Thursday, May 28, 2015

Potential Caldecott Winner 2016

I have a funny picture book on the blog today, just in time for summer - because we all know that laughing in the summer is a requirement of the season.  This book also touches on the relationship between siblings, and now that brothers and sisters are home together a lot more often, this book might be a nice reminder that they really do love each other.

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Title: Wolfie the Bunny

Author: Ame Dyckman

Target: Preschool - Kindergarten

What this book is about: 
When the bunny family comes home to find a baby wolf at their door, Mama and Papa are immediately enchanted with the new family addition.  Their daughter Dot reminds them “He’s Going To Eat Us All Up!” As Wolfie grows more and more attached to Dot (she can’t even use the potty without Wolfie next to her) she still knows trouble is brewing.  However, when it turns out Wolfie is the one in trouble, Dot runs to his defense, because after all, he is her little brother, wolf in bunny clothes or not.  

Why I love this book: 
This book is just charming and clever.  One minute you are thinking how cute Wolfie is and the next you are reminded that indeed, he might have the bunny family for diner.  However, despite Dot’s concerns, this wolf is clearly a vegetarian.  And really, who hasn’t felt that their little brother is another species at one time or another?

I love the illustrations by Zachariah OHora.  The book actually has a European feel, although OHora lives in Pennsilvania and he is not an import.  But his artwork is distinctive, original and possess the same dry humor as the author.

Who this book is for: 
While this book is perfect for a child with a new sibling, the illustration and text are funny and fresh and even kids with no brother or sister in sight will delight in this one.

Final thoughts: 
My favorite line in the book comes when Dot is exasperated from warning her parents about Wolfie and final says “skip it!  I’ve got my eye on you buster!”  Just love her!

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wimpy Kid Alternative

A great new series has just come out for those kids that like novels in the diary format.  This one has the alternating voices of twins Claudia and Reese, so you really have something for both the boys and the girls in this book.

The author is an Emmy nominated screenwriter so he knows dialogue, and this one had me laughing out loud.  I am quite looking forward to the second installment!

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Title: The Tapper Twins Go to War

Author: Geoff Rodkey

Target: Grades 3-7

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Claudia and Reese are twins.  After Reese embarrasses Claudia at school in front of the whole class for allegedly swiping the last pop tart at breakfast, these two are officially at war with one another.  As their feud escalates, they detail how things got so bad with interviews and text messages that enumerate the lengths to which they will go to get back at each other.  Can they ever end this, and is their sibling bond worth it?

Why I love this book: 
Ok, this book was a whole lot of fun from the start, but when it got really good when the feud enters Meta World (think Mindcraft)  Your child will either completely side with Reece and the hours of battles and building that took place for him to establish dominance in the game, or they will empathize with Claudia as she tries to understand how the whole thing works.  I laughed out loud and as I read about them navigating the game from both sides and I could hear my actual children’s voices as they decried the injustices of it all.  Rodkey nails it!

Rodkey has written family comedies for Hollywood films, so he can write quick and snappy prose that keeps kids laughing and the story moving forward.  This book is one big prank war and the alternating voices keep the humor coming.

Who this book is for: 
The book is written as an oral history with pictures and photographs, so this is an easy sell for reluctant readers.  However, any kids who like funny books will enjoy this one.

Final thoughts: 
I loved the inclusion of the befuddled text messages of the parents.  I hope kids don’t actually realize how clueless we really are!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Newbery Contender for 2016

Ok, I have another potential award winner for you!  Seems like they are cropping up all over the place this year.  It is certainly shaping up to be an exciting time in kid's literature.  2015 if overrun with potential winners and historical fiction is seeing a resurgence.  This always makes me so happy.  I love it when kids get a little history lesson with their compelling narrative.  A win/win I like to call it!

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Title: Echo

Author: Pam Munoz Ryan

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about:  
Three sisters are trapped in the woods by a witch’s spell.  Their only hope of escape is a harmonica which must save a life in order for them to be released,  The reader follows the path of the harmonica from Otto, a boy lost in the woods, to Friedrich, a German boy during World War II.  Just as we find Friedrich about to be taken by the Nazis, the harmonica moves to an orphanage in Philidelphia two years later where Mike and his brother are searching for a family.  Just when it seems that they will never find a new home and peril will befall them, the harmonica moves seven years in time to California with a Hispanic girl whose family is looking for a better life.  As the fate of her brother who is fighting in the war is about to be revealed, we learn how this harmonica has changed the lives of all the people it has touched.

Why I love this book: 
This book requires us to be invested in the lives of four characters whose stories are heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.  Each story leaves you on the edge of your seat as a new one begins, only providing resolution in the final few chapters.

