet is anything but a girly representation of a typical princess.  In fact, in this story, her strength far outweighs that of any of the princes in the book.  She is stubborn, strong and willful, probably more representative of the princesses living in your house!

Who this book is for: 
Big type and plenty of pictures make this book great for kids who are strong readers of early chapter books.  However, at 247 pages, your children need to have some early chapter book experience under their belts.  This is not a transition book from early readers.  

Your kids also have to like a more sophisticated type of humor.  There are no cheap laughs here (and don’t get me wrong, I love cheap laughs.)  They have to like their characters served up with a little sarcasm to really enjoy this one.

Final thoughts:
 I wish “Princess” had not been in the title.  Kids tend to shy away from these books as childish and reminiscent of Disney Princesses - and this book definitely does not fit in that category!

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chapter Book for Emerging Readers

Today I have a nice book for struggling readers who want to move from early readers to chapter books.  Make no mistake about it.  Sometimes the girth of a book is more important than the actual story.  Kids get frustrated when they are still toting around the thin early reader books and their friends are on to chapter books.  The book I am profiling today has many of the elements of an early reader such as minimal text and plenty of pictures, but it also has chapters and substance, giving it some playground street cred.

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Title: Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking

Author: Cyndi Marko

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 2

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
Gordon Blue is a typical second grade chicken until an accident at his Uncle’s lab turns him into Kung Pow Chicken.  He now  tingles when danger is near, flaps his wings like the wind and crows louder than the other chickens.  On a trip to the Fall Festival Gordon notices chickens loosing their feathers.  Naked chickens are filling the streets.  It is up to Kung Pow Chicken to find out what the evil Granny Goosebump is hatching and stop her.

Why I love this book:  
This book is a nice transition from early readers to early chapter books. Pictures dominate and speech bubbles hold text.  The Branches division of Scholastic has done a nice job with creating lots of titles to satisfy emerging readers and while the quality varies, this one is a nice addition.

This book was actually quite a bit tamer than I expected.  Gordon and his brother are nice kids and all the action and language is very age appropriate but still fun. I mean their weapons are drumsticks, knitting needles and yarn and who doesn’t love a great exclamatory “zoing!” when the bad guy gets cornered.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who are still struggling a bit with reading but want to move on to chapter books.  

Final thoughts: 
All the egg jokes just “cracked” me up!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Kung Pow Chicken #1: Let's Get Cracking! (A Branches Book)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Norse Gods Have Their Day

I typically don't review books that are well known.  You come to this blog to find new stories that will encourage your kids to read, and giving you a list of bestsellers isn't introducing you or your children to something you didn't already know about.

However, today I am making an exception.  Yes, I am reviewing the new novel by Rick Riordan.  The reason - it is based on Norse Mythology!  Can I say that again?   Norse Mythology!  Since I am Norwegian, and my name comes from the Goddess of Love and Beauty I have been well versed in this subject matter since I was young.  What a treat to see it get the attention it deserves.  Oh, those Roman and Greek Gods have had their day.  It is time to step aside and let their brethren from the North come down and show them how it is done.

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Title: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

Author: Rick Riordan

Target: Grade 5-9

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
Magnus Chase lost his mother two years ago and has never known his father.  He is living on the streets.  When he discovers that a long lost Uncle is looking for him, he is wary.  His mother always told him to steer clear of this family relative.  But his Uncle Randolf finds him and starts telling him that he is the son of a Norse God and that he must claim  his birthright, a sword that will keep the world from doomsday.  He wants to believe that his Uncle is nuts, but it all rings too true.  The next thing he knows he is falling to his death after a battle with the Lord of the Fire Giants, but really this is just the beginning.

Why I love this book: 
Norse mythology …. finally!  I grew up on this stuff so what a delight to see it weaved into a funny and heart pounding story.  Of course any book that has a chapter called “Freya is Pretty!” is already ten steps ahead in my book.

Since I already had a knowledge base of Norse mythology, all the different worlds and gods were a little easier to follow.  I think that someone new to this information will have to refer back to the glossary for the first half of the book until the names and narratives sink in, but Riordan repeats quite a bit to give first timers a chance to catch up.

This book is just as funny, sarcastic and at times irreverent as the Percy Jackson series, so fans will not be disappointed.  The action is nonstop so it is a fun ride.

Who this book is for: 
It follows the same story arch as Percy Jackson, so fans of that series will enjoy this one as well.

Final thoughts: 
If your kids read this book and get interested in Norse Mythology, I highly recommend D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths .  This is the book I grew up with and you can see my dog eared copy published in 1967!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fun Historical Fiction for Kids

Confession time!  I loved this book because it reminded me of the books I enjoyed reading as a preteen.  While I was very academic at school, in my free time I loved the idea of going back to another period of time, and if I happened to meet a cute boy along the way, all the better!

