Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Non-Fiction Pick: The Brain Is Kind of a Big Deal

The Brain Is Kind of a Big Deal
by Nick Seluk
Illustrated by the author
Orchard Books
40 pages
ISBN: 9781338167009

Available October 1, 2019

Written and illustrated by New York Times bestselling creator of Heart and Brain, this book is a must have for all learners and those young readers interested in science and biology.

Told through a series of jokes and smart comic bubbles, kids have an accessible story about the most important part of the body. They learn that their brain takes care of all the things their bodies do: including those things they don't have the THINK about like breathing, their hearts beating, and their blood pumping. Seluk sets the heartbeat of learning with smart cover design and back cover which features a poster of the brain's band.

A helpful glossary is included for understanding new vocabulary words. Although targeted for grades 1-3, this picture book is easily adapted into all levels of science and biology classes.

Highly, highly recommended for learning about the brain in an entertaining and fun way! A must-have!

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

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Fantasy Pick: The Oddmire: Changeling (Book One)

The Oddmire: Changeling
by William Ritter
Algonquin
264 pages
ISBN: 9781616208394

Expert storytelling by New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series, Changeling is book one in a new series and it's a hit!

Cole and Tinn are brothers; twins, really. But they're not. One is a changeling left by a goblin who was supposed to spirit away the other boy. Kull was interrupted and the baby goblin changed. Now the boys look like exact twins, and Kull slips away into the night without his prize.

Although Annie knows she gave birth to one son, she raises both boys as twins. She is aware of of the town folk who whisper that she's raising a goblin, but they're her boys and her sons. She loves both of them. Kull keeps a close eye on the boys for years, and now that they're thirteen, he plants a note for them to find. It's a tough job for a goblin to learn human language. Tougher still to learn to write human language, but he does.

The boys find a note that tells them to come to the Wild Wood or all the goblin world will die including the changeling. Both boys are curious and agree to go together since they're brothers. Neither wants to be a goblin, but they don't want their twin to be a goblin either. Their adventure begins on a journey to find their truth.

The antagonists they meet along the way are fantastic creatures and great characters. Ritter writes a solid middle grade fantasy tale that readers will love. Changeling is magical fun!

Highly recommended for all middle grade readers. A MUST READ for fantasy fans.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Picture Book Pick: Don't Call Me Bear!

Don't Call Me Bear!
by Aaron Blabey
Scholastic
2019
32 pages
ISBN: 9781338360028

Warren, the Koala, wants readers to know that koalas are NOT BEARS! He is a marsupial. Those darned tourists get it wrong all the time! Australia doesn't have bears he says, and you should know about its marsupials like kangaroos.

Blabey doesn't disappoint with another cute character (like Pig the Pug) and effective art. Warren is a lovable, angry bear (don't tell him!) Back cover art is genius. A cute way to introduce Australian animals and marsupials.

Back cover in which Warren is NOT having fun! Surrounded by Koala "Bears," he's still telling readers Koalas are NOT BEARS!


Recommended early readers and kids who love animals!


Friday, July 12, 2019

Picture Book Pick: The Squirrels Who Squabbled

The Squirrels Who Squabbled
by Rachel Bright
Illustrations by Jim Field
Scholastic Press
2019
32 pages
ISBN: 9781338538038

Spontaneous Cyril is a fun loving squirrel who lives in the moment, throws caution to the wind, parties like it's 1999, and does nothing to plan for winter. When he realizes he'll go hungry, he chases down the last pinecone he can find. Too bad Plan-Ahead Bruce has his eyes on that same lone pinecone.

It'a a all out race and pinecone war to grab the last one! As they race to beat each other, they struggle in the water and go over a ledge. The art follows them as readers will tilt the book sideways to read on. On the next page four panels of art tell the story of the hard fought race. The book is interactive for the young readers when they have to turn the book and view the art from different angles, and that's why this story is more fun!

When the squirrels break out in giggles, they realize they are having a great time and could be friends, and readers will learn, "The best thing to share is a laugh with your friend."

This playful story comes to life with prose by BRIGHT Rachel Bright and hilarious art by Jim Field. I love the nod to strange character names kids may not have heard before: Cyril and Bruce. Kids will learn at least two new vocabulary words: squabbled and spontaneous which show that young learners can understand and use multi-syllable words in speech.

A true keeper of a story! This is a must-have for every young reader's collection.

Highly recommended early readers pre-K and up.




Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Creepy Pick: Creep

Creep
by Eireann Corrigan
Scholastic Press
2019
304 pages
ISBN: 9781338095081

Available October 1, 2019

Haunting and eerie, an abandoned mansion holds secrets and terror. The last family (the Donahues) who lived there moved away in the middle of the night and no one knows why. When Olivia takes an interest in her new neighbors and becomes friends with Janie, the new girl who lives in the spooky house, a mysterious letter soon appears.

The letter is threatening, and the writer claims to be the sentry of the house, and states no one can live there. If they do, "the ceilings will bleed and the windows will shatter..." Janie and Olivia soon join forces with  Janie's troubled and brooding brother. The three kids set out to solve the mystery: why did the family before them move away, and who is the Sentry and what does he, or it, want?

As the kids navigate interviewing neighbors, they learn the Donahues received menacing letters from the Sentry as well. Could this be the reason they moved? Why does the Sentry want this house?

Creepy enough to interest middle grade and middle school readers. Tame reading for YA fans of horror. Reluctant readers will find this an enjoyable book. This is a Scholastic Book, so you will likely find it on fall's Scholastic Book Fairs.

Recommended grade 5 and up. Scholastic says ages 12 and up, but Creep is tame enough for younger fans.

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