I love historical fiction and this one deftly delved into Germany during the war, the US before they were involved in WW II as well as the Japanese internment and the early plight of the Hispanic community in California.  I was wholeheartedly caught up in each story and their beautiful resolution made the journey a satisfying one.

Who this book is for: 
This is a hard one for me.  This book is 587 pages and it looks scary.  However the print inside is large so it reads much faster than it’s girth implies, but I can see kids getting intimidated.  This is one of those books that will require a little intervention to get kids to pick it up but they will be happy they did.  My son is reading it for school literature circles and was quite caught up in the story, so with some encouragement I think kids will take to the story.

Final thoughts:
This one will be talked about come awards season.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Good Summer Read for Girls

I always enjoy books that experiment with new ways of telling stories.  The epistolary novel is one method that when done well is surprisingly effective.  Jennifer Holm used this method in the Middle School series and in this second book by Nance Cavanaugh she has once again brought in a unique way to tell Abigail's story.

The other nice thing about these books is that their format is especially good for readers who may feel overwhelmed by more conventional forms of storytelling.  There are so many diary format novels for boys that it is nice to see a less intimidating way to tell a story that is aimed squarely at the female set.

Don't forget to Follow One Great Book on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or by email so that you won't miss a book made up of lists and letters.  Could my "to do" lists actually be the beginning of a literary career?  Sadly they just aren't that interesting, but I do need to get strawberries on the way home.

Title: Always Abigail

Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Target: Grades 5-7

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Written as a series of lists, letters and short journal entries, this book follows Abigail as she navigates middle school.  Abigail has been dreaming of making the Pom Pom squad with her two best friends.  What she has not been dreaming about is a homeroom with the toughest teacher in school, a schedule where she doesn’t have a single class with her BFFs and a writing partner who is the school outcast.  Can she make it through this year?

Why I love this book:  
I was a huge fan of Cavanaugh first book This Journal Belongs to Ratchet.  I quite enjoy her ability to tell a complete story using unconventional writing methods.  In this case she uses lots of lists and letters.  Girls will enjoy this fun way of story telling.

I liked Abigail quite a bit.  Her reactions felt real as she navigated her guilt over doing what was popular instead of the right thing.  If anything, I felt the ending was too neatly wrapped up.  She does what is right and it all works out well for her in the end … not quite authentic, but a feel good story.  I think most girls will sense it is a bit unrealistic but Abigail is so likable, they will enjoy the story none the less.

Who this book is for: 
Great book for girls who are navigating the transition into middle school.

Final thoughts: 
I always wished I had the great handwriting that is a signature of Abigail in the book.  Darn that French school my parents sent me to.  My writing looks like the chicken scrawl on a prescription pad.

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Funny Book for Kids

Dave Barry was required reading in the Washigton Post when I was straight out of college oh so many years ago.  His weekly column was chock full of funny observations for adults.  However, several years back he also began writing books for kids.  I was thrilled.

While he has written many books that delight, Science Fair remains my son's all time favorite and he still looks back on the book as one of the best.  So, it didn't take him more than a few seconds to sit right down with Barry's latest offering and finish it off almost as quickly as he had begun.  Can I really give greater praise than a boy addicted to video games not looking up once from this book until we rang the bell for diner! (Yes, we still ring a bell!)

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Title: The Worst Class Trip Ever

Author: Dave Barry

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Wyatt is going on the obligatory middle school class trip to Washington DC.  On the plane ride there, he and his friend Matt start to get suspicious when two men seem to be up to no good.  Instead of believing them, the boys get reprimanded by their teacher for disturbing the peace.  As these two thirteen year old boys continue to see a threat everywhere they look, there seems to be only a hand full of kids who realize that perhaps there are some bad guys on the scene.  Thankfully for Wyatt, one of these kids is the girl he has had a crush on forever!

Why I love this book: 
Dave Barry knows funny.  Need I say more?  This book is a comedy of errors with ridiculous bad guys, teenage boys who do stupid teenage boy things, and silliness to the extreme.  Wyatt has the perfect voice as he makes even the absurd sound somewhat reasonable.

There is lots of action in the book with twists and turns in every chapter which will keep kids reading.  Of course, reminiscent of Barry’s earlier works, our bad guys come from one of the “stan” countries, in this case Gadakistan.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who loved Science Fair.  This book will be a can’t put down read for boys who like action and humor.  Any fan of Stuart Gibbs or Dan Gutman’s Genius Files will like this one.

Final thoughts: 
Thankfully my son’s DC trip was nothing like this one!

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Worst Class Trip Ever  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at not cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Soccer Book for Kids

Today I want to remind you that the Fifa Women's World Cup will be played in Canada starting on June 6th.  Soccer is big in our family!  We support the Premier League and Chelsea is our team.  We love watching World Cup and the women most of all.

