Friday, July 27, 2018

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk 
by Kelly Yang
Published May, 2018
286 Pages

Goodreads Summary
Front Desk tells the story of 10-year-old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed!
Based on the author's life, the story follows Mia — the daughter of first generation Chinese immigrants.

My Thoughts
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much. Yang creates characters that you care about and root for.  I love how Mia finds the power of writing and how her words can change people's lives. I truly felt for Mia, her family and all of the immigrants. Their stories were very real and it was heart-wrenching to read about the injustices they faced. The author's note reveals that many of the events were based on Yang's childhood in California. Mr. Yao, the hotel owner, is someone readers will love to hate. He is just awful and I shudder to think that he is based on a real person. Yang presents prejudice and bigotry in a way that young readers will understand. 
I read Front Desk rather quickly because I just had to find out what was going to happen to Mia, her family and the other characters. It would make a great read aloud and offers many opportunities for deep and important discussions. 
I would highly recommend it for grades 4-6. 

Check out the book trailer.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Lions and Liars by Kate Beasley and Dan Santat

Lions and Liars 
by Kate Beasley 
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Published June, 2018
Farrar Straus Giroux
304 Pages
Advanced Reader's Copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Frederick Frederickson has a food-chain theory about life. There are lions, like the school bully. Gazelles, like the bullied kids. There are meerkats, and the fleas that live on the butts of meerkats. Frederick's a flea.
Fifth grade is off to a terrible start when Frederick is sent to a disciplinary camp for troublesome boys. His fellow troop mates—Nosebleed, Specs, The Professor, and little-yet-lethal Ant Bite—are terrifying. But in between trust-building exercises and midnight escape attempts, a tenuous friendship grows between them. Which is lucky, because a Category 5 hurricane is coming and everyone will have to work together—lions and fleas alike—to survive!

My Thoughts
Frederick Frederickson is WAY down on the social food chain of 5th grade. Even his so-called friends are pretty quick to tell him how much of a loser he is.  He feels like if he could just win something, then he would finally be popular. Through a series of events, he ends up going down a river alone on a boat with no motor and washes ashore at a disciplinary camp for boys.  He is mistaken for another boy, Dash, who is infamous within the circle of boys for being reckless and dangerous. With this new identity comes instant respect and a good amount of fear from most of the campers who bend over backward to impress him or just give him anything he wants. He begins to enjoy this newfound power and popularity and doesn't want to go back to his old life. When his calm, law-abiding personality begins to shine through, some of the boys begin to doubt the validity of Dash's reputation and start to challenge him more verbally and physically. 
Just when Frederick is ready to call his parents to come get him, a powerful hurricane hits. This experience is a turning point in the story as he, and one of his friends, face the dangerous storm together. 

While I read the ARC, which did not have all of Dan Santat's illustrations, it did have a few which were excellent. This sprinkling of illustration will help middle grade readers understand the story and, let's face it, many middle graders still want to look at pictures in a book. 
I would definitely add this one to your grade 3-5 library. I can think of many of my former 4th graders that would love it.  

See what others have to say about this book:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor

by Barbara O'Connor 
Expected publication: August 28th 2018 
by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
288 pages
Realistic Fiction

Goodreads Summary
From Barbara O'Connor, the beloved author of Wish, comes a big-hearted story about the meaning of friendship, the challenges of growing up, and one lovable runaway dog.
Mavis Jeeter is fearless and bold, but she has never lived in one place long enough to have a real best friend. Her flighty mother has uprooted them again to another new home and taken a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family. Mavis wants this home to be permanent--which means finding herself a best friend.
Rose Tully is a worrier who feels like she doesn't quite fit in with the other girls in her neighborhood. Her closest friend is Mr. Duffy, but he hasn't been himself since his dog died. Rose may have to break a few of her mother's many rules to help Mr. Duffy--and find someone who really understands her.
Henry has run away from home, but he craves kindness and comfort--and doesn't know where to look for them.
When Mavis and Rose hatch a scheme to find Mr. Duffy a new dog, their lives and Henry's intersect--and they all come to find friendship in places they never expected.

