Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Teeny Tiny Halloween by Lauren L. Wohl and Henry Cole

A Teeny Tiny Halloween 
by Lauren L. Wohl and Henry Cole
Published September 13, 2016
Persnickety Press
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher.

Goodreads Summary
It happens every fall. The leaves from the tall trees that surround her house drift down until the teeny tiny woman’s teeny tiny house is buried completely. Inside it’s dark and a teeny tiny bit scary, but the resourceful woman has a plan and a few surprises up her teeny tiny sleeve.
Written to be shared through read-aloud or story-telling, the type face indicates where the teller should be whispering and when suddenly s/he should shout – surprising the listeners, even causing them to jump, which puts this book in the realm of jump-tales, so popular at spooky-story times like Halloween and around the campfire on summer evenings. Short enough for even young children to remember after reading or hearing the story a few times, the book encourages children themselves to tell the tale themselves, making a family tradition.

Former Disney Publishing executive, Lauren L. Wohl, tells an all-new story starring a favorite character from folklore with an autumnal chill and a special treat that brings the book to a perfect-for-Halloween ending. Children will want to return to the teeny tiny house again and again to enjoy Henry Cole’s illustrations that capture the mood and the humor of the tale.

My Thoughts
The Teeny-Tiny Woman is a folktale classic. This book features the small character in a fall/Halloween story. The summary does a nice job retelling the story. The woman does some creative things to try to get the attention of anyone who might be able to find her house after it gets buried such as banging on pots and pans and clanging cookie sheets together. Some of these might be fun to act out with little ones while reading the story.
The illustrations are gorgeous with deep autumn colors. The characters are very sweet and endearing. 

This book would make a nice addition to any Halloween collection for ages 4-8. 

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! by Mike Lowery

Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! 
by Mike Lowery
Published Sept. 6, 2016
Workman Publishing Company
112 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Draw your way through the story!
Doodle Adventures: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! is a rip-roaring adventure tale starring Carl, the friendly narrator who happens to be a duck, and the reader, who is drawn right into the story—literally. Together, they embark on the very important mission of finding out who has been stealing all of the pizza in town. Could it be the Dread Pirate Slobberts, the meanest, nastiest pirate ever to sail the Seven Seas? And, more important, how are they going to get all that pizza back?

Armed with a well-sharpened pencil and their imaginations, and following Carl’s prompts, readers fill in the blanks on each page until the story is complete. The result is a sturdy, one-of-a-kind book—starring you!—that’s as much a joy to read over and over again as it was to make.

My Thoughts
I wrote about the first book in the "Doodle Adventures" series this summer. Mike Lowery has created a fun way for kids to interact with the story. These book are perfect for kids who need to find a different way to interact with the text and kids who just love to sketch and draw. How fun to be allowed and even encouraged to draw in a book! The use of muted yellows and oranges allows for the child's illustrations to be seen and to feel like they were meant to be in the book. 
With the holidays coming up, I would highly recommend this series for book fans and budding artists ages.

See what others have to say about this book:
Geek Dad

Mike Lowery has illustrated dozens of books including Ken Jennings' Junior Genius Guides. Visit hie website here. 

Visit the publisher's website for more info about this series. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching by Hannah Bonner

Dining With Dinosaurs: A Tasty Guide to Mesozoic Munching 
by Hannah Bonner
Published Sept. 2016
National Geographic Kids Books
48 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Sure you know that T-Rex was the meat-eating king and that brontosaurus muched on leaves, but what else was on the dino dining menu during the Mesozoic era? In this hilarious book, paleontologists reveal all! Meet the 'vores: carnivores, piscivores, herbivores, insectivores, "trashivores," "sunivores," and omnivores like us. Readers will be surprised and inspired to learn about all the crazy stuff dinos ate and they'll get insights into how scientists can tell which dinosaurs ate what just from looking at fossils! Journey through artist and author Hannah Bonner's whimsical world to learn how the dinosaurs and their contemporaries bit, chewed, and soaked up their food.

