Friday, April 29, 2016

The Only Child by Guojing

The Only Child 
by Guojing
Published 2015
Schwartz and Wade
Wordless Picture Book
112 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
Like Shaun Tan's The Arrival and Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, this gorgeous and imaginative 100-page graphic picture book is utterly transporting and original.
A little girl—lost and alone—follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world. But... home and family are very far away. How will she get back there?
In this magnificently illustrated—and wordless—masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy.

My Thoughts
I am not sure that I have the words to convey how beautiful, sweet and sad this book is. My reading of it was changed by the author's note at the beginning describing her loneliness as a child born under China's "one child" law. I feel that it is a hopeful story that shows the power of imagination and how children can create imaginary worlds to help them cope with feelings of loneliness and sadness. I loved it and will surely share it with my 4th graders. I am interested in hearing their thoughts about The Only Child

Image from author's website:

Read what others have to say about this book.
Publishers Weekly 

Visit Guojing's Website 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rascally Rabbits! And More True Stories of Animals behaving Badly!

Rascally Rabbits! And More True Stories of Animals behaving Badly! 
by Aline Alexander Newman
Published February 2016
National Geographic Children's Books
112 Pages 
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
These bunnies may look adorable, but there's more than meets the eye! In Rascally Rabbits, meet some rabbits that cause nothing but trouble, a rescue pup who will eat ANYTHING, and a sneaky bear with a taste for treats. Readers won't stop laughing as they read these hilarious--and completely true!--stories. Filled with engaging photos, fast facts, and fascinating sidebars, readers won't want to put this book down.

My Thoughts
This installment in the National Geographic "True Stories of..." chapter book series is sure to be a hit with readers in middle grades. There are three sections in the book with stories about rabbits, a bear and a dog doing naughty things. Readers will be amazed, and maybe grossed out, by what one dog eats and how his owners discover it. They will be delighted by an unexpected friendship between a bunny and a goat and entertained by an uncooperative bear who keeps scientists hopping. 
This short book contains 9 chapters, a table of contents, and an index. Of course, since it is published by National Geographic, the photographs are outstanding! Throughout the book, there are "Did You Know?" pop up facts and colored pages with animal facts to accompany the stories. 
I have several students in my fourth grade class that loved the first book I read in this series, Hoops to Hippos. These books appeal to students who enjoy reading nonfiction, but might shy away from longer novels. This gives them a bit of both in one manageable and engaging book. 

I would highly recommend this book (and series) for students in grades 3-5. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading-April 25, 2016

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

This blog is very dusty. I have not been able to post regularly for over a month and probably won't be able to until late spring or even early summer. However, I have been reading and since it is the end of vacation week, I have time to post some of the books I have read over the last few weeks. 
Click on the book covers to learn more about them. 

Really fun book about an unusual inheritance. 

Great story of the importance of friendship. 

Funny book of sibling revenge to the extreme.

Love Kwame!

Excellent mildly dystopian novel for upper elementary and middle school. 

Wish I had read it sooner! Edge-of-your-seat historical fiction!

Currently Reading

Up Next

What Are You Reading Friends?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Monster Needs To Go To School by Paul Czajak-Blog Tour

by Paul Czajak
Illustrated by Wendy Grieb
Expected Publication June 28, 2016
32 Pages
Advanced copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Monster is dreading his first day of school. But his classroom is full of new friends and so many fun things to learn that Monster forgets his fears in no time...until he catches his friends bullying. What will Monster do?
Another exuberant addition to the award-winning Monster & Me™ series, addressing back-to-school jitters and the difficulty of dealing with bullies—especially when they're friends.

My Thoughts
Monster is a big, adorable lug who will capture the heart of children. I like how Monster is nervous and apprehensive to go to school. I think many new kindergarteners will be able to relate to his feelings. Then as the day goes on, Monster starts to realize that school is not so scary and can even be fun! Paul Czajak tells Monster's story in rhyme and does not shy away from using sophisticated vocabulary. Readers will have the opportunity to discuss the meaning of words like: motivation, pursue, succeed, peak, impress, despise, ridicule, and compromise. 

The illustrations in the book by Wendy Grieb feel like looking into a Pixar movie. Monster is not scary and reminds me of a monster from my son's favorite movie, Monsters Inc.  The children appear to come from a wide variety of backgrounds with various skin tones and hair color. Every young reader is certain to see themselves in this book. 
         Photo taken of uncorrected galley.

I also love this dedication from the uncorrected galley!

If you have a child entering school for the first time, I would add this book to your collection of "starting school" books. 

See what others have to say about Monster Needs to Go To School:

Be sure to visit other stops along the tour. They are all listed in the image at the beginning of this post.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Lunchnapper by Rick DeDonato

Pipsie Nature Detective: The Lunchnapper 
by Rick DeDonato
Illustrated by Tracy Bishop
Published April, 2016
by Two Lions
Review copy provided by Blueslip Media

Goodreads Summary
Pipsie and her turtle friend, Alfred, are on the best school tripever—a nature scavenger hunt! The team who finds “Seven Wonders of Nature” first wins. But that isn’t all Pipsie and Alfred have to find. Someone has stolen their PB&Js!

The search is on for the lunch that left, and soon Pipsie and Alfred are following animal tracks and discovering deer, birds, and even some beavers. Can Pipsie make this mystery historyand finish the scavenger hunt? And hopefully before lunchtime, because Alfred is one hungry turtle!