My Thoughts
I am so happy this story brought Mavis and Rose together. Mavis is as bold as Rose is timid. She is loud, she interrupts, she says the wrong things at the wrong time and I love her! It is so fun to watch Mavis rub off on Rose who is afraid to break any rules because of her strict mother. 
I also enjoyed the relationship the two girls had with Mr. Duffy, the gate keeper of the private community. Mavis is relentless in her pursuit to help Mr. Duffy feel happy again after the death of his Beloved dog, Queenie. Through constant badgering, she tries to convince him that getting another dog will cheer him up. He is not easily swayed even after they find Henry, a stray dog, living in the nearby woods. 
Will Henry stay with Mr. Duffy?
Is Rose the best friend Mavis has been wishing for? 
Will Rose ever stand up to her overbearing mother?
The story takes the reader on twists and turns in the story until it all comes together in just the right way. I would recommend it for grades 4-5 as an independent read. It would also make a fabulous read aloud for grades 3-5. 

See what others have to say about this book:
Publishers Weekly

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Snail Mail by Samantha Berger and Julia Patton

Snail Mail 
by Samantha Berger 
Illustrated by Julia Patton
Published May, 2018
Running Press Kids
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful.

Snail Mail's playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton's rich illustrations showcase America's diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America's beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

My Thoughts
This fun book takes a silly look at "snail mail". These dedicated snails know that some things are just better send through snail mail and will stop at nothing to deliver their precious packages. They recite the Snail Mail promise, "Neither rain, nor snow, nor heat, nor hail will stop a snail from bringing the mail.". The 4 snails in the book work together to slowly navigate deserts, canyons, maintains and forests. I like how they stop to notice important and interesting sights along the way. This serves as a reminder to kids and adults that sometimes we may miss important things it we are always rushing. 
The illustrations are great! Each snail is unique and has their own personality. Julia Patton pays careful attention to detail and each page offers something new for the reader to discover. 
Image from

It may be hard for many kids to realize that, not too long ago, to send someone an item, card or letter people had to send things through the postal service or what is commonly referred to as "snail mail".  After reading this book it will be almost impossible NOT to send a handwritten letter to someone special. 
I would recommend it for grades PreK-2. 

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 23, 2018

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

Here is my reading from the past two weeks. Click on the book covers to learn more about the books. 


Great new middle grade. Excellent for grades 4-5!

Sweet story of a special friendship. Grades 4-6. 

I have been getting many of my picture book ideas from my friend Michele Knott's blog Mrs. Knott's Book Nook. You should definitely go visit. 

A fun new interactive book for little ones. Ages 3-6.

Very sweet. Grades K-2

5 stars for this wonderful picture book. The grandmother is amazing! Ages 3-7

Another great story of acceptance. Ages 3-7

Currently Reading
And loving it!


Recent posts:

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Countdown 2979 Days to the Moon by Suzanne Slade and Thomas Gonzalez

Countdown 2979 Days to the Moon 
by Suzanne Slade and Thomas Gonzalez
Expected Publication Sept. 1, 2018
Peachtree Publishers
144 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Free verse and illustrations tell the true story of the American effort to land the first man on the Moon.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would try to land a man on the Moon within ten years. During the two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-nine days that followed his speech, eighteen astronauts climbed into spaceships; three of them died before even leaving the ground. Eight rockets soared into space. And four hundred thousand people--engineers, technicians, scientists, mathematicians, and machinists--joined Project Apollo in hopes of making the dream a reality.

My Thoughts
I will admit that I normally shy away from nonfiction that is longer than a picture book. It is just not a genre I am drawn to.  I received this book from Peachtree in exchange for my honest thoughts. I was immediately drawn in to the story. The story itself was compelling. I was familiar with Apollo 11 and the first Moon landing of course, but I had no idea about the first 10 Apollo missions and all that went into the US's quest to put the first person on the moon. Before I knew it, I had finished it in one sitting. 
I found the free verse format very appealing and will make the book accessible to a wide-range of readers. The book itself is a bit larger (10"X10") with a mixture of beautiful illustrations and original photographs. 
I would recommend this book for grades 4-7. It would be fun to read it aloud to students a little each day as they see how the events unfold. 

Check out the book trailer!

