Monday, September 30, 2013

Early Reader Pick: Hiding Phil

Hiding Phil
by Eric Barclay
Illustrated by the author
Scholastic Press
2013
32 pages

Eric Barclay has illustrated four books; this is his first as author and illustrator and he knocks it out of the park!

Three children and their dog find a loveable blue elephant at a bus stop. They ask him to play with them and take him home. Phil and the children jump rope, play on the see-saw, and the kids give Phil a bubble bath in their baby pool (it's a large baby pool, indeed).

It suddenly dawns on the kids--maybe Mom and Dad won't be so happy to see their new LARGE playmate. They try to hide Phil but find out the hard way that it's difficult to hide an elephant. Mom and Dad find Phil and take him back to the bus stop but then give Phil a second chance.

Hiding Phil is cute, clever, and contagious. Young kids will love Phil and the kids' attempts at hiding him. The captivating artwork brings Phil to life and the expressions on the kids' faces tell the story. Even the small dog is perfect on every page.

Highly, highly recommended ages 3-5 and older. This is the perfect bedtime story and one sure to make little ones giggle (okay, and parents, too).

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Austin Teen Book Festival

I'm off to Austin for the Austin Teen Book Fair. More information and a list of authors.

It's huge attracting YA authors from around the country. We plan to see as many YA authors as possible. My daughter and I were able to get media badges and will be able to interview a couple of exciting authors. Then we plan to go on the Austin Duck Adventures. It's a tour that takes visitors all over downtown Austin including the capitol (in the background of the picture above) and the famous music venue, Sixth Street, where more musicians have been discovered that any place (well, almost), then the bus becomes a boat and takes tourists on Lake Austin! More information about the Duck tour

Later, we plan to eat at the world renowned Ruth's Chris Steak House. I've always wanted to eat there but never had the chance before. They are supposed to have the best steaks in the world. I will be the judge of that!

I'll post about the festival and all that was seen and heard upon our return.
Pamela

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Giveaway: Hiding Phil

Hiding Phil
by Eric Barclay
Illustrated by the author
Scholastic Press
2013
32 pages

I have FIVE copies up for grabs!

Playful illustratons match the winsome children and loveable blue elephant Phil. Early readers are sure to giggle at the children's whimsy and ask for you to read Phil's story again and again and again...you get the picture.

For your chance to win a copy, Post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email. Deadline for posts is October 14 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer. Please check your email in the afternoon of October 14.

Books will ship from Texas courtesy of Scholastic. Good luck and start posting!
Pamela

Book Giveaway: Year of the Jungle

Year of the Jungle
by Suzanne Collins
2013


I have FIVE copies of this fantastic memoir from YA author Suzanne Collins. Collins draws from her childhood memories of her father going off to a war. She knows he is in the jungle and that he will return in a year--two abstract concepts to small child.

Anyone who has ever had a parent, sibling, son or daughter in active duty will love this book.

For your chance to win: Post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email. Deadline for posting is October 14 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer. Winners will be notified by email on the 14th; please check your email that afternoon. Books will ship from Texas courtesy Scholastic.

This is a great book; don't miss your chance at winning a copy.
Good luck and start posting!
Pamela

Book Giveaway: BZRK Reloaded

BZRK Reloaded (Book 2)
by Michael Grant
Egmont
2013
432 pages

Available October 8, 2013

I have FIVE copies of the ARC of BZRK Reloaded up for grabs!

Talk about mind-bending! The Armstrong twins have plans to rule the world, but not if Noah and Sadie can help it. Science fiction, mind-blowing action and a thrilling plot will keep teen readers turning the pages. 


Post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is October 14 at noon MST. Check your email on that date after 12:00 noon. Winners will be notified by email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Egmont and Margaret.

Good luck and start posting! Pamela

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Series Pick: Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere

Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere (Book 3)
by Richard Paul Evans
Simon Pulse/Mercury Ink
2013
307 pages

Riveting, rollicking, and rocket paced, the third book in the series will hold readers on the edge of their seats. Michael wakes up in a Peruvian jungle surrounded by stangers. The tribe nurses Michael back to health after his escape from the Elgen. The rest of the Electroclan are nowhere to be found. After destroying the Elgen's Starxsource Plant, they have gone into hiding.

