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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE FOURTEENTH GOLDFISH by Jennifer L. Holm

The Fourteenth Goldfish

Ellie is entering middle school when a teenage family member moves into her house - her grandfather. A scientist, Melvin has figured out how to turn himself from a 77-year-old man to a 13-year-old boy. And living with him introduces Ellie to her passion - science.

This book is lovely. It's about family. It's about aging, the cycle of life, the beauty and consequences of science. It's about identity and finding your passion. Ellie is a wonderful, insightful character. She shows great observation of her experiences and the things happening around her.

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.

Monday, September 15, 2014

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON by Tracey West

Dragon Masters #1: Rise of the Earth Dragon (A Branches Book)

Drake is taken from his family home to be a dragon master. But his dragon can't do what the others do. Bo's dragon is Shu who can spew water. Ana's dragon is Kepie who emits light. Rori's dragon, Vulcan, is huge, strong and spits fire. Drake's dragon, Worm, looks like a snake and doesn't fly or anything.  But Drake may be more powerful than any other dragon master and Worm has secret of his own, too.

I enjoyed this addition to the Branches line of colorful, illustrated transitional chapter books for developing readers. I believe my students will enjoy this one - a great dragon story for readers not quite ready for the Wings of Fire series. Essentially, this is a pet story, and it's a great one. Book 2 releases in November 2014 and Book 3 releases in February 2015.

4 out of 5 stars

Dragon Masters #2: Saving the Sun Dragon (A Branches Book)   Dragon Masters #3: Secret of the Water Dragon (A Branches Book)

* 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 12, 2014

THE FAIRY-TALE MATCHMAKER by E. D. Baker

The Fairy-Tale Matchmaker

Cory Feathering discovers that being a tooth fairy is just not her calling. She knows she wants to be a help to others but she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. While she tries a variety of odd jobs in search of her calling, the tooth fairy guild gets nastier and nastier in their efforts to force her back into their employ.

For a long time as I read this, I wondered where the "matchmaker" part was going to come in, but that didn't materialize until close to the end. The rest of the story was a great introduction, though, to Cory and her friends, family and community. I liked Cory's desire to help others and her perseverance with the guild business and with her efforts to fix difficult situations. There is a love story as a minor part of the plot. I have enjoyed other books by this author, and I would read more from this series.

4 out of 5 stars
This book releases on October 7, 2014.

* 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 10, 2014

SISTERS by Raina Telgemeier

Sisters

Raina, her sister, brother and their mom drive from California to Colorado and back for a family reunion. Includes flashbacks to previous moments in Raina's life like Raina's desire for a little sister, and what it's like when she gets her wish.

I received an electronic Advanced Reader Copy of this from the publisher. The art was not in color in my version. This is a family story all about siblings, parents and children, extended family, and growing up. My students have been clamoring for this since May - and they won't be disappointed. I know I am going to need multiple copies to keep them satisfied!

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.

Monday, September 8, 2014

WHO WAS ULYSSES S. GRANT? by Megan Stine and WHO WAS ROBERT E. LEE? by Bonnie Bader

Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?   Who Was Robert E. Lee?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these this summer! The book on Grant included fun background information about Grant's name and an interesting connection to Abe Lincoln and Ford's theater. The book on Lee described his conflicted feelings about the Civil War, loyalty to his home in Virginia, and a fascinating story about his citizenship after the war. I think these books should go together as if in a set. Great additions to a classroom, home, or school library. Especially interesting in classrooms that study these two figures in history and/or the Civil War.

Four out of five stars on both books
No AR reading level at the time of this writing