See what others have to say about this book:

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Review and Giveaway of All is Assuredly Well by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson

All is Assuredly Well 
by Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson
Illustrated by Angela F.M Trotter
Published June, 2018
Camille Lancaster Literary Children's Books
Review copy provided by publisher

Received a starred review from Kirkus

Summary from Publisher
King Phillip the Good and his husband, The Most Excellent Don Carlos Emiliano Felipe de CompaƱero y CampaƱero, live sedate, uneventful lives until King Phillip dreams of having a baby girl. Structured around The Hero's Journey, King Phillip must follow his mentor, the Blue Star, and encounter allies (a newt and a bluejay) and overcome gatekeepers (a biting fish and a bear) as he completes a series of tasks to prove himself worthy of becoming a father. Once proven, the Blue Star presents him with a baby girl in the middle of a fairy circle of a thousand different flowers in a thousand brilliant hues. He returns home to present Baby Milliflora to his husband, and the loving husbands joyfully become loving fathers.

My Thoughts
This story definitely has a mystical fairy tale feel to it.  The fact that it is two husbands, and not the "typical" fairy tale scenario, really has not bearing on the story. It is the story of a loving couple who wishes for a baby and is willing go to great lengths to get a little baby girl. After nearly two years of wishing, the blue star finally fulfills their wish. The authors include rich vocabulary of the period throughout the story.
The font is set in a medieval type fitting for the story. Repetition lends a bit of predictability. The text is set in a text box and surrounded by detailed, colorful illustrations. It is a bit busy for my taste, but is reminiscent of Jan Brett's intricate Illustrations.  
I would recommend this book most for ages 4-7. 
All is Assuredly Well is available at

To win a copy of All is Assuredly Well, please leave a comment on this post by August 12:00 midnight on August 22, 2018.  One winner will be selected at random. Book will be mailed from me to one winner in the US. 

About the author, Professor Gore
Professor Gore's proudest hours were spent in Federal Court testifying as an expert witness and plaintiff against the city she loved. The city commission had passed an amendment that banned Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate from the children's section of the public library. A storyteller, Professor Gore is delighted to contribute to the canon she once defended.

About the Author, Maestro Wilson

Co-author Maestro Phillip Wilson is a retired band director, music teacher, composer, and arranger. A poet at heart, his love for word play and ear for rhythm and meter lend themselves well to the lyrical art of storytelling.

About the Illustrator, Angie F. M. Trotter
Artist Angie F. M. Trotter holds a BA in Religion and Fine Art. Her pen and ink illustrations are an amalgamation of icons, illuminated manuscripts, stained glass window design, and her spiritual life. Her work has been compared to the masters of the Golden Age of British book illustration.

You can find more about All is Assuredly Well and the authors and the illustrator online:

- Blog Tour Dates (in Chronological Order)

July 2nd @ The Muffin
Grab a morning treat over at Women on Writing's blog The Muffin and read our interview author Professor M.C. Gore and enter to win a copy of the book All is Assuredly Well.

July 3rd @ Mari's #JournalingPower Blog
Author Professor M.C. Gore will be a guest writer over at Mari's #JournalingPower blog where she talks about writing the hero's journey.

July 5th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Come by Ashley's blog Mommy Daze: Say What?? where she shares her thoughts on Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson's book All isAssuredly Well.

July 6th @ Coffee With Lacey
Get your coffee over at Lacey's blog Coffee With Lacey where she shares her thoughts on the book All is Assuredly Well.

July 7th @ Cassandra's Journey
Stop by Cassandra's blog where she interviews author Professor Gore about her book All is Assuredly Well.

July 8th @ Madeline Sharples Blog
Author Professor Gore is a guest writer over at Madeline Sharples blog where she shares her thoughts on alchemical literature and how it affects her thinking as a writer.

July 9th @ Bri's Book Nook
Stop by Briennai's blog Bri's Book Nook where reviews Professor Gore and Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well.

July 10th @ Break Even Books
Come by Erik McManus' blog Break Even Books to find out what he had to say about the book All is Assuredly Well.

July 10th @ Georgia Ball's Author Blog
Come by Georgia's blog where she features a blog post written by Professor Gore about how the author found her illustrator and who she is.