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Title: Colonial Madness

Author: Jo Whittemore

Target: Grade 4-7

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Tori’s dad is dead and her mom is trying to make ends meet with her dress shop.  When Tori’s great aunt dies, she leaves a big estate behind, and the recipient is the family member who can survive two weeks living as they did in colonial times, when the manner was constructed.  Tori and her mom give the contest a shot, but living without modern conveniences is not as easy as it sounds.  Between the hunting and gathering, the candle making, and the use of corn cob toilet paper, they will have to rely on all their resources to make it through and beat the other family members.  Oh, and did I mention the smell!

Why I love this book: 
Ok, this book is preteen cotton candy, but the best, most fun cotton candy.  One very redeeming quality to the story was that kids will learn about life in colonial times, without even realizing it!  There are plenty of historically accurate details that are well integrated into the story line.

I thought the mother/daughter scenes were well done.  It was nice to see a mother and daughter who generally got along and liked each other, with just the right amount of conflict thrown in. Because let’s face it, no mother daughter relationship is seamless.  

Some innocent romance along with a competition make this book ideal for the age group.

Who this book is for: 
Great for girls who are looking for a fun beach type read.

Final thoughts: 
Just the kind of book I would have loved in between required reading at school when I was a kid.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Must Read for First Grade Kids

I love a funny picture book.  But even more, I love a funny picture book if it has a valuable lesson attached to it.  Today I have a book that delivers giggles and a wonderful message.  So often our kids see their mistakes as the center of everything, when in reality they are often the only ones who really notice.  This book is a lovely reminder that we are all a bit self absorbed and that we can laugh at even the most embarrassing situations.

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Title: First Grade Dropout

Author: Audrey Vernick

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 2

What this book is about: 
When our main character has an embarrassing thing happen at school, all he wants to do is drop out, invent a time machine, or cast a unsay spell.  All he can think about is how the kids laughed at him.  When he gets to soccer practice he is ready for a storm of ridicule, but to his surprise, instead his friend Tyler makes a gaffe.  As he tries hard not to laugh, he realizes that perhaps not everyone is quite as obsessed with his mistake as he is.  Also, laughing at your own mistakes is part of accepting that you won’t always get things right.

Why I love this book: 
This book is funny in such a bright way.  The timing of the story is perfect as a read aloud and kids will laugh at both the story and with a knowing understanding of the times they messed up.

I love that the book doesn’t diminish the utter embarrassment our main character feels, but it also shows kids that they too have laughed at others foibles and that they can laugh at themselves.  It is a wonderful lesson wrapped up in a engaging and humorous read.

Who this book is for: 
This should be required reading for first grade teachers to their class!

Final thoughts: 
This clever and  funny story has a wonderful way of showing kids that even  the most embarrassing situation shall pass.

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

Monday, October 12, 2015

On This Anniversary

I am coming upon my four year blogging milestone!  It has been four years since I decided to take my passion for kid's literature and turn it into something that I hope has been meaningful and helpful to parents looking for great books for their kids.

Thank you for reading this blog!  Reading is the core education skill that sets a child up for success in all academic areas, including Math!  It is also a lifelong gift that will enrich your child's imagination, help them work through problems and allow them to dream bigger than what they see around them.  

It is isn't often that the fun things in life are also good for you!

In honor of the big day I thought I would share my top five posts from the last year.  Thank you for making them so successful!

Coming in at #5

Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? by Liz Kessler

Taking the #4 spot

The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan

At #3 in the middle of the pack

Teddy Mars: Almost a World Record Breaker by Molly Burnham

The almost (but not quite) winning book coming in at #2

Echo by Paul Munoz Ryan

And drum roll please .... at #1

The Walk On by John Feinstein

It is an interesting assortment of books and not what I would have expected.  It does tell me that  I need to add more sports books to my repertoire.  Thankfully I really enjoy these books so expect more as the next year goes on.

Thank you again for your support .... and Happy Reading!


Friday, October 9, 2015

Coding for Kids

STEM labs and coding classes have become quite the thing in education.  Parents continue to look for ways to help their children become successful in this new era of technology.

So it is not a surprise that books that teach coding are becoming more common.  What is less common is when these book are works of fiction, and even more unusual is when they are written by one of the most celebrated graphic novelists in recent years.  Astonished?  I certainly was, but pleased too.  When creativity and imagination come together to teach coding, pretty cool things can happen.

