Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Football Fanbook: Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-it-All

The Football Fanbook: Everything You Need to Become a Gridiron Know-it-All
by Gary Gramling
Published August 2017
by Sports Illustrated
192 pages 
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
So you're a football fan and now you want to take your passion for the game to the next level? The Football Fanbook from Sports Illustrated Kids is just what you need. A key addition to every young sports fanatic's library, The Football Fanbook is filled with fun trivia and unique lingo to impress friends, illustrated behind-the-skills how-to's, important game-winning strategies, and much more. Readers will sound like experts in no time.

My Thoughts
Are you ready for some football? It is preseason time and my husband has been watching games, analyzing stats are reading updates on his favorite team. Boy was I able to impress him with some things I learned from this book. And thanks to the "Talk the Talk" section, I am able to actually keep up during the games!

The Football Fanbook is a great resource about the popular fall pastime. It is organized into 7 chapters with topics such as Think Like a Coach, Obscure Facts, and Know These Numbers to name a few. It is filled with trivia facts, stats and lingo for fans or those just wanting to learn more. 

Here are a few interesting facts I learned:
*In an average football game there are only around 11 minutes of action?
*The huddle was invented by Paul Hubbard, a deaf quarterback.
*The University of Phoenix stadium has a grass field that is rolled out of the stadium between games to grow in a natural environment. 
*Former Viking, Fred Cox, invented the Nerf football. 
Cool right?!

Information is accompanied by photographs, captions, and infograms. There is even a diagram showing the reader how to throw a perfect spiral pass, but I did not try it. 

Here is a trailer of some of the football lingo readers will learn.

I would recommend this book for fans in 4th grade and up. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Books Babies and Bows
A Rup Life
Mom Always Finds Out

Enter the giveaway! I would like to thank Sports Illustrated and Blue Slip Media for sponsoring a giveaway to one lucky reader!
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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Blogiversary Celebration and Giveaway!

Five years ago today, I launched this little blog of mine with this post about my journey as someone who had difficulty learning how to read and how I came up with the blog name. 

I remember sitting in front of my computer, ready to hit "post" feeling nervous and seriously doubting that anyone would ever want to read anything I had to say. It turned out to be one of the best professional decisions I have ever made. Because I started this blog, I have been able to collaborate with talented educators, meet some of my teacher and author idols, and form true and lasting friendships. I have grown exponentially as a teacher because of these relationships. 

It still genuinely amazes and humbles me when someone mentions something I have written or talks about a book they have seen posted here. 

Each year, I like to give back to readers. This year I though it would be fitting to give away 5 books to one reader. 

I want these books to go to someone who visits and reads this blog so simply leave any kind of comment on this post and I will enter everyone in a "hat" and TJ will randomly choose one winner on August 26 (my birthday).  

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Busy Builders Books and Activity Kits by Silver Dolphin Books

I was fortunate to receive these 3 activity kits from Silver Dolphin Books in exchange for an honest review. 

Currently, there are three kits. 

Busy Builders: Airport
by Timothy Knapman
Illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Published Dec. 2016

Busy Builders: Fire Station
by Chris Oxlade
Illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Published Dec. 2016

Busy Builders: Construction Site
by Katherine Sully
Illustrated by Carles Ballesteros
Published Dec. 2016

My Thoughts
I was skeptical at first since activity kits can sometimes be a bit flimsy and rip or break easily. They can also be tricky to put together. These kits are very sturdy with thick cardboard for the base and for all the small components that you put together. Easy to follow directions in the back of each book make them simple to assemble, although parents may want to supervise that kids don't push too hard to slide pieces into place. Both sides of the vehicles etc. have the image on them and stand up nicely alone when assembled. 
The box that holds the kits has a velcro latch and also serves as the center of the kit scene. The back side of the box shows a scene from the inside of the location. 

The books have thick pages and are filled with information about the topic. 

My son really likes his airplane kit. I gave his cousins the other two kits and they loved them as well. 

With a book and an activity, the Busy Builder kits would make a great gift or addition to classroom games (think indoor recess!). 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hoot and Honk Just Can't Sleep by Leslie Helakowski

Hoot and Honk Just Can't Sleep 
by Leslie Helakoski
Published by Sterling Children's
March, 2017
40 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Some chicks like day, others like night. Some sleep in the dark, and some in the light. Hoot, an adorable owlet, and Honk, a fuzzy gosling, have just hatched—but their eggs got switched and now they’re in the wrong nests. Will they find their way home? Leslie Helakoski’s gentle, lilting verse and irresistible illustrations make the perfect bedtime story as they capture two adorable babies exploring the world for the first time.