July 12th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Professor M.C. Gore will be a guest writer over at Ashley's blog Mommy Daze: Say What?? where the author describes her experience on the witness stand as an expert witness when the city of Wichita Falls, Texas banned Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate.

July 12th @ George Ball's Author Blog
Come by George Ball's blog where she shares her thoughts about Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well.

July 14th @ A Storybook World
Professor Gore is a guest writer over at Dierdra's blog A Storybook World and she'll be writing about how her local writers’ club convinced her to self-publish, and why/how she started her own micro-publishing company (including how a MAJOR publishing company editor she pitched to told her that she would buy the manuscript, but not the illustrations because she had a “completely different vision” for the book).

July 15th @ The Late Bloomers Blog
Come by Gigi's blog The Late Bloomers blog where she shares her thoughts on Professsor Gore and Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well.

July 16th @ Auden Johnson's Blog
Stop by Auden Johnson blog to read Professor Gore's guest post on her supernatural experience involving her Advanced Graduate Statistics professor and how that relates to this book.

July 17th @ Coffee With Lacey
Come by Lacey's blog and read her interview with Professor Gore, one of the authors for All is Assuredly Well as well as with the illustrator of the series, Angie F. M. Trotter.

July 19th @ The Writing Dreamer
Come by Jessica's blog where Professor Gore will be a guest writer and will be talking about how a workshop on screenwriting made her a better story writer.

July 22nd @ Just a Place to Drop My Thoughts
Stephanie will be reviewing Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well. Come by and see what she thought about this impactful book!

July 23rd @ Cassandra's Writing World
Check out Cassandra's blog to find out her thoughts on Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well. Professor Gore will also be discussing her thoughts on why attending conferences and workshops are worth the money (and how to make the best use of your time at one).

July 24th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog
Come by Anthony Avina's blog where he shares his thoughts on Professor Gore & Maestro Wilson's book All is Assuredly Well.

July 26th @ Author Anthony Avina Blog
Check out Anthony Avina's blog where he will be sharing Professor Gore's guest post on why she
selected Maestro Wilson as her co-author and how they worked together.

July 27th @ The Faerie Review
Come by Lily Shadowlyn's blog The Faerie Review where she reviews the book All is Assuredly Well.

July 28th @ The Faerie Review
Make sure to catch Lily's interview with author Professor Gore, one of the co-authors of All is Assuredly Well.

July 30th @ Books and Motivation
Come by Prakash Vir Sharma blog and read his interview with author Professor Gore.

July 30th @ The Faerie Review
Come by Lily's blog where author Professor Gore writes about fighting academic freedom after a student complained about Professor Gore's class material about LGBQT class material.

To win a copy of All is Assuredly Well, please leave a comment on this post by 12:00 midnight on August 22, 2018.  One winner will be selected at random. Book will be mailed from me to one winner in the US. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy by Erin Danielle Russell and Jennifer Hansen Rolli

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy 
by Erin Danielle Russell 
Illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli 
Published May, 2018
Alladin (Simon and Schuster)
40 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Kaylee loves pulling pranks: from dropping water balloons on passers by to even tricking Santa Claus, she’s a prize-winning prankster!
But is she the Princess of Pranks? No! That title is held by none other than the Tooth Fairy. But when Kaylee loses a tooth and the Tooth Fairy goes about her usual tooth-taking business, Kaylee pranks her with a fake frog. As Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy try to out-prank one another, things get way out of hand, until the two finally see eye and eye and decide to share the crown!

My Thoughts
It is really fun to watch Kaylee and the Tooth Fairy prank each other back and forth. Neither wants to be out-pranked so each prank getting messier and messier.  I do wish there had been a more dialogue between the two, but there is a bit of talking provided in speech bubbles. 
The illustrations are terrific. The characters are charming and include a variety of ethnicities. The Tooth Fairy is whimsical and glittery with pink hair and a silver dress. The cover has real sparkles and the end pages are gorgeous. 

Image from:

I wonder if this book would encourage kids to try to pull a prank the Tooth Fairy the next time they lose a tooth? 
I would recommend it for ages 4-8. 

Check out this book trailer!