Michael meets another electric teen named Tesla (Tessa). Dr. Hatch kept her as a prisoner for two years. She managed to escape and the Amacarra tribe has kept her hidden in the jungle. The tribe takes the two of them down the river where they meet up with Jaime, Michael's friend in Peru. Jaime warns them that not only is the Elgen after them, the entire Peruvian government is hunting them. They are now considered dangerous terrorists for blowing up the country's electric plant.

Michael plans to find the Electroclan and his mother. He needs Jaime and he needs Tessa's help; she is able to multiply electricity, something that is sure to come in handy in overthrowing the Elgen and rescuing his friends. Meanwhile, the Electroclan are planning their escape from the authorities. Ostin, super rocket scientist geektastic nerdster figures out how to rewire the RESAT machines they are forced to wear.

The teens are on the run from the authorities and the Elgen. Jaime is contacted by the Voice who tells them that the best time to strike the Elgen is when they dock their ships in port. The Ampere is the Elgen's finest "fortress" ship. Evil Dr. Hatch takes over the ship imprisoning the council.

Michael knows that they have to sink that ship. Once again he turns to his friends. Who will join him on his dangerous quest? Who is the Voice and why is he helping them? What does Jaime really know? Where is Michael's mother and why are the Elgen holding her?

Highly, highly recommended for anyone who loves a great adventure. Michael Vey is captivating and fun. Fans of the series will HAVE to have this one, and if you've never read this series, what are you waiting for?

Grade 6-up. Teens acting like 007; what could be better?

FTC Required disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Giveaway: Michael Vey: Battle of the Ampere (book 3)

I have FIVE copies of the third book in the exciting Michael Vey series by Richard Paul Evans up for grabs!!! Battle of the Ampere is thrilling!

More information on Michael Vey

see the thrilling book trailer

For a chance to win, simply post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, city, state and email address. Deadline for posts is Sept. 24 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer and notified on the afternoon of Sept. 24. Please check your email on that date. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Ebony!

Good luck and start posting! Pamela

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Early Reader Pick: Year of the Jungle

Year of the Jungle
by Suzanne Collins
Illustrations by James Proimos
Scholastic Press
2013
40 pages

A New York Times Editors' Choice

“In this picture book, Collins sensitively examines the impact of war on the very young, using her own family history as a template."


--Publishers Weekly,STARRED REVIEW





“With a notable lack of patriotic rhetoric or clich├ęs about bravery and honor, Collins holds firm to her childhood memories, creating a universal story for any child whose life is disrupted by war. Important and necessary ."

--Kirkus Reviews,STARRED REVIEW


“Collins’ unflinching first-person account details the fears and disappointments of the situation as a child would experience them. And where more realistic illustrations would feel overwrought and sentimental, Proimos’s flat, cartoony drawings, with their heavy lines and blocky shapes, are sturdy and sweet, reflecting a child’s clear-eyed innocence."

--Booklist,STARRED REVIEW


“But though post-traumatic stress disorder is often spoken of these days, the more subtle effects of war on the children of men and women serving abroad are less well known. ....While Sue is not able to formulate her feelings in words, James Proimos’s excellent illustrations capture her confusion....'Year of the Jungle” may take place in the late 1960s, but with more than 2.3 million Americans deployed abroad between 2001 and 2012, the mixture of anxiety, excitement, fear, boredom and confusion Sue experiences on the home front will be sadly familiar to many children. For them, Collins’s picture book may be a good tool to discuss the complex feelings war brings into a household ."

--The New York Times



A father goes to war, a child is at home wondering if she will ever see her father again. She knows the jungle is where her favorite cartoon character lives so it can't be that scary. They tell her Viet Nam is where her father is and he is going to be away for one year. The child is unsure how long a year is. Her father sends her postcards from the jungle and photos, too. Christmas comes and her father sends her Vietnamese doll. It's winter and snowing outside when she receives a birthday card, but her birthday isn't until summer. Her mother tells her the card is probably for Joanie, her sister, and that her father is "...busy and just got confused." The child worries that her father makes "...such a serious mistake"--he must be very busy and confused. Television news shows scare her; there are men dying in Viet Nam, and her mother rushes to turn off the t.v. After a long time, the father finally comes home, but he acts a little strange at first.