My Thoughts
I read the first Pipsie book last April and was thrilled to be asked to read the second. Pipsie is a smart, resourceful nature detective who works to solve mysteries, with her sidekick turtle Alfred, while gently teaching the reader about nature. In this book Pipsie and Alfred use deer and beaver tracks, and their nature knowledge to solve the mystery of who has pilfered their lunch. Young readers will be happy to tag along as they also try to figure out who took the lunch. I hope there are many more Pipsie books to come. 

The illustrations are very sweet and the animals are adorable! Each page has colorful illustrations. Illustrator Tracy Bishop uses different perspectives and shapes to add variety and interest to her illustrations. 

Kids will be begging to have their own nature scavenger hunt after reading Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Lunchnapper! I would recommend it for ages 3-7! 

Rick DeDonato started writing and drawing storybooks for his two kids, Alexis and Matt, when they were little. They’re grown now, but Rick is still creating stories. He is the author of Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar, illustrated by Tracy Bishop. When he’s not dreaming up new adventures for Pipsie, he’s an award-winning creative director in advertising. Born in New Jersey, he now lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with Nancy McAleer; their two dogs, Tugger and Nacho; and their turtle, Alfred E. Turtle.

Tracy Bishop won an art contest in kindergarten, and she’s been creating art ever since. A graduate of San Jose State University, she is also the illustrator of Not the Quitting Kind by Sarra J. Roth and Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato. She lives in San Jose, California, where she is inspired on a daily basis by her son, husband, and a hairy dog named Harry.

Visit other stops on the blog tour!
Mon, Apr 11
Tues, Apr 12
Wed, Apr 13
Thurs, Apr 14
Fri, Apr 15
Mon, Apr 18
Tues, Apr 19
Wed, Apr 20
Thurs, Apr 21
Fri, Apr 22

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spring Into Cash $250 Giveaway

Spring-Into-Cash-no date
Spring Into Cash $250 Giveaway 
An awesome group of bloggers and authors have joined 
with me to bring you one fabulous prize!

One lucky winner will receive...
$250 Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash
Sponsor List I Am A Reader Lori's Reading Corner Terah Edun, Author Jennifer Peel Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton inspiredbooksguide Simple Wyrdings TMBA Corbett Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance Bonnie Blythe Time Travel Romance Aubrey Wynne: Romantasy Through the Ages Carol Malone - Author Diana's Book Reviews Krysten Lindsay Hager author Laurie Here - Cont Fiction and More Julie Coulter Bellon BookHounds Helen Smith Why Not? Because I Said So! (Sheila Staley) Author D.E. Haggerty Taylor Dean Books Dianne Venetta The Late Bloomer's Book Blog Glistering Bs Blog Erin Richards Heather Gray, Author FLYLÄ“F Book Reviews Jennifer Bardsley Jennifer Faye T_BookChick Worldwind Tours J. Keller Ford   

Giveaway Details 
 $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 eGift Card Ends 4/15/16 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. 
Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Maxi's Secrets by Lynn Plourde

by Lynn Plourde
Expected Release Date August 23, 2016
Nancy Paulsen Books
Middle Grade Novel
272 pages
Advanced Review Copy provided by publisher. 

Goodreads Summary
When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person. With its diverse cast, authentic narrator, and perfect blend of spot-on middle-grade humor, drama, and wisdom, this powerful debut is relatable, funny, bittersweet, and full of heart. 
Timminy knows that moving to a new town just in time to start middle school when you are perfect bully bait is less than ideal. But he gets a great consolation prize in Maxi—a gentle giant of a dog who the family quickly discovers is deaf. Timminy is determined to do all he can to help Maxi—after all, his parents didn't return him because he was a runt. But when the going gets rough for Timminy, who spends a little too much time getting shoved into lockers at school, Maxi ends up being the one to help him—along with their neighbor, Abby, who doesn’t let her blindness define her and bristles at Timminy’s “poor-me” attitude. It turns out there’s more to everyone than what’s on the surface, whether it comes to Abby, Maxi, or even Timminy himself.

My Thoughts
Maxi is joining the ranks of classic "dog books" such as Old Yeller, Shiloh and Because of Winn Dixie and will fit right in.  However, it is much more than just a book about an exceptional, loving dog. 
It is about how Maxi draws people together, imperfect, misunderstood people who need each other. Because of Maxi, Timminy meets Abby, his first friend in his new town. Because of Maxi, Timminy has a reason to get through the school day. And it is Maxi who reveals the softer side of the school bully, Rory.

The characters are very well-developed and the author makes the reader care deeply about each of them. Timminy embarrasses himself in cringe-worthy fashion throughout the book making the reader root for him to overcome his awkwardness and to finally get the chip off his tiny shoulder. Middle grade readers will be hooked from the beginning and will not be able to put down this book as they hang on for its many ups and downs including a very emotional ending.
I am not what you would consider a "dog person". I have never owned a dog or any pet for that matter, but one does not need to be a dog person to love Maxi's Secrets
Lynn Plourde is not a new author. She is an award winning author who has published dozens of picture books. This is Plourde's first middle grade novel and it is a gem. I would highly recommend it for middle grade classrooms and libraries. It would also make a great read aloud or independent read. I will certainly be putting it in my classroom library.