See what others have to say about this book:

Visit the book's website

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Perfect Summer Trip Book: National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2019
Published May, 2018
by National Geographic Society
352 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
The world's best-selling almanac for kids is back and in demand! This year's includes the latest information about what's new and newsy in our world, special dates to anticipate, and fresh topics, and much more.

Have fun keeping up with our quickly changing world with the New York Times best-selling almanac, curated and created just for kids. It's packed with incredible photos; tons of fun facts, crafts, and activities; and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, and more. New features include an updated "Fun and Games" chapter filled with all-new games, jokes, and comics; all new weird-but-true facts; "19 Facts for 2019" feature in every chapter; updated reference material; and cool stuff on topics today's curious kids care about.

My Thoughts
As usual, this almanac is packed full of interesting information. It is organized into 11 sections like Your World 2019, Amazing Animals, Going Green, Wonders of Nature and Fun and Games. There is something for everyone. Information is presented in narratives, captions, stats, lists, charts and tables. Most sections have a quiz at the end so kids can test their knowledge. There are fun mazes, fill-ins, comics, jokes and puzzles as well. National Geographic has provided online resources such as downloads, games, and videos to accompany the almanac (I did not examine these resources). Of course, with over 500 pictures, this almanac is a visual feast for the eyes! 
I can see this book going on car trips and kids spouting off facts they learn or a funny joke they find. I would recommend this book for ages 8+. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs by Melissa Stewart and Stephanie Laberis

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs 
by Melissa Stewart 
Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
Expected publication Sept. 1, 2018
Peachtree Publishers
32 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Puny? Poky? Clumsy? Shy? A lighthearted look at the surprising traits that help some animals survive.
Written with a lively, playful voice, Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers introduces young readers to a variety of "animal underdogs" and explains how characteristics that might seem like weaknesses are critical for finding food and staying safe in an eat-or-be-eaten world.
Award-winning author Melissa Stewart offers readers a humorous and informative nonfiction picture book with a gentle message of understanding and celebrating differences. Stephanie Laberis's bright, bold--and scientifically accurate--illustrations add to the fun.

My Thoughts
Melissa Stewart has done it again! This nonfiction picture book is just wonderful. It is informative, interesting and witty. 
I learned a ton!
For example, did you know that sleeping a lot, is a survival behavior? Animals like koalas and armadillos need much less food because they are not as active. I also learned about a really stinky bird called a hoatzin who uses its stench to deter predators. 

Stewart effectively uses a variety of structures to present information. She often utilizes a question/answer structure to share information. I think students will find this format very appealing. 

The illustrations help to support the information. Stephanie Laberis has created critters that are animated, but seem real at the same time. They have a cuteness that will draw children in. 

I would definitely add this book to your nonfiction collection. I would recommend it most for ages 5-9

See what others have to say about this book:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature by Pavla Hanackova and Linh Dao

Amazing Animal Friendships: Odd Couples in Nature 
by Pavla Hanackova
Illustrated by Linh Dao
Published 2017
Book House
36 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

My Thoughts
Talk about cooperation! This book is chocked full of examples of ways that plants and animals rely on each other. 
Did you know...
Baboons and antelopes live help keep each other safe from predators? 
Aphids suck nectar from plants and often cannot absorb it all. The excess is released from their bodies and gobbled up by ants. 

The information in this book is presented in bite-sized chunks with accompanying adorable illustrations of animals and plants. Some animals are quite silly and speak in speech bubbles. 
Readers will learn content vocabulary such as mutualism, symbiosis, bacteria and many more. The book's organizational structure includes 2-page spreads depicting two animals or animal/plant combinations. The back matter consists of a short glossary and an index. 

Image from:

This book would make a nice addition to any library. I think students ages 7-10 would enjoy it most. 

See what others have to say about this book: Kirkus
Through the Looking Glass

Monday, July 9, 2018

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 9, 2018

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

Here is my reading from the past couple of weeks. Click on the book covers to learn more about the books. 


See review here.

Currently Reading

What are you reading friends?