My Thoughts
Kids will love learning about dinosaurs in this engaging book! They will learn about the different kinds of "vores", what they ate and how they depended on one another in the circle of life. 

The facts are presented in an effective combination of brief text, illustrations, diagrams and captions. There are funny, yet informative cartoony creatures sprinkled throughout the book offering a bit of comedy to the factual information. 

Comic strip panels called. "Ask a Scientist" show scientists further discussing the topic presented on the page. 

At the end of the book, the author makes a connection to food chains today. There is also a great diagram of a food web and where the different "vores" fall within the web. 

Photo taken of page 7. 

There is so much to look at and learn in this book. I would highly recommend it for any dinosaur fanatic or classroom library for grades 3-5. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Kirkus-starred review

Monday, October 24, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 24, 2016

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

Click on the covers to learn more about each book.

An adorable addition to this series. 
Click here to see my review from last week. 

Click here to see my review from last week. 

This book should come with a pack of tissues. I have not cried because of a book since Maxi's Secrets. 

A wonderful middle grade novel in verse. 
Maine friends, it would make a nice read aloud. It is set in Maine and the characters participate in 4-H activities. And what would a book set in Maine be without a stereotypical Mainer with a thick Downeast accent?...Ayuh!

Currently Reading

What are you reading friends?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This book is out of control! by Richard Byrne

This book is out of control! 
by Richard Byrne
Published Oct. 4, 2016
Henry Holt and Co. 
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
In this follow-up to This book just ate my dog! and We’re in the wrong book!, Bella and Ben and that adorable dog are back for another (mis)adventure.

Ben has a new remote-controlled toy; it has all kinds of buttons—Up, Down, Siren, Spin. He and Bella try pressing each one, but the remote doesn't seem to be working . . . at least, not on the toy. As things go haywire on the page, Bella and Ben realize their book is out of control! With a remote on the fritz, it'll take the help of the reader to put things right in this interactive story.

My Thoughts
Like the others in this series, this interactive book is loads of fun!
Kids will go crazy as they see what happens each time Ben presses a button on the remote for his new firetruck toy. The author invites the reader to help straighten things out by pushing the buttons on the page.
The characters are super-cute with large freckly faces and smaller bodies. The adorable, rotund dog is fun to watch as the story unfolds.
Kids will ask for This Book is Out of Control to be read over and over again. I would recommend it for ages 2-6. 
Image from

See what others have to say about this book:

Read the other books in this series. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and its Pride on the Liuwa Plains by Bradley Hague

Rise of the Lioness: Restoring a Habitat and its Pride on the Liuwa Plains 
by Bradley Hague
Published September 2016
National Geographic Children's Books
56 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Poaching and war damaged an isolated wilderness in West Zambia, reducing its lion population to just one: Lady, the last lioness. Witness Lady's fight for survival in this evocative narrative on the decline, fall, and rebirth of the Liuwa Plains. Follow Lady as she grapples with a landscape altered by human hands and discover how both Lady and humankind restore balance to the environment. 

More than a story about one brave lion, The Lioness offers a great introduction to life science by looking at the workings of an ecosystem, the methods of scientists and environmentalists, and explaining the interconnection between the plant, animal, and human systems.

My Thoughts
I am so glad to know this story. Like many, I find animal stories fascinating. It amazes me how scientists can painstakingly study animal behavior to learn more about the world as a whole. Kids will enjoy this story for a number of reasons. Although it is not the sole focus, they will find Lady's story of survival fascinating. Through her story, they will learn about lion behavior and how she used her skill and instinct to stay alive.

They will also learn about ecosystems through the story of the rebirth of war torn Liuwa. This narrative text explains the delicate balance of an ecosystem and how plants and animals depend on one another. It also explains how Liuwa reintroduced herbivores such as elad and buffalo into the plains and later introduced more predators such as lions. 

Because of the narrative text, I can imagine reading it aloud to students a little at a time. 

Since it is a book by National Geographic, it is filled with gorgeous close up, original photographs as well as maps, charts and diagrams. 

