Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Review: Unearthly Things

Unearthly Things
by Michelle Gagnon

Read what I think of Unearthly Things! 

see my School Library Journal published review here 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Picture Book Pick: Egg

Egg
by Kevin Henkes
Illustrations by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow Books
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9780062408723

This seamless, striking and sensory picture book by master Kevin Henkes is sure to please young readers. This is one  book that MUST be read ALOUD.

There are four eggs: One pink, one blue, one yellow and one green. The first three hatch and little birds enter the world and fly away. The birds come back to visit the green egg. They examine it, wander around it, listen to it, peck at it and surprise! It's an alligator that emerges the green egg. The birds are excited and rejoice at their new friend, but he cannot fly with them. They realize that they will have to stay earthbound for him. They climb up on his back and go for a ride.

What seems simple in a children's book is the hardest thing to pull off. How do you make a lasting impression with so few words? It is something Henkes should be lauded for.

The perfect book for teaching about eggs and the fact that not only birds lay them! This is one book that I know will be Audrey-approved! (Audrey is my 20 month old niece) To be Audrey approved is strong praise indeed!

Highly, highly recommended for every young reader and all collections. A MUST HAVE.

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



YA Review: No Good Deed

No Good Deed
by Goldy Moldavsky
Scholastic
2017
352 pages
ISBN: 9780545867511

Available May 30, 2017

No Good Deed is set up around a promising premise. Young activists are chosen by billionaire entrepreneur/do good-er Robert Drill (who is a caricature of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates) to  attend a teen summer camp/activism competition. Gregor Maravilla is excited to get an invitation to attend  his idol's camp. He dreams of winning the internship to work alongside Robert Drill, his long time hero.

Sarcasm and zingers abound but most of the characters never come to life. No Good Deed satirises  activism's flaws and the p.c. fishbowl that we live in.  Gregor keeps getting called "white" and insists he is half-Mexican although no one believes him. Half the humor comes from Gregor trying to direct his inner thoughts to be p.c. He has to keep apologizing to himself for even his own thought process.

Every camper is competing for his/her own cause--the more far-fetched, the funnier. At least that's how the book is supposed to read. The kids are so checked out and into themselves that they don't bother knowing anyone else's real name. They refer to each other by their specific cause. There's I Like Paint, Feed the Children, Men's Rights, Seat Belt Safety, and Diabetes.

Gregor is not excited that teen movie star Ashley Woodhouse is at the camp. Her campaign is Eat Dirt which she insists is a real thing. Eating dirt would save the planet according to Ashley and end world-wide hunger. Gregor keeps trying to avoid Ashley, yet everywhere he turns, she pops up.

Moldavsky's debut Kill the Boy Band is a tough act to follow. Goldy Moldavsky is still funny, but her humor is contagious when her protagonists are female and flawed. In No Good Deed, Gregor never engages as the central force of this novel.

Grade 9 and up. Some humor and funny moments, but this one falls short.

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

Friday, May 12, 2017

Picture Book Pick: Big and Little Are Best Friends

Big and Little Are Best Friends
by Michael Garland
Illustrations by the author
Orchard Books
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9780545870979

Big and Little Are Best Friends is a sweet story about friends who like different things yet still get along and love each other. Polar opposites attract in this tale of friendship. Rhyming lines like, "Little's books are scary./Big's books are sweet./ Big likes to nibble./Little likes to eat" with captivating illustrations make this an entertaining and MUST read aloud.

In fact, Big and Little are so opposite, they sometimes do fight, "..But they always make up,/ And it's always all right." The classic pairing of a mouse and an elephant is perfect for Big and Little. Although it's been done before, it has never been done with this exhurberance!

Young readers will see that friends can get mad, but that they do forgive and stay friends.

This one is a sure winner. Michael Garland's illustrations are full of soul! Big comes alive in the pages with his lifelike eyes and facial expressions. He is a joy to behold! Who knew a picture book elephant could be so real? Kids are certain to respond to him.

Highly, highly recommended for young readers and to teach values of friendship, acceptance, and forgiveness.

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

Thursday, May 11, 2017

YA Book Giveaway: Here Lies Daniel Tate WIN Your Copy Before You Can Buy It!

WIN This NOW 
I have FIVE FREE copies of this new YA thriller! For your chance to win, post a comment to the blog. Include your first name, city, state and email contact. DEADLINE for posting is Thursday, May 24 at NOON MST. I will contact winners by email on May 23 in the afternoon. Please check your email that day. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York. Good luck and start posting! 

Here Lies Daniel Tate
by Cristin Terrill
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
2017
400 pages
ISBN: 978148148076

On sale date: June 6, 2017

Here Lies Daniel Tate is an amazing whodunit for the YA crowd. A nameless narrator bad boy from Canada takes over the identity of a missing boy from California who disappeared from his upscale neighborhood years ago.

This is a solid book ripe for movie adaptation. Clever cover art and the word "lies" in another print color emphasize that "lies" can be used in two ways. The marketing team gets kudos! 

Highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature content. Profanity.

Early Reader Pick: Bently & egg

Bently & egg
by William Joyce
Illustrations by the author
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Reissue edition)
original copyright 1992 (Harper Collins)
2017
(The World of William Joyce series)
32 pages
ISBN: 9781481489492


Bently & egg is a story that should, no, MUST be shared with every young reader. It is that good!

