Thursday, February 23, 2023

Two Spring Releases: Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy and The World's Worst Time Machine

  Here two finished copies of spring releases that I was able to read this week. 

Doggo and Pupper and the Search for Cozy
by Katherine Applegate
Illustrated by Charlie Alder
Expected publication March 28, 2023
Feiwell and Friends 
96 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
In Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy — the conclusion to the Doggo and Pupper early readers trilogy by New York Times-bestselling author Katherine Applegate with a brightly colored palette from Charlie Alder — the canines help Cat adjust to a big change: A new bed!

When Cat announces that the Humans have given her a surprise present, Doggo and Pupper are all ears. But when they find out that Cat has a new bed and misses her old one, they set out to help her search for cozy.

Change is difficult, and Katherine Applegate understands how it feels to miss a beloved source of security. Very young readers will relate to Doggo, Pupper, and Cat, and appreciate their friendship and empathy.

My Thoughts
This was the first book I have read in this series. It is adorable and I am sure kids love it already. The full color illustrations add another layer of appeal. I am always searching for short books with lower reading levels that don't seem too young. I would suggest this book for grades 1-3 as an independent read and K-2 as a read aloud. 

World's Worst Time Machine
by Dustin Brady
Illustrated by Dave Bardin
Expected Publication April 25, 2023
Andrews McMeel Publishing
192 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
From best-selling author, Dustin Brady comes a new illustrated novel series perfect for fans who love funny, unexpected adventures and wacky plot twists.

For kids, life can be boring, but Liam and Elsa know how to create their own fun—or so they think. After finding a $3 time machine at a garage sale, Liam uses the machine to summon Thomas Edison for help with his book report. It's not until the time machine sends a different Thomas Edison from the 1930s that chaos ensues.

World's Worst Time Machine is the newest series from best-selling children's book author, Dustin Brady. Using his signature style, Brady's laugh-out-loud sense of humor and daring adventure will keep even the most reluctant reader wanting to turn the page.

My Thoughts
If you like fast-paced events with some silliness and a bit of chaos mixed in, this is the book for you. It is described as an illustrated novel, but in my opinion, it could use lots more illustrations for the intended audience. I would lean toward 5th grade and middle school for this one. 

Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb (Graphic Novel): The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

By Steve Sheinkin
Illustrated by Nick Bertozzi
Published January, 2023
Roaring Brook Press
Graphic Novel
256 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
A riveting graphic novel adaptation of the award-winning nonfiction book, Bomb —the fascinating and frightening true story of the creation behind the most destructive force that birthed the arms race and the Cold War.

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned three continents.

In Great Britain and the United States, Soviet spies worked their way into the scientific community; in Norway, a commando force slipped behind enemy lines to attack German heavy-water manufacturing; and deep in the desert, one brilliant group of scientists was hidden away at a remote site at Los Alamos. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. This is the story of the atomic bomb.

New York Times bestselling author Steve Sheinkin's award-winning nonfiction book is now available reimagined in the graphic novel format. Full color illustrations from Nick Bertozzi are detailed and enriched with the nonfiction expertise Nick brings to the story as a beloved artist, comic book writer, and commercial illustrator who has written a couple of his own historical graphic novels, including Shackleton and Lewis & Clark.

Accessible, gripping, and educational, this new edition of Bomb is perfect for young readers and adults alike.

My Thoughts
I have to say that I really enjoy reading nonfiction graphic novels. I read the original novel when it first came out several years ago and enjoyed it very much. Bertozzi took the original story and created a riveting graphic novel version that will have wide appeal.  Students who found the original denser text intimidating will be able to access this new version. The detailed illustrations give the feel of an old comic and darker coloring make the reader believe they are in the 1940's. 
Bomb will make a great addition to any middle school or high school collection. 

