Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Monday, December 21, 2020
by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Illustrations by Stacy Ebert
A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
If you know a young person who wants to be a writer, this book is a MUST HAVE! If I were still teaching creative writing, I would make each student own a copy of this amazing, informative and FUN book about writing. While geared for grades 4-8, anyone who wants to be a writer or learn about writing will love this book. Unlike adult writing books, Dowell's book breaks the art of writing down to where it's understandable and fun. Her captivating sense of humor is echoed in the illustrations by Ebert.
Every writer wanna-be needs to realize that rough drafts are just that: rough and EDITING is a must. Rewrites and re-do will happen again and again. It's part of the process. Writing takes time, effort and PRACTICE!
Every story needs a character, the character needs a problem (if there's no problem, you have no story), there has to be some sort of resolution, whether it's good or bad. Also, your story needs the have some background but start with ACTION. Your protagonist needs to have something happen right away. There will be sticks and stones in the protagonist's way, but if there's a MONSTER (you'll have to read the book, to figure out what this means, wink), it makes your story much more interesting and the stakes are heightened.
There are brainstorming activities, "the big take home," and "let's write" for students, teachers, writers, everyone! I've read many craft books, but How To Build a Story...Or, the Big What If is by far the most fun. It's adorable!
So highly recommended, YOU NEED THIS BOOK NOW! Teachers of writing, YOU NEED THIS BOOK NOW! Writers, YOU NEED THIS BOOK NOW!
Saturday, December 19, 2020
by Laura Ellen Anderson
Illustrations by the author
Penguin Random House LLC
A young girl rebels when her mother shushes her because her baby brother is sleeping. "Stairs are for stomping..." the girl says. It's more fun to make noise. Quiet is boring.
A trip to the library where her peers ask her (peer pressure!) to be quiet, they're reading, forces the girl to sit still and open a book. Suddenly, she's "spellbound!" Hours pass, and she's imagined pirate adventures, kings and queens, and whole other worlds. The next day, she learns more at school because she's still and LISTENS. She realizes there's a time to be quiet and time to be noisy, and when she is quiet, she notices things in her own world.
This is a sweet book with illustrations sure to please young readers.
Ages 2 and up.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Ready to Read, Level Two
by May Nakamura
Illustrated by Natalie Kwee
This exceptional and informative non-fiction pick is for young readers who love robots or who have never even thought about robots--really, for every young reader. Vocabulary words in the glossary help kids understand jargon of robotics and various trades that work with robots in unique fields.
There are several types of engineers who build and use robots: mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and software engineers. Some other jobs in robotics are animatronic technicians and robotics research scientists. Robots are found on movie sets, in hospitals, at industrial sites, in warehouses, construction sites, and even in protheses, artificial limbs for people who have lost an arm or leg. Using sensors, the prothesis moves the way a body part does.
The publisher ages this book at five to seven years old, but this reviewer feels a wide range of ages would gain knowledge about careers in fields they may know little about.
Recommended age 6 and up to middle school. Illustrations and glossary make this a great choice for reluctant readers.
Friday, December 11, 2020
Coop Knows the Scoop
by Taryn Souders
Sourcebooks Young Readers
Thirteen-year-old Coop (don't call him Cooper) lives with his gramps and his momma in Windy Bottom, Georgia, a quaint, quiet town where the sheriff knows everybody and Miss Ruth and Miss Merriweather, the town gossips, are only too glad to share secrets with everyone the cafe /bookstore Gramps runs. Coop keeps his ear to the ground on the day the body is found. He knows the quirky ladies will know intel about the dead body, and he's keen to have a listen.
Funny colloquialisms and Southern charm are found in every character's dialog. Coop's best friends are Liberty and Justice--no, really, that's their names! The kids agree to deliver donuts and coffee to the sheriff and his team down at the crime scene (the kids' secret plan to snoop), but when the blame begins to fall of Coop's gramps, Coop knows he needs to solve the mystery. There's no way his grandfather murdered somebody!
Unique and funny characters will keep the pages turning and kid readers interested. Twists and turns abound, keeping the reader glued to the story. Souders does a great job with character interaction, believable dialog, and small town drama. Liberty and Justice are exactly the type of friends all kids will want to have.
The author's nod to Shakespeare's tragedies and how the main character "kicked the bucket" is hilarious. They are: "stabbed, poisoned, or baked into a pie (that one's from Titus Adronicus)...". Coop's hair is "shaggier than a dog." Suds O'Leary owns the gas station and bait shop and wears a T-shirt promoting his business with "Suds Gave Me Gas," which backfires (yes, pun intended) his marketing plan!
A very funny, punny book, indeed!
Highly recommended ages 9 and up, and anyone in the South will hear their relatives' voices when they read Coop Knows the Scoop.
Saturday, December 5, 2020
by Benjamin Klas
Illustrated by Fion Arroyo
One Elm Books
Twelve-year old Jeremiah wants to spend a "normal" summer with his dad, but not his dad's new over-the-top boyfriend Michael. Jeremiah's parents are divorced, and Jeremiah knows Dad sometimes dates men and he sometimes dates women. Michael, though, irritates Jeremiah to no end. He's too flamboyant, too flashy, his bicycle has a sparkly unicorn on it which he refers to it as his "uni-cycle!" Not only that, he seems to know the history of every landmark, every building, every street. Jeremiah wishes he would stop being a tour guide and be quiet.
Jeremiah's summer turns out pretty okay, after all. He meets the neighbors including a new friend Sage, and he comes to terms with people being different and families looking different. And different is pretty great! This is a sweet middle grade read that so many kids will relate to. A must-have for every library. Inclusive and diverse!
Large print and shorter chapters are a plus. Illustrations appear on each page of a new chapter.
Highly recommended ages 10 and up. Alert: There is a neighbor who smokes cigarettes (if that's a problem).
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai
Dial Books for Young Readers
Published Nov. 20, 2020 just in time for Christmas giving!
This is the most beautiful picture book I've ever seen. The art and design are so special it should win an award for engineering or architecture! If you have littles on your Christmas shopping list, get them this book. It's a must have!
A lift-the-flap book, each spread reveals a treasure!
The colors jump off the page and transcend the picture book experience. This little gem is sure to win awards in every state and maybe even the national best children's book of the year!
Highly, highly recommended. BUY THIS BOOK!
I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.