A singing frog is asked by his best friend Kack Kack to egg sit so she can go to visit her sister who just had her own ducklings. Bently is not thrilled to watch an egg but agrees. He thinks the egg is silly and is so bored watching it until he paints it making it a piece of art. A boy comes to the garden and snatches the egg away thinking that the Easter Bunny must have left it. Bently is beside himself! He must get that egg back. It is his best friend's child and he promised to guard the egg with his life.

Bently is afraid of the house, but enters anyway in order to save the egg. Through a series of mishaps, Bently ends up outside atop a woman's Easter bonnet with his egg intact. He and the egg sneak away disguised as appetizers.

When Bentley returns to the  pond he sleeps and wakes up to a baby boy duckling. Kack Kack has returned and thanks Bently for his heroism in protecting her baby. It seems a gnat, a goldfish, a butterfly, a stuffed elephant, and a rabbit told Kack Kack of Bently's fierce courage and devotion. Bently closes the book with a song.

Beautiful illustrations capture Bently and his antics. Mother duck radiates from the pages. It is no wonder that this book has stood the test of time. This one is a true keeper.

Highly, highly recommended for all young readers. Recommended as an Easter story or an anytime story.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

YA Pick: Here Lies Daniel Tate

Here Lies Daniel Tate
by Cristin Terrill
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
2017
400 pages
ISBN: 978148148076

On sale date: June 6, 2017

Here Lies Daniel Tate is an amazing whodunit for the YA crowd. A nameless narrator bad boy from Canada takes over the identity of a missing boy who disappeared from his upscale neighborhood years ago.

When Daniel Tate went missing, his wealthy family is distraught and searches for him. Sadly, he is not found. Years pass. A boy in Canada is taken in by authorities. He is Daniel Tate. What has happened to Daniel all those years he was missing? The Tate family is thrilled and rush the teen home. With their wealth, he clears international borders easily.

Daniel is quiet and a bit strange to everyone. The family gives hims space. He has been through an ordeal. It's understandable that he is shy and reserved. Maybe his captors tortured him. Or worse.

But someone knows the truth. That is because someone killed the real  Daniel Tate. This new boy, whoever he is, is in danger. This family has secrets. Secrets that if exposed will change everyone's lives. Someone is the killer, but everyone seems to want the new boy to really  BE Daniel. Daniel needs to find out who he can trust and fast!

This is a solid book ripe for movie adaptation. Clever cover art and the word "lies" in another print color emphasize that "lies" can be used in two ways. The marketing team gets kudos! 

Highly recommended grade 9-up. Mature content. Profanity.

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


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Everything Star Wars--May the 4th Be With You!

 Yoda
                                                    Everything Star Wars Is HERE 

                                                       May the 4th Be With You!

                                                                ABC News Story 

                                            Learn the Code with Star Wars! Code.org

                                                                  @StarWarsDay

                                                                @StarWarsinClass

Grab your light saber and join us for the fun! Join in on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Picture Perfect Pick: Back To School With Bigfoot

Back To School With Bigfoot
by Samantha Berger and Martha Brockenbrough
Illustrated by Dave Presser
Arthur A. Levine Books
40 pages (page count from Amazon)
ISBN: 9780545859738

Available June 27, 2017

. Back to school is tough for anyone, but can you imagine if you were Bigfoot?

Quirky illustrations will win readers over including a favorite on the first spread depicting a young student coming unglued over a pile of texts including the titles: Learning Is Hard, Hard Math, Impossible Math, Vague Geography, and Grammar Ain't Easy.

Bigfoot is worried about school. Shopping for clothes and shoes is impossible for someone his size. He decides school is overrated and he'll just stay home, but he will miss his teacher, Miss Sierra Nevada! And his friends. He thinks about all the fun he will miss with his friends and even dreams of becoming the Valebigtorian of the class! Bigfoot happily agrees to go back to school where he can meet his friends and have fun.

Bigfoot is an affable character smiling on each page. He is lovable and winsome and every reader will want to meet him.

This little charmer would be a great read for a child who is afraid of going to school for the first time or to a new school.

Highly recommended for young readers.

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

Monday, May 1, 2017

Picture Book Pick: Pig the Pug


Pig the Winner
by Aaron Blabey
Scholastic Press
2017
32 pages
ISBN: 9781338136388

Available June 27, 2017

Pig is a pugnacious pug! He has to be the first in everything, the best at everything, the winner of everything! He will even cheat if he has to. Trevor shares the household with this bellicose blob of dog. Dachshund Trevor takes the back seat and plays fair. He even lets Pig win just to keep the household happy.

When Pig doesn't win, he cries so much that everyone gives in to him. A mishap while overeating and acting like a ....well....pig....makes Pig value Trevor's friendship and affection. Pig is a changed pug!

Young readers may recognize some of Pig's behaviors and cheer Trevor on. Illustrations are sure to make readers smile, Pig is likely to become one of childhood's greatest characters. He is a cheat and a blowhard, but he's a lovable cheating blowhard.

Highly, highly recommended. This Pig has heart!

Young readers.

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