See What Others Have to Say About This Book:

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Evergreen by Matthew Cordell

by Matthew Cordell
Published Feb. 2023
Feiwel Friends 
Picture Book
48 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A picture book by Caldecott medal winner Matt Cordell about a timid squirrel who makes a brave journey to help a relative who is ill.

Evergreen the squirrel is afraid of many things: thunder, hawks, and the dark paths of Buckthorn Forest. But when her mother tasks Evergreen with delivering soup to her sick Granny Oak, the little squirrel must face her fears and make the journey.

Along the way, Evergreen is met by other forest dwellers – some want to help her, but some want her mother’s delicious soup! It’s up to Evergreen to stay the course, and those who help her will surprise and delight young readers.

Using an art style reminiscent of the work of William Steig and Arnold Lobel, Matthew Cordell creates a classic tale of bravery and love.

My Thoughts
I would describe Evergreen as a new book with a classic feel. Evergreen is a sweet character that students will fall in love with. They will also relate to her fears and her bravery in doing hard things. 
Readers will get treated to an adventure story that is longer than most picture books (48 pages). But the length feels appropriate for all  Evergreen needs to do. Divided into 6 sections, this story could be read in one longer sitting or over multiple days. It will appeal most to students in K-3. 

Evergreen offers opportunities to have rich discussions about fear and bravery. Readers can also explore character feelings, traits and character changes over time, and the various roles of minor supporting characters. 

I love Matthew Cordell's unique illustration style. It is on full display in this new book. He has chosen muted earth tones which is what I think gives it a classic feel reminiscent of Frog and Toad. 

Image obtained from 

I will be happy to add this new adventure story to my school library. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Great Caper Caper Great Virtual Tour


I am thrilled to join in with this amazing list of blogs and websites as part of the virtual tour for the latest in Josh Funk’s Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast picture book series. Please visit the other sites to hear more about book The Great Caper Caper!


Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: 
The Great Caper Caper 
By Josh Funk
Illustrated by Brendan Kearney
Publication date: November 15, 2022
Union Square & Co.
Hardcover Picture Book
40 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Selected as an Indie Kids Next Pick! 
Here is what they say about The Great Caper Caper. 
The fifth installment in the Lady Pancake series features a madcap caper that kids will love. Parents can look forward to some humor that is, undoubtedly, aimed at them. Definitely a book the whole family will want to read over and over!” — Audrey Beatty, River Bend Bookshop, Glastonbury, CT

You can see the whole list of Indie Kids Next Picks here

Goodreads Summary
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are back in a Las Veggies heist for the Ages! Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast awake one morning to near-darkness. Who would steal the fridge light? And what if the fridge is—gasp—dark all the time? Not to worry. Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are on the case! Along with Their Friends, they assemble blueprints, collect supplies, and investigate. Will they be able to bring the fridge back to its bright self, or will they have to live in semi-darkness…forever?

My Thoughts
It is no wonder that this is the 5th in the series. The books just keep getting better and better. Some of the hallmarks of Josh Funk’s work are his gift with rhyme, use of rich word choice and figurative language including puns and tongue-in-cheek humor. All of these traits are on full display in The Great Caper Caper. 
It is so difficult to create a rhyming text that is fun to read without resorting to contrived rhyming patterns. Josh does it masterfully. Readers will be exposed to rich language and vocabulary they can sink their teeth into (see what I did there?) such as terrainplateaufeigned, and monologued and so many more. 
As an adult reader, I found the Las Veggies sign delightful and the inclusion of characters like Inspector Croissant and Berry Manillo made me chuckle. 
The amazing illustrations bring the story to life. Brendan Kearney has created endearing food characters each with their own unique personality. The pages are filled with color and new things to discover with each reread. 
Be sure to add The Great Caper Caper to your series collection. 
You can see Josh Funk’s collection of books at his website. I recently read his new book My Pet Feet and would highly recommend it. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 31, 2022



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

Here are a couple books I have read recently. Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 

This MSBA Selection is a page-turner for sure!

A lovely book about generosity and inclusivity. 