Like Suzanne Collins, my father fought in the Viet Nam War. In fact, he spent three tours there since he was a real adrenaline junkie. Each time he left, we saw my mom worry. We saw the news every night on television. We wondered why my dad was in the jungle. We wondered when he was coming home. He sent home movies to us. My dad standing by his tent, my dad on a boat traveling up a yellow brown river, monkeys fighting and rice paddies. My dad waving and flexing his muscles with his buddies and everyone smiling. My dad always came home, but thousands of young Americans didn't and their kids were forever scarred. Today, thousands more American children have a parent or sibling on active duty either at home or in a war zone. The impact of Year of the Jungle will be felt by any child who has experienced a loved one in combat.

Illustrations by James Proimos are light-hearted and even whimsical even when depicting a helicopter or tank. The story may be frightning and awful, the main character worried and lost, but the artwork takes the painful story of Viet Nam and makes it tangible even to very young children. When the father returns, the girl says, "...I stand in the doorway watching him. He stares into space. He is here but not here. He is back in the jungle."

Highly, highly recommended for everyone. This book should have a place in every library and on every book shelf. It is an important book and will likely begin conversations about war and military service.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the F & G from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Prince of Denial

The Prince of Denial
by Doug Wilhelm
Long Stride Books
2013
212 pages

Available October 7, 2013 (tentative date from publisher)

Casey is hiding a secret. He's keeping it together for himself and for his dad. If he can run home and clean things up...if he can make dinner and do his chores...if he can get his homework done...if he can go to school on time and keep up his grades...if he can wear a false smile and pretend nothing is wrong...then everyone will believe it, right?

When his best friend Oscar pushes him, Casey gets defensive, claiming he has "stuff to do." Oscar wonders why Casey can't hang out anymore. Why does he always have to rush home?

Casey is beginning to show cracks in his put on fascade. He's getting short tempered. He's yelling at friends. People are beginning to notice. When his aunt Julie asks him to help her, Casey doesn't know what to do. Should he rat out his dad?

The Prince of Denial shows how families can get damaged by substance abuse. One member may be the user, but the use affects the entire family dynamic.

I was surprised there were no hotline phone numbers for alcohol abuse or Al-Anon listed in the back of the book. Teens who are drawn to this story may be searching for answers. It would be helpful to have some links to helpful information sites and hotline numbers.

Recommended grade 8-up. Although Casey is in middle school, his problem/solution is for more mature readers.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Friday, September 6, 2013

Cool Graphic Pick: Dogs of War

Dogs of War
by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox
Graphix
2013
208 pages
full color illustrations

Available November 2013

If you purchase one graphic novel this year, make sure it's Dogs of War! Did you know that dogs have trained and have gone to battle with armies as far back in history as the height of the Roman empire? Navy SEAL team 6 traveled with war dogs, too. Dogs used by the military often carry messages, ammunition and supplies. Because of their incomparable sense of smell, dogs can be used as scouts to sniff out danger like bombs and traps.

Dogs of War tells the stories of three brave dogs. Boots shows bravery in World War I. Loki serves in World War II and Sheba serves in the Vietnam War. Each story is brilliantly brought to life by talented illustrator Nathan Fox.

Reluctant readers will be drawn to this book. Who doesn't love a great dog story?

This graphic novel brings to light the valiant canines who fought alongside American soldiers. In Vietnam alone over 5,000 dogs served as sentries and trackers. Some dogs were trained to signal booby traps. Sadly, very few dogs came home from Vietnam since they were considered "equipment."

Today, there are over 2,700 war dogs helping military forces. These are the heroes who save soldiers lives on a daily basis and they are the true Dogs of War.

Highly, highly recommended for all graphic collections grade 6-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

In Honor of Star Wars Reads Day: Origami Yoda Giveaway: The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett Standee


In celebration of Star Wars Reads Day, October 5, 2013

The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett

I have 10 FREE Jabba the Puppett standees up for grabs! Your library will rock with a giant standee featuring the entire Origami Yoda series!

For your chance to win, simply post a comment and be sure to include your first name, city, state and email address.

Deadline for posts is September 23 at noon MST. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer. Please check your email on September 23 in the afternoon. Winners have only 24 hours to respond to my email. If there is no response, the standee will go to the next post on the list. The giant standees will ship from New York courtesy of Laura and Amulet. Thank you, Laura; thank you, Amulet!