My Thoughts
This story is so sweet. The baby owl and baby goose wake up in the wrong nests and notice that they are different from the other baby birds in their family. When the other birds want to sleep, the baby owl and baby goose are wide awake. They go exploring when they can't sleep and find other babies that are like them and discover a family where they belong. 
The illustrations are exceptional. Pastels are used over sanded paper to create colorful, textured pictures. The pages are thick enough for little hands to turn again and again. 

Picture of book taken by me.

The rhyming text is simple and filled with creative language and the font size and style are great for young readers.

I would recommend Hoot and Honk Just Can't Sleep for ages 2-6.  

See what others have to say about this book:
We Have Kids
Jill Bennett

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Duck and Hippo Lost and Found by Jonathan London Review and Giveaway!

Duck and Hippo Lost and Found 
by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Andrew Joyner
Published August 15, 2017
Two Lions
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Duck and Hippo invite their friends Turtle, Elephant, and Pig to a picnic at their favorite pond. Yippee! It’s time to dance and sing, swim and eat. Everyone brings goodies to share…except Hippo. He didn’t bring ANYTHING. So Hippo sets off into the forest to find some berries. But he is gone a long time, and Duck begins to worry that Hippo is lost. What should his friends do to find him? Join Duck and Hippo on another fun adventure!

My Thoughts
You likely know Jonathan London's work with his widely popular Froggy books. My daughter particularly liked Froggy Eats Out. London and Joyner have teamed up again to bring us more Duck and Hippo. 
I really enjoyed the first Duck and Hippo book, Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm (see my review here).  In Lost and Found, Duck and Hippo are back and they have brought some friends. Hippo feels bad that he did not bring something to the picnic and leaves to look for some berries. He searches high and low, but doesn't find any berries even as night falls. His friends are concerned and go looking for him. 
I think this story lends itself to many themes and discussion topics. 
Problem solving

The illustrations are excellent and the characters are adorable.  The color palate is subdued with pops of bright red in Duck's coat and Hippo's bowtie. A variety of text fonts, sizes and colors adds another element of interest to the book. 

Kids will be excited to see if Hippo's friends ever find and if they finally get to have their picnic. 
I would recommend Duck and Hippo Lost and Found for ages 3-8. 

See what others have to say about this book:

Visit Jonathan London's website
Visit Andrew Joyner's website

Find some activities to use with this book here

Enter the giveaway! 
Two Lions and Blueslip Media are generously offering a copy of Duck and Hippo Lost and Found AND a copy of the first book, Duck Hippo in the Rainstorm. Enter in the rafflecopter below. 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel by Kimberly Willis Holt

Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel 
by Kimberly Willis Holt 
Published by Henry Holt and Co. 
March 2017
336 Pages 
Realistic Fiction
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Twelve-year-old Stevie's world changes drastically when her parents are tragically killed and she is forced to live with her estranged grandfather at his run-down motel. After failed attempts to connect with her grandfather, Stevie befriends the colorful motel tenants and neighbors. Together, they decide to bring some color and life to the motel by planting a flower garden, against Stevie's grandfather's wishes. It will take Stevie's departure before her grandfather realizes just how needed she is by everyone.

My Thoughts
"A heartfelt middle grade novel about life, loss, and finding your true family." This is what I wrote in my Goodreads review of this book. I also called Stevie, "A character that stays with you." and boy is that the truth. Her character is so well-developed that you feel her emotions of loss, anger, frustration and hope right along with her.
Winston, Stevie's curmudgeon of a grandfather, is stuck in his ways and really seems to resist any kind of change. He is standoffish with Stevie who doesn't feel as though he wants her to be living with him. Stevie is desperate to learn more about her mother, but Winston is tight lipped on the subject. Stevie gets the feeling that there are secrets about her parents that no one is telling her.

The cast is balanced out with loads of colorful characters. Roy, Arlo and Ida, who work at her grandfather's aging motel, become a family of sorts for Stevie. Mrs. Crump is Stevie's elderly homeschool teacher who nods off during each day's lesson and surly, brooding Frida is Stevie's only classmate.

When Stevie learns about an aunt she never knew she had, she goes to visit and has a wonderful time. She gets a glimpse at feeling like a part of a family for the first time since her parents' death.
Will Stevie learn to "bloom" where she has been planted? The ending is touching and gives the reader some closure.
I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it for grades 4-8.

See what others have to say about Blooming at the Texas Sunrise Motel:
Redeemed Reader
Book Page

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? August 14, 2017

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

Here is what I read this week. 
Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 

Middle grade historical fiction of how Cuba became a literate nation.

Middle Grade. Sports enthusiast, Hudson, may get sidelined due to asthma. 

Currently Listening

Currently Reading-Paper Book

Currently Reading-ebook