How great is it that our girls have role models that are strong, competitive, healthy and fierce women?  The US team is exciting to watch, and we will be rooting for them all the way to a World Cup victory!





But of course I must bring this post back to books.  For every World Cup I purchase the official FIFA guide.  It profiles all the teams, provides statistics and gives us bios on the players to watch.  Our guide from last year for the men's teams is read ragged and already the binding is well worn on this years women's guide.  These books help my kids enjoy the games even more and they look back on them to remind themselves of players and games that they really enjoyed.

So if you are a soccer loving family or if you want your family to start loving soccer, consider purchasing these books.  They will get your football loving kids reading up on team analysis, history of the World Cup and key statistics.  Reading can benefit them in many forms, and if you tie it into a sport they love, well you just might win most valuable player!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fun Girl's Chapter Book

The Emily Windsnap series was never one of my favorites, but kids just flocked to these books.  They aren't bad, they are great way to get kids reading, they just didn't do much for me.  Well the author has moved on to a new series and this one I enjoyed more.

The biggest problem with this new series is that suspension of belief that I must make while reading.  Adults are clueless and kids don't confide the most basic things to their parents.  It does make the kids the heroes. which makes these a great read for kids and the action will keep them hooked.  I just have a hard time buying it, but then again I am not the target audience.

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Title: Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins

Author: Liz Kessler

Target: Grade 4-6

Series:  This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Jessica is loosing focus in geography class when all of a sudden parts of her start to disappear.  As she and her best friend try to get to the bottom of this mysterious new development, they find that others have superpowers that they are recently discovering.  Jessica’s mysterious invisibility is tied to scientific research being done for a good cause, but evil threats are trying to get ahold of the research for their own personal gain.  The kids are in a unique position to try and stop the sinister elements as they work to help the research continue.

Why I love this book: 
This book is an engaging new series.  You need to suspend lots of elements of belief, including the fact that these kids would not tell their parents about their new found skills, but if you can do that you are in for a fun ride.  

There is plenty of action and suspense as the kids try and stop the perpetrator.  I liked the kids and their friendships.  The fact that their powers are not outrageous and that they work together is nice.  There are plenty of can’t put down moments to keep kids with book in hand.

Who this book is for:  
Girls who have moved on from The Emily Windsnap series will enjoy this one, since the author is one in the same.  It does lend itself to younger advanced readers since the content is appropriate and the premise is sometimes stretched to where an older reader might not buy everything that is going on.

Final thoughts: 
A lovely lighthearted new book that will keep kids turning the pages.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins?  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book for the Fashionable Kid

I love Project Runway! So when a book came along that has it's main character competing in a show that is basically Project Runway for teens, I was not going to let go by without a read.  Fun story and fabulous illustrations make this a go to book for any teen in your life who is enamored with fashion.

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Title: Chloe by Design: Making the Cut

Author: Margaret Gurevich

Target: Grades 4-8

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:  
Chloe loves to design clothes and when the show Design Diva’s is casting for a teen show, Chloe can’t wait to audition.  But the competition is stiff and her arch rival is also trying to secure a spot.  Between rodeo outfits and toy store inspired clothes, Chloe not only has to stay true to her design aesthetic, but also make each design her own.  Does she have what it takes to win the New York internship?

Why I love this book: 
Ok, two words: Project Runway.  I have watched every season, so I was thrilled to see a story that took the show’s concept and translated it for teens.  It was absolutely entertaining to see what challenges they had to face and how each contestant took their designs in different direction.

The illustrations also elevated the book and were a perfect complement to the story.  We get to see Chloe’s concepts as they evolve and then her final design along with her competitors creations.  Brooke Hagel did a beautiful job making the illustrations feel like a designer had created them and that we were getting a lucky glimpse into the design book of someone extremely talented.

Who this book is for: 
This book is in the YA section, but is perfectly appropriate for tweens.  Any kid who loves clothes will not be able to put this one down.  I will note that the designers are both boys and girls so even fashionable guys should feel at home with this book.  

You thankfully do not need to be an expert seamstress to understand how the contestants took on the design challenges.

Final thoughts: 
While I loved the book, I would have liked to see even more “out there” design challenges for the kids.

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

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sparkling Early Chapter Book

Today is about books that are pretty, glittery and predictable.  I think that as parents we get frustrated when a book is too formulaic, but we need to put our own bias aside.  Part of becoming proficient readers is being able to use clues in the book to predict what will come next.  New readers are just developing this skill, and books that lead them to successfully anticipate what will happen can help them see patterns and indicators in the text.   So bring on the obvious to help your kids be successful readers!