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Title: Secret Coders

Author: Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

Target: Grades 3-6

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:  
Hopper is new to Stately Academy.  She and her mom moved after her father left them.  She is having a hard time fitting in until Eni befriends her.  They have both noticed that the birds around school are acting odd around certain numbers, and they can control the birds’ behavior by showing them certain digits.  This leads them to the mysterious robot turtle that they can get to create shapes as they figure out how to introduce new commands.  But something bigger is afoot, and they are only beginning to understand what is going on.  

Why I love this book: 
The book works because at it’s heart it is about finding friends and fitting in, but weaved seamlessly throughout is the introduction to coding.

My daughter who is not at all interested in coding, whipped through this story in one night. Gene Luen Yang is a wonderful story teller and he has avoided the trap all too common in “instructional” stories of letting the lessons get in the way of a good narrative.  This is one of the best examples of the coding expertly integrated into the story line.

Kids will learn computer fundamentals such a binary code, as well as get some early instruction to Logo language.  There is a website set up where kids can actually program their turtle to make shapes.  A nice introduction to the process.  You can find the website here:

Who this book is for: 
Great for any kids who need an introduction to coding.  The story will reel them in and they will learn something in spite of themselves!

Final thoughts: 
I am very interested to see where the next book goes.  Will it introduce different programing languages or terminology?  We shall see.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Princes Diaries for the Younger Set

Who wouldn't love to wake up one day and find out they are actually the princess of a small, wealthy country?  Well in the book I am profiling today, that is exactly what happens.  If the plot sounds familiar (think Princess Diaries) you are correct.  Meg Cabot has taken her wildly successful franchise and adapted the books and story line for a younger audience.  These are amusing books that will entertain your kids and satisfy their royal desires!

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Title: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Author: Meg Cabot

Target: Grades 3-5

Series: First book in a planned series

What this book is about:  
Olivia lives with her extended family since her mother died.  Her father is always traveling for work, so they communicate regularly through letters, but they never have the chance to see each other.  Olivia considers herself completely average, until one day she discovers her father is actually the King of Genovia and that she is, by default, a princess.  Her mother always wanted Olivia’s life to be normal, so she insisted her Aunt keep it a secret.  What will happen now that the secret is out?

Why I love this book:
I have not read Cabot’s series The Princess Diaries, although I have seen the movies.  This new series is aimed at delivering that story line to a younger audience.  This book isn’t going to win any awards, but it is a fun story.  What girl wouldn’t want to go from regular middle school kid to the Princess of Genovia!  A girl can dream.

Nice touch that Olivia is biracial and her best friend is of Indian descent.  I like to see the diversity of heritages that are a better mirror of society.   The book also touches on the fact that being a Princess is not all fun and games, a theme that I imagine will be developed further in future books.

Who this book is for: 
Great girl book for kids like fantasy and realistic fiction.  The book has larger print and pictures scattered throughout, so it is a good choice for girls making the leap to more substantial chapter books.

Final thoughts: 
Cute new series that represents a nice break from some of the more substantial fiction kids will be reading for school.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, October 5, 2015

History Made Thrilling for Kids

Today I am profiling a book about the Vietnam War that just blew me away.  I was born during this war so it was going on when I was a toddler.  When I reached high school, it was still too current to make it into our history books and it was too far back to make it into our study of present day events. It is an absolute gap in my knowledge base, but no longer.  Sheinkin has created a historical thriller that takes us back through four Presidents.  If you thought this information would be laborious, boring or difficult, think again!  This is one book you won't put down.

My mother always told me that if you really wanted to understand something, read the kid's version.  In this case it is all too true.  I would not only encourage your kids to read this story but the adults as well.  It will not only open your eyes to a time in history but it will also prove a fascinating point of discussion for you and your kids.

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Title: Most Dangerous

Author: Steve Sheinkin

Target: Grades 6 and up

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Daniel Ellsberg worked at the Pentagon and was instrumental in running analysis on Vietnam.  He believed strongly in the need for the US to stop the spread of communism.  However, as the fighting escalated and more Americans and Vietnamese kept dying, he started to question the decisions that were being made.  When he gained access to the Pentagon Papers, a secret government report which detailed the lies that were being told to the American people, he suddenly had the means to expose what was going on.  But did Ellsberg have the right to expose top secret government information?

Why I love this book: 
I have always enjoyed Sheinkin’s books.  Bomb was an eye opening account of the race to develop nuclear weapons and the book won numerous awards.  Most Dangerous is absolutely on par with Bomb and I actually liked it more.