Kids will love the humor and the rainbow poop!

This one is for all the quiet introverts *raises hand*. 

Currently Reading

Sunday, October 2, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 3, 2022


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

Here are a couple books I have read recently. 

Two Books About Jewish Holidays by Kalanoit Books

by Shoshana Nambi
Illustrated by Moran Yogev
Published September, 2022
Kalanoit Books
Picture Book
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Sukkot is Shoshi’s favorite Jewish holiday. She and her brothers love to decorate their sukkah, the hut where her family will celebrate. But who will win the Ugandan Abayudaya community’s annual sukkah contest? While only one sukkah can be the best, everybody wins when neighbors work together.

My Thoughts

Add this beautifully-illustrated book to your collection. It has a relatable and universal message of teamwork and community and teaches readers about the Jewish holiday of Sukkat. 

by Chana and Larry Stiefel
Illustrated by Daphna Awadish
Published September, 2022
Kalanoit Books
Picture Book
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Mendel is always messing up. So, no one is more surprised than he, when the rabbi asks him to drive the Mitzvah Mobile through the streets of New York and invite everyone to the Hanukkah Bash. What if he messes up again? But as Mendel begins to spread the joy of the holiday, he learns that mistakes can happen and sometimes the results can be miraculous.

My Thoughts
This delightful book shows young readers that everyone makes mistakes and it's ok. Sometimes good things come out of our mistakes. I feel that we need more books about Judaism and learning about Jewish culture through holidays is a good place to start. 

by Varsha Bajaj
Published July, 2022 
Nancy Paulsen Books
192 Pages
Global Read Aloud Selection

Goodreads Summary
The riveting story of a heroic girl who fights for her belief that water should be for everyone.
Minni lives in the poorest part of Mumbai, where access to water is limited to a few hours a day and the communal taps have long lines. Lately, though, even that access is threatened by severe water shortages and thieves who are stealing this precious commodity—an act that Minni accidentally witnesses one night. Meanwhile, in the high-rise building where she just started to work, she discovers that water streams out of every faucet and there’s even a rooftop swimming pool. What Minni also discovers there is one of the water mafia bosses. Now she must decide whether to expose him and risk her job and maybe her life. How did something as simple as access to water get so complicated?

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. First, the title is perfection! Students can explore the many meanings of the work and how it applies to Minni's story. It's important for students in the US to be exposed to the lack of resources around the world. At only 192 pages, it is a quicker read that will appeal to students intimidated by length. I would recommend Thirst for grades 5+ as an independent read and grade 4+ as a read aloud. 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? August 8, 2022


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

Here are a couple books I read last week.  

by Scott Rothman
Illustrated by Avery Monsen
Publication Aug. 9, 2022
Roaring Brook Press
Hardcover Picture Book
40 Pages
Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Goodreads Summary
A minimally worded, highly entertaining, and uniquely offbeat picture book that takes readers on a surprising wordplay journey that sort of makes sense but will totally make you laugh.

This must-read book is an innovative and deceptively simple journey of words that rhyme (or don't) with "parfait." Each page turn brings on the laughs as the clever story bounces from an uneaten parfait to seemingly random characters, including a duck, a toupée-wearing Shar-pei, horses playing "Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkay", and even. . . Abraham Lincoln. Throughout, bestselling artist Avery Monsen (All My Friends Are Dead) packs fun seek-and-finds, giving readers a chance to spot everything that rhymes with "parfait."

Irreverent and wholly original, Parfait, Not Parfait is a book full of irresistible layers, each one more satisfying than the last.

My Thoughts
How many words can you think of that rhyme with parfait? How about shar-pei, or toupee? 
The super-simplistic rhyming text combined with the bright, colorful, and silly illustrations make this a really fun book. I can see it being used when studying rhymes or interesting vocabulary in general. Kindergarten-grade 2 would enjoy this book the most in my opinion. 

What Are You Reading Friends?