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Title: The Amazing Stardust Friends

Author: Heather Alexander

Target: Grades 1-3

Series: Yes

What this book is about: 
Marlo and her mom are starting a new life with the circus!  There are several girls her age whose families are part of the big show, and the girls have pooled their talents to create an act called the Stardust Girls.  Marlo wants nothing more than to be a Stardust Girl, but she can’t seem to find a talent.  When she fails at all her new friend’s talents she suddenly realizes that the answer was there all along!

Why I love this book: 
This book is part of the new Branches division of Scholastic, which focuses on early chapter books.  I have found the books a bit formulaic but still appealing, and this book fits that bill.  The story and girl camaraderie  are quite predictable, but if you have a daughter who likes to read about friendship, sparkles and cute animals, then this one will not disappoint.

Who this book is for: 
With very prepossessing visuals on every page, this book is great for girls just starting chapter books.  Since the ending is quite inevitable, these books are good for kids working on their ability to predict the story line.

Final thoughts: 
This is one I would have loved as girl - full of beautiful, shimmering fun.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Amazing Stardust Friends #1: Step Into the Spotlight! (A Branches Book)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My TBR Pile

Today I am posting my first video blog!  My To Be Read (TBR) pile is huge and I am so disappointed that I won't be able to get to all the books, but I want you to know they are out there in case one of them is the perfect fit for your child.  Enjoy!



video

Monday, May 4, 2015

Potential Award Winner for Kids

Today I have another potential award winner for you.  This book blew me away.  The subjects this book tackles almost feel too much for a middle grade story but they are handled so deftly that I never felt it was inappropriate for it's readers.  In fact, I had a hard time putting it down and was constantly rooting for the heroine!

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Title: The War that Saved my Life

Author: Kimberly Bradley

Target: Grade 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about: 
Ada is a prisoner in her one room apartment in London.  She was born with a club foot and her mother uses her disability to keep her hidden away from the world.  Her abuse at the hands of her mother is deplorable as she cowers in fear of punishment from the smallest misstep.  When Ada’s brother is sent away to the countryside to escape the bombing of London in WWII, Ada sneaks out to join him and is sent to live with Susan, a woman who would rather not be caring for two young children.  However, behind Susan’s indifference, is a caring woman who grows to love these children, even if they have never learned how to accept unconditional love.  

Why I love this book: 
This book was achingly fabulous.  I say this because at times it is heartbreaking to read about Ada.  She is unable to accept Susan’s generosity, despite needing and wanting acceptance more than anything.  

I could not put this book down.  The whole time the reader is rooting and hoping for Ada, but she continues to sabotage herself and her chances for a better life.  

This book was also an insightful look the children of London during WWII.  I remember reading a book about this period when I was young and I was fascinated about this migration because it involved kids my age.  History as it relates to the kids reading it is far more interesting.

Who this book is for: 
Great for kids who enjoy historical fiction.  While this book deals with some serious issues, it does so in a way that is appropriate for it’s audience, however, kids will have to have a certain maturity to appreciate the bulk of the story.

Final thoughts:
 I think this book will certainly resurface when we start talking Newbery contenders. 

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The War that Saved My Life  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Whimsical Book for Emerging Readers

Today I have a lovely book that reminds me of more innocent times in story telling.  Not that things are out of hand now, but the book simply feels wholesome.  There is something nice about that.

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Title: A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

Authors: Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder

Target: Grades 3-5

Series: This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about: 
Miss Drake is a persnickety and feisty dragon who has recently lost her pet Fluffy to old age.  Fluffy was actually the human Amelia and Amelia has left her entire estate to her niece and Miss Drake in particular to her niece’s daughter Winnie.  Seems as though Winnie is now under the impression that Miss Drake is her pet, while Miss Drake is quite convinced that the situation is reversed.  As Miss Drake trains Winnie in how to deal with the magical ways of dragons, it turns out that some magic gets loose and it is up to Winnie and the dragon to set things right.

Why I love this book: 
This book has an old fashioned quality reminiscent of The Penderwicks or The Doll People.  It is without a doubt a modern interpretation of a more innocent type of story telling.  But do not fear, the book ends in an epic battle so things don’t get boring.

Of course the best part of the story is how both characters believe they are the actual owner and the other is the “pet.”  It is absolutely charming how the authors have shown Miss Drake training Winnie and Winnie’s attempts to get the upper hand with Miss. Drake.  At the start of each chapter is advice on how to care for your companion that relates back to the chapter.

Who this book is for: 
Great book for kids who like fantasy but are not quite ready for the longer more complex texts.  Some fun tongue and cheek humor would make this a great read aloud.

Final thoughts: 
Book cover could be a lot better.  I would never have picked this one up if someone hadn’t alerted me to it.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans  A portion of each purchase will go back to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.