Vietnam is overlooked in our educational system.  I have a son in 11th grade and one in 8th grade, and neither one has yet to learn about this war.  However, the ramifications of both the power of government and our right to know vs. our government’s need to keep some things secret are issues that are absolutely relevant to us today.  Sheinkin makes the link with Snowden in the Epilogue and kids will see history repeating itself.

Sheinkin does an amazing job of educating the reader on the history of the region and the US involvement over four Presidents, all while creating a climactic and edge of your seat story.  There were sections where I couldn’t put the book down. 

Who this book is for: 
This book is heavy on information so you have to have a kid who is interested in the story or the history.  If it is something they are open to reading, this book is a real treat.  It is history written as a compelling espionage thriller.

Final thoughts: 
If I have one criticism of the book, it is that Sheinkin is obviously bias towards releasing secret documents as he feels that American’s have the right to know.  However, there is a real question over whether any one person has the right to make that decision.  While Ellsberg certainly agonized over the decision, I wish that Sheinkin had given more weight to the side which opposes the release of any secret documents.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, October 2, 2015

This Book Will Have Your Kids Giggling

I thought I would end this early chapter book week on a classic of sorts.  This book has been around a while, but there is a reason it never goes out of style.  Roddy Doyle has written an extremely funny story that will have you and your child giggling without restraint.  Now how fabulous is that?

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Title: The Giggler Treatment

Author: Roddy Doyle

Target: Kindergarten - Grade 3

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Gigglers are small creatures who exact revenge on adults who have been mean to children by putting dog poo in their path.  When the Gigglers see Mr. Mack being unkind to his sons they set their revenge in motion.  But it turns out that they left the scene too soon and that Mr. Mack actually doesn’t deserve it!  Now the race is on to stop the unsuspecting Mr. Mack from stepping in a steaming pile of the stuff.  Can he be saved?

Why I love this book: 
This book had me laughing out loud in a restaurant the other day.  It is absolutely that funny.  When my son came home one day telling me that his librarian had been reading this one and that it was soooo funny, I knew I had to put it on my list.  I just didn’t know it would take me years to get to it.  What a shame for me!

Let’s face it, poo is funny.  If you don’t think poo can be funny, you really shouldn’t have had children.  But I will give you that it has to be done well, and Roddy Doyle is a poo master.

What Doyle does so well in this book is to draw out the anticipation of the impeding foot landing in the large mess inducing mountain of excrement.  Chapters are interrupted with background information, the Gigglers cut in with their countdown to when his shoe will hit the stuff and of course the race to save him means a shortcut which is anything but.  In fact, I think the whole story takes place over a ten second period of time, but boy is that a funny and exciting ten seconds!

Who this book is for: 
Fabulous read aloud or great for kids who have moved up from early readers.  But they have to enjoy laughing!

Final thoughts: 
Please go out and read this one with your kids.  You will be their hero.

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

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Zeke Meeks for Throwback Thursday

As I continue Early Chapter Book Week, I thought I would honor Throw Back Thursday and post one of my favorite chapter books from years past.   Zeke Meeks is one of those lovely finds that gets kids to see the humor and fun in books.  I hope your kids enjoy Zeke as much as my family has.

Don't forget to like One Great Book on Facebook or Twitter for more early chapter books that will get your kids chuckling, and isn't that just the best?

Title:       Zeke Meeks vs. the Horrifying TV-Turnoff Week

Author:   D. L. Green

Target:    Grades 1-3

Series:     Yes

What this book is about: 
In this particular episode, Zeke is forced to endure a week of no TV,  computer or electronic games for his school’s “Turn Off Week.”  While the premise is not new and of course we find that the kids have a positive experience playing outside and going to museums, Zeke is absolutely perfect as a kid who has to “endure” the loss of his favorite forms of entertainment.

Why I love this book:
Right now this series is one of my absolute favorites for early readers.  I dare any kid not to love Zeke, ok I will even double dog dare you.  Yep, I’m feeling confident.  Zeke behaves like a real kid, with his favorite mantra for the week being “I’m bored.” 

His little sister is absolutely perfect in her charm and annoyance.  The songs she sings non stop from the Princess Sing Along show are positively giggle inducing.  I mean what kid can resist “Don’t walk outside in your bare feet, la la la.  There could be dog doo in the street, la la la.”  I have to admit that my daughter and I laughed at every one.

Who this book is for: 
Any kid who likes to laugh.  These are as close to a guaranteed hit as I can give you.  Type is large and pictures are liberally scattered throughout, although not on every page.

Final thoughts:
I hope Zeke gets more love in the early chapter book category.  These stories are clever, true to life and absolute hilarious.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Zeke Meeks vs the Horrifying TV-Turnoff Week  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.