Friday, July 6, 2018

Two Counting Books for Babies and Toddlers

10, 9, 8...Owls Up Late 
by Georgiana Deutsch
Published February, 2018
Silver Dolphin Books
Board Book
26 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Ten cheeky, bouncy, noisy owls are playing in a tree. It's bedtime, but they're having far too much fun to go to sleep! Uh-oh. Will Mummy Owl ever convince all her little owlets to fly down to the nest?

My Thoughts

Oh my gosh these owls are SO cute, but they are in no hurry to get to bed. Mama Owl keeps trying to get them to rest, but they always have an excuse to stay up. The book uses rich vocabulary on each page. Young readers will hear words such as chuckling, chortling, flittering, fluttering, and chittering to name a few. The rhyming and repetitive text offers a structure littles ones can learn as they read the story over and over again. Each little owl has its own look color pattern and they vary in size. Small speech bubbles are sprinkled in for a dose of dialogue. 
Little ones can count the owls in the cutouts and learn how numbers change when one is taken away. The board book is very sturdy and is just the right size for little hands. 
Image from:!/Georgiana-Deutsch/9781684121847

See what others have to say about this book:
The Parenting Patch
The Bookbag

Sesame Street: 5 Little Rubber Duckies
Published February, 2018
SFI Readerlink Dist
Board Book
12 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Join Ernie and his friends on Sesame Street as they try to find five little rubber duckies. With touch and trace elements perfect for little hands and plastic duckies to push and count along, this book is the perfect story time activity for early learners. 

My thoughts
Every kid loved Sesame Street characters. Combing their favorite characters and counting is a winning combination. Ernie's friends take turns borrowing his rubber duckies to play with. However, each time another character takes them, one seems to get misplaced. Finally all of them are missing and Ernie is sad. Then his 5 friends each return one duckie to him in the end. 
The rhyming, simple text is sure to be a hit with young readers. They will be able to count the duckies on each page and run their finger over the indented number on each page. They will also be exposed to subtraction and counting backwards. 

Another neat aspect of the book is the 5 little duckies at the top. These duckies can be moved to count, but will stay in the little box and be there for every page. I played with them and they moved very easily.
I would recommend 5 Little Rubber Duckies for babies and toddlers. 

See what others have to say about this book:

Thursday, July 5, 2018

In Your Shoes by Donna Gephart

In Your Shoes 
by Donna Gephart
Expected publication
October 30, 2018
Delacourte Books for Your Readers
336 pages
Realistic fiction
Review ebook obtained through Netgalley

Goodreads Summary
The critically acclaimed author of Lily and Dunkin delivers another heartfelt story that will remind readers you never know who needs a friend the most, about two imaginative tweens who help each other find new beginnings.
Miles is an anxious boy who loves his family's bowling center even if though he could be killed by a bolt of lightning or a wild animal that escaped from the Philadelphia Zoo on the way there.
Amy is the new girl at school who wishes she didn't have to live above her uncle's funeral home and tries to write her way to her own happily-ever-after.
Then Miles and Amy meet in the most unexpected way . . . and that's when it all begins. . . .

My Thoughts
In this middle grade novel, middle schoolers Miles and Amy are both dealing with many feelings of loss, grief, guilt, regret and fear. Amy, who has lost her mother, moves to a new town away from her best friend and her dog. She lives in a funeral home (the family business) and stays with her uncle during the week while her father is away studying at mortuary school. 
Miles has lost his grandmother who loved the family bowling alley as much as Miles. He also goes through more difficult times later in the book. Miles has a lot of anxiety and feels that if he worries about enough, then maybe he can prevent bad things from happening. He has a couple of great friends, Randall, his best friend suffers with asthma and loves to bowl, even if he just ends up losing money in bets against Miles. Then there is his friend Tate who is also Randall's girlfriend. Tate is a likable, spunky character who befriends Amy and makes her start to feel a bit more comfortable. 
Miles and Amy develop a cute and perfectly awkward tween relationship with shy smiles, blushing and even a game of spin the bottle. 
Since Amy likes to write, the reader is treated to the fictional story Amy is writing about a girl locked in a castle tower and a prince who struggles to feel accepted. 

I think many students will enjoy this story. Kids in grades 5-8 will especially appreciate the angst of being a preteen and navigating the challenges of friendships,  family dynamics, and romantic crushes. 

See what others have to say about this book.