Wednesday, October 1, 2014

THE LITTLE BOY AND THE SEA by Lazarus Infinity

The Little Boy and the Sea

Four short pieces (not illustrated), each one about a boy and his family (a mom in two stories, a dad in another and a grandmother in the fourth) and a life lesson (making others happy, believing in yourself, caring for others, being a loving person). Most of the stories lead back to a faith message about Jesus. The Jesus references do not mention the crucifixion but instead focus on Jesus as the Son of God, coming to teach us to "be good" and care for others so we can be with him in Heaven. E-book format only at this time.

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BELCHES, BURPS, AND FARTS, OH MY! by Artie Bennett

Belches, Burps, and Farts-Oh My!

A funny book with rhyming text all about burps, belches and farts. Includes facts about why we burp and fart both in the content of the book and also in the end notes. I got a kick out of reading this to my husband; I know students will love this, too. I can't imagine reading it out loud to a class, though, because the cackling might make it hard to do more than a page or two at a time.

4 out of 5 stars
No AR reading level at this time


* I received an electronic copy of this book from the author for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, September 29, 2014

BIRD & SQUIRREL ON ICE by James Burks

Bird & Squirrel on Ice

Bird and Squirrel crash into an ice mountain and discover a village of penguins being terrorized by a huge whale eating all the fish they can catch (Think "A Bug's Life" with penguins instead of ants). The penguins believe Bird is the Chosen One, come to rescue the village.

This was a lot of fun to read - a great graphic novel I know my students will love! Themes include friendship, ego, destiny, the needs of the many vs. the needs of the one, and sacrifice. This, and it's predecessor, Bird & Squirrel on the Run , would make a great addition to any home or classroom library.

4 out of 5 stars
No AR reading level at the time of this writing.

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, September 26, 2014

FINDING RUBY STARLING by Karen Rivers

Finding Ruby Starling

Ruth Quayle is playing around with pictures of herself online when she finds pictures of her face - but she knows she is not the girl in the pictures. That girl is Ruby Starling, and she lives in England. But why does she look exactly like Ruth?

I really enjoyed this story told through emails between these two girls and their families and friends. Emotions are expressed honestly about a confusing situation, although maybe more poetically and maturely expressed than you might expect from such young characters. Themes include identity, family, and truth. There is also a Buddhist aspect to the story.

4.5 out of 5 stars
No AR reading level at the time of this writing.

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IF YOU'RE READING THIS by Trent Reedy

If You're Reading This

Mike Wilson's dad was killed in the war in Afghanistan when Mike was a boy. Now he's almost 16, and he has a lot of questions. His life has been difficult and platitudes about how his dad was a "hero" are empty when Mike doesn't know how his dad died. Then the letters start coming - letters Mike's dad wrote to him from Afghanistan in anticipation of Mike's 16th birthday and offering advice and challenges in case his dad never made it home.

This was lovely. Mike is a great character - hard working, responsibly, with deep questions. He's trying to figure out life without his dad around and with his mom facing her own struggles. I've never been part of a family walking through deployment or losing a loved one to war, but the description seemed reasonable and realistic. The story is intense and emotional but not so detailed as to be too much for teen readers. Themes include racial tension, a budding romance, bullying, team, identity, family and responsibility.

4.5 out of 5 stars
AR Reading level of 4.6
AR Interest level of Middle Grade + (Middle school and up)

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, September 22, 2014

GOODNIGHT FOOTBALL by Michael Dahl

Goodnight Football

A family enjoys an evening football game.

This was so cute! The text is fairly simple. The illustrations are lovely, with great color. There's no definition of the football terms (sack, third and one, end zone); it is not an informational text (but it could have been with a little tweaking). The goal was obviously to write a goodnight story and an ode to football, family and fun at the game. The family at the center of the story seems to be African-American, and the crowd illustrations show some diversity. Bottom line: This is a cozy lap book, perfect for football season. It would work for fans of high school, college and/or professional football.

4 out of 5 stars
AR Reading level of 1.8

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, September 19, 2014

LEROY NINKER SADDLES UP by Kate DiCamillo

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One

Leroy Ninker, reformed thief from the Mercy Watson series, is a cowboy in need of a horse - and he finds Maybelline through a newspaper ad. She may be old and missing some teeth, but Leroy loves her. There are three rules to life with Maybelline, though, and there will be trouble if Leroy forgets them.

Cute story that will appeal to fans of the Mercy Watson series as well as readers who are ready for illustrated transitional chapter books. My students who have been begging for more Mercy Watson stories will be pleased to get this in our library.

3 out of 5 stars
AR Reading level of 3.7

* I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher for free in the hope that I would review it honestly on my blog. Regardless, I only review books I enjoyed. I don’t believe in passing on negative reviews. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.