Winners should receive their standee by October 5 to celebrate Star Wars Reads Day!

Good luck and start posting, and as always, May the Folds Be With You!

Pamela

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can You Say Catastrophe? (The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair)

Can You Say Catastrophe?
(The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair)
Darby Creek
2013
160 pages

Available October 2013

Smart, sassy, and sparkling with wit, Can You Say Catastrophe? (The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair)will resonate with readers. April is a normal, socially clunky tween (she's twelve in chapter one) who embarrasses easily and often with the slightest provocation. She thinks her nose is oddly shaped and her "booty" is too small and non-existent. Her sisters embarrass her, her father embarrasses her, April even embarrasses herself every time she opens her mouth. She trips over her words and says the wrong things when she talks to "hot" boys. April's best friends Billy and Brynn are her constant companions and she's lucky to have them.

Life is getting stranger and stranger this year. Suddenly, there's a special electricity between April and Billy. They've been friends forever, but now something has changed. When Billy touches April, she suddenly notices. Hot new neighbor Matt has April thinking of love, too.

April makes a terrible mistake when babysitting her sisters, and her parents lay down the law. No more summer camp! April is horrified! Imagine spending the summer with your parents and little sisters cooped up in an antiquated RV rolling down the highway while your friends are having a blast at camp--WITHOUT you! April has a meltdown and acts like a spoiled brat but her parents don't give in. It's family vacation time.

Once they get rolling and seeing the sights, April realizes that vacations with her family aren't all bad. There are fireworks and amusement parks, boat rides and playing in the ocean, hotels (after the clunker RV dies), and family fun. April can't change her situation, but she does change her attitude--for the better.

Girls (and boys) will relate with April--she is the quintessential thirteen year old on the brink of puberty. She questions her body image, guys' body image, why guys act the way they do and other issues that tweens commonly wonder about.

Recommended grade 6-up. A couple of kisses, April worries over her mismatched breasts--one being larger than the other, and her non-booty.

FTC Required disclaimer: I received the arc from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)


Book Giveaway: Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker (Dork Diaries, book 6)

Tales From a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker
by Rachel Renee Russell

I have FIVE free copies of this fab new Dork Diaries tale. Girls will want this one! Win your FREE copy. Simply post a comment to the blog and please include your first name, city, state, and email address. Winners will be chosen randomly by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 16 at noon MST. Winners will be notified by me on that date shortly after noon. Please check you email. Winners have 24 hours to contact me. Books will ship from New York courtesy of Simon & Schuster and Ebony.
Thank you Simon & Schuster and Ebony!

Good luck and start posting!
Pamela

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fantasy Pick: Rose

Rose
by Holly Webb
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
2013
272 pages

Available September 3, 2013

Imaginative, clever, and beguiling, Rose is that one book that tweens and teens will remember. Rose is an eleven year old orphan--or maybe she's twelve--she doesn't know her true age. She was left at St. Bridget's Home for Abandoned Girls where she's spent the last nine years. It isn't a bad orphanage, if you can get past the rules and the chores and the not so great food. Maisie, Rose's friend at the orphanage, spends idle hours with Rose pretending to be daughters of royalty.

A lady arrives at the orphanage and chooses Rose to work as a house servant for Mr. Fountain, a well-known alchemist (magician). Rose is happy to have her own room and FOUR dresses to wear. The girls at the orphanage would think it grand to have their own room and wardrobe. Mr. Fountain's house is huge and fascinatingly magical. Rose notices weird happenings right away. She is uncertain how she is able to talk to Gustavus, Mr. Fountain's cat, but she likes him. Freddie is a little jealous that Rose can do magic, but they become good friends.

When children begin to disappear, it's up to Rose to solve the mystery and return the children before they die. Freddie, Isabella, Gustavus and Rose hatch a plan to catch the kidnapper, but they fall into a trap. Will the team be able to rescue themselves and the others? Will Mr. Fountain be able to save them in time?


Rose is smart, quick, clever, and intuitive. Readers will love the magic that is Mr. Fountain's house and the talking cat, Gustavus. The beautiful, captivating cover art is sure to draw young readers in. The cover sells this book, but the writing will keep readers turning the pages.

Highly recommended grade 4-up.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)