Rise of the Lioness would make an excellent addition to any school or classroom library. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oskar Loves by Britta Teckentrup

Oskar Loves...
by Britta Teckentrup
Published Sept. 25, 2016
Prestel Publishing
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Bestselling children s author and illustrator Britta Teckentrup is back with Oskar, an engaging new character who loves everything! Oskar, a charming raven, loves trees, red cherries, and the smell of spring. He also loves rain, snow, clouds, books, and the moon. With this book's simple, boldly colored, and beautiful illustrations, children are invited into Oskar s world and in turn to explore the wonders of the world around them. As she has done in her previous books, such as "Grumpy Cat" and "Before I Wake Up ," Britta Teckentrup combines evocative art with a storyline that will appeal to children and those who read to them. Asking, What do you love? "Oskar Loves " invites all of us to take a moment to appreciate the world we inhabit."

My Thoughts
Oscar Loves is perfect in its simplicity. With repeating lines of "Oskar loves..." the reader is brought into Oskar's life. Oskar loves things like the ocean, autumn leaves, cherries, books and pictures. The book ends asking the reader, "What do you love?".  What a lovely question with so many possibilities. It could lead to lots of sharing or possibly creating a class book of things the kids love. 

The illustrations include one or more images of the adorable Oskar on each page. The backgrounds on each page are different. Many are single colors and a few are layered with various colors and textures. 
Image from:

I would recommend Oskar Loves for children ages 2-5.

 See what others have to say about this book:

Monday, October 17, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?-October 17, 2016

A couple more day left to enter to win a Pug Meets Pig gift pack

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

Click on the covers to learn more about each book.

Last week I reviewed A Bike Like Sergio's by this author/illustrator team. This book would be excellent to share with elementary students and offers many opportunities for discussion about fairness, wants and needs.

Visit tomorrow to hear more about this sweet picture book!

Currently Reading
Really enjoying this novel in verse.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Pug Meets Pig by Sue Lowell Gallion and Joyce Wan

Pug Meets Pig 
by Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrated by Joyce Wan
Published Sept. 27, 2016
Beach Lane Books
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
An unlikely pair—a pug and a pig!—realize that it’s better to be together.
Pug is a very happy pup. He has his own yard, his own bowl, and even his own cozy bed! That is, until Pig moves in and starts eating from Pug’s bowl, interrupting Pug’s routine, and, worst of all, sleeping in Pug’s bed. Will Pug and Pig ever learn to live together as friends?

This sweet and silly story about a darling duo celebrates the timeless themes of embracing change, being kind to others, and finding friends in unlikely places.

My Thoughts
This book had me with its cover. The big, adorable faces of Pug and Pig will have kids begging to read this book. The text is simplistic and predictable. I can see little ones asking to hear it over and over again. 
Pug Meets Pig shows that feelings can change and there is always room for another friend. There is always room for more happiness. 
I would describe the illustrations as smooth and chunky. The characters have faces that you just want to squeeze. 

I would highly recommend Pug Meets Pig for children ages 2-6. 
Image from

See what others have to say about this book:

Visit Sue Gallion's website and view the activity kit which includes resources for teachers.
Visit Joyce Wan's website

Enter to win a copy of the book and a Pug Meets Pig tennis ball and doggie treat. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

A Bike Like Sergio's by Maribeth Boelts and Noah Z. Jones

A Bike Like Sergio's 
by Maribeth Boelts
Illustrated by Noah Z. Jones
Published Oct. 4, 2016
Candlewick Press
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money? Presenting a relatable story told with subtlety and heart, the creative team behind Those Shoes pairs up again for a satisfying new picture book.

My Thoughts
This is a story that many kids will find relatable. All kids can relate to wanting something that a friend has, a bike, a toy, a pet and not having the money to purchase it. They can also relate to the dilemma of "finding" something that doesn't belong to them and deciding whether to keep it or return it to its owner. 
A Bike Like Sergio's offers several opportunities for debate and discussion with children. 
~What is the right thing to do? 
~What would YOU do? 
~How would you feel if...? 
It would be fun to stop before reading Ruben's decision and have students predict what he will do. 

This author-illustrator pair have teamed up before on the book Those Shoes which involves a similar situation of wanting something and not having money enough to get it. 

Despite Noah Z, Jones saying that he is "bad at drawing bikes", the illustrations are great. He has a way of purposely using uneven lines, thick, black outlines and shadowing that gives his work a unique quality. 

Image from

I would highly recommend A Bike Like Sergio's for grades 1-4. It would also make a nice text to use for opinion/debate with upper grades. 

Check out the book trailer.

See what others have to say about this book:
Publishers Weekly (Starred review)

Visit the Maribeth Boelts' website. There is also a teacher's guide
Visit the Noah Z. Jones' website.

Monday, October 10, 2016

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 10, 2016

There are 2 more days to enter the no-strings-attached giveaway of Brunhilda's Backwards Day!

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

Click on the covers to learn more about each book. 
A-DOR-A-BLE! For K-2
Review and giveaway on Thursday of this week!
 David Weisner is a master of telling stories without words!
 A very sweet story about finding one's place. Grades 2-4

 Enjoyed this historical fiction novel set in Key West during The Great Depression. 

 Up Next??
Not really sure yet.  

Friday, October 7, 2016

Brunhilda's Backwards Day by Shawna J.C. Tenney + Giveaway!

Brunhilda's Backwards Day 
by Shawna J.C. Tenney
Published August, 2016
Sky Pony Press
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Brunhilda the witch loves making trouble. Each morning, she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, puts on her ugliest dress, eats spider mush for breakfast, and brushes her teeth with candy. Then she looks in the mirror and happily observes, “You are utterly repulsive!” As soon as she leaves the house, she begins to spread her misery. No one is safe from her rainy-day spells or her wart-growing charms!
But one night, Brunhilda’s cat makes trouble instead.

When Brunhilda wakes up that next morning, she is on the rightside of the bed. All she can find to wear is a fluffy pink ball gown. And her spider mush is replaced with oatmeal; her candy replaced by toothpaste! The day has gone completely backwards. What will happen when Brunhilda casts her all-time favorite misery-inducing spells?
This is a silly story about how sometimes being nice can be more rewarding than being mean. Brunhilda may decide to keep some of her warts in the end, but she’s a changed witch. Waking up on the wrong side of the bed just doesn’t work for her anymore.

A picture book for 3 to 6 year olds, this book teaches kids that being kind and nice to people actually makes you feel better than playing tricks and being mean. A good lesson for young children, teachers and parents will enjoy the message while kids will be enthralled with the bright, colorful illustrations and the silly, warty witch.

My Thoughts
What a great new book for fall! 
This book shares the universal message that being kind feels good. Kids will love watching Brunhilda as she tries to do unkind things and they backfire causing her targets to be happy instead. 
I LOVE the big, colorful cartoonish illustrations. The children are adorable and Brunhilda's slick, black cat is endearing. Brunhilda is just the right combination of sort of ugly, but sort of cute. Even the cover is a beautiful, shimmery silver. 

I can see groups of children reading this book with giggles and shrieks as the story unfolds. It offers an opportunity to discuss kindness and how being kind makes a person feel good.   

I would highly recommend this story for ages 3-8.  
Image from authors website:

Check out the book trailer.

See what others have to say about this book:
Kids Reads

Visit Shawna Tenney's Website

Be sure to stop by the other blogs on the tour!
Monday, October 3
Guest post by Shawna

Tuesday, October 4
Guest post by Shawna

Wednesday, October 5
Book Review

Thursday, October 6
Guest post by Shawna with giveaway

Friday, October 7
Book Review and giveaway

 Sunday, October 9
Podcast book review

Monday, October 10
Book review

Tuesday, October 11
Illustrator Interview and giveaway

Wednesday, October 12
Book Review and giveaway

Thursday, October 13
Blog tour wrap up and giveaway

Shawna J.C. Tenney

Be sure to enter the giveaway! 
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