Christmas series by Matt Haig

Matt Haig writes books for all ages from this Christmas series for the older elementary reader to adult books. The Christmas series tells the story of Father Christmas AKA Santa Claus. The Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas to me read more for the older reader. I’m thinking mid to upper elementary. If your younger bookworm wants to read these books I suggest reading them yourself first to decide if they are a-okay for your child. I would have given these to my 3rd grader if they had come out at the time since she was already reading a collection of Grimms fairy tales, these 2 books would have been right up her alley. There are some intense times through out both books and some sensitive readers might find it a bit scary. For me personally I LOVED these books! They were funny at times, a bit dark and creepy at times – thinking Tim Burton would have a hay day with making these into movies. I loved that the darker parts were a bit Dickens -esque , I mean have you read some of the Victorian classics they are dark even the kids books are. I loved reading what could possibly be the read story of Father Christmas I mean who knows what he went through to become the great guy that we all still talk about. 🙂 The Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas would be a fun set of books to read this holiday season. Pop some popcorn, make some cocoa, snuggle under the blankets and get wrapped up in some great holiday reading!

The Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig – illustrated by Chris Mould

Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. 

Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

by Matt Haig – illustrated by Chris Mould

Amelia Wishart was the first child ever to receive a Christmas present. It was herChristmas spirit that gave Santa the extra boost of magic he needed to make his first trip around the world. But now Amelia is in trouble.

When her mother falls ill, she is sent to the workhouse to toil under cruel Mr. Creeper. For a whole year, Amelia scrubs the floors and eats watery gruel, without a whiff of kindness to keep her going. It’s not long before her hope begins to drain away.

Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, magic levels dip dangerously low as Christmas approaches, and Santa knows that something is gravely wrong. With the help of his trusty reindeer, a curious cat, and Charles Dickens, he sets out to find Amelia, the only girl who might be able to save Christmas. But first Amelia must learn to believe again. . . .

Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me copies of these great books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

If you and your bookworm really love these 2 as much as I did you might want to check out their other one called Father Christmas and Me.  These one looks like it might have been a England or Europe only release. I wish I could have read it right along with these 2 books. I might have to nab a copy since it sounds just as great as the others.

LET THE BATTLE FOR CHRISTMAS BEGIN

It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.

For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs everyday – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold.

But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late . . .

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Small Walt

by Elizabeth Verdick

illustrated by Marc Rosenthal

 

A tiny snowplow determined to prove his worth battles a blizzard in this supremely charming story.  Small Walt and his driver, Gus, take on a blizzard! All the bigger snowplows doubt that Walt has what it takes to plow the roads in the storm, but Walt is determined to prove them wrong.

 

 

 

Small Walt is very reminiscent to The Little Engine that Could  and Katy and the Big Snow. Small Walt follows a street cleaner as he drives the smallest snow plow around the city to clean the streets during a blizzard. Kids that live in areas that have snow plows will love this book. The big snow plows don’t think a small plow can do the same works as them since he is so small. They laugh at him and no one wants to drive him. Gus comes along decides to take Walt for the plowing that night. The book flows their adventures as they clear the streets.  This book would be really fun for a winter story  time or class read aloud. I can just hear little ones chanting the verse “My name is Walt. I plow and salt. They say I’m small, but I’ll show them all.” 

The story is sweet and shows that just because your little you can still be mighty and do things that many big kids and adults don’t think you can. If you believe and don’t give up just think of all the things you can do. The illustrations have a very vintage fill of old picture books. I really enjoyed them and they fall into the frame-able picture book illustrations for me. Over all this is  the perfect picture book to have out for some fun winter reading and sure to become a classic!

The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs

by Linda Fairstein

 

 

 

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.

After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie’s found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn’t the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers.

This is a first Devlin Quick book I’ve read by Linda Fairstein. I’ve read her adult books and liked them so I thought I should definitely give her middle grade mystery series a chance. Devlin Quick is a spunky quick-witted girl who not only likes to solve a good mystery but knows the ins and outs of solving a mystery. She has learned from the best Commander Quick her mom the first Police Commander of the NYC police force. So you could say detective – police work runs in the family. She has a great partner in her best friend Katie and between the 2 of them nothing goes unsolved. The writing and characters are very well developed and while this is book 2 in the series I feel they are also stand alone. I have not read the first book but was able to jump right into this book and not once felt like I was missing something that I should know.  This book revolves around a dinosaur dig in the upper midwest of Montana and possible poachers. These poachers come onto a dig in the middle of the night and take the biggest and best dinosaur bones to sell to collectors and museums. What they do is not only illegal but not fair in the fact that they are ruining all the work the excavation team of Paleontologist and their workers are doing. Devlin Quick thinks for this dig it just might be paleontologist Steve’s right hand man who is helping the poachers on this dig site. Can Devlin Quick and her trusty helpers solve the mystery before any more bones go missing? Grab a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs to find out.

This book would appeal to mid to upper elementary through middle grade readers who are venturing into mysteries for the first time as well as seasoned mystery readers. While the 2 main characters are girls I think some boys might enjoy this as well as girl readers. It’s hard for me to judge since I only girl readers in my house but I can see my nephew’s reading this one and enjoying it. I will be reading the first in the series The Devlin Quick Mysteries Into the Lion’s Den since I enjoyed this one so much. I say add this to your holiday gift buying list and gift the mystery series to a bookworm you know would really enjoy this fun book series.

Thank you so much Dial Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House of sending me a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

by Lucy Strange

Publication Date: October 31,2017

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1919. Henry has moved to the countryside with her parents and her baby sister, Piglet – all still scarred by the death of her brother. Alone in her head, she begins to explore her surroundings, encouraged by her only friends – characters from her favourite books. Nobody much notices when she wanders into the woods at the bottom of the garden and meets Moth, a striking witch-like woman. Together they form a bond that could help Henry save her family.

This book turned out to be nothing like I expected. I was expecting a sweet little fairy tale like book. Don’t get me wrong it is a sweet fairy tale like book but it is also so much more. What I read was a sad haunting book  that will stay with me. I loved every minute of this and wish I didn’t reading it all in one setting, I didn’t want it to end. Henry (Henrietta) was such a strong spunky girl who just wanted her family back to the way it was before the accident. Henry is lonely and has a very active imagination and curiosity. She ask questions, ones the adults don’t want to answer and think she is too young to understand or should be asking. Henry is a big believer in books and fairy tales, all my favorite children’s classics were mentioned through out this lovely book. She meets a “witch” in the woods, just like the books she reads. However Moth isn’t a witch at all just a sad grieving woman who befriends Henry and believes in her when no one else does. The two end up being just what each other needs to help them start healing from the past.  The Abbott family has a long road to travel before they are all better but if they can get back together as a family they just might make it after all. This book tackles many issues from grief, family drama, wartime England, Hope and finding ones true self and voice in the face of despair. This book is for ages 10+ but I really think it will capture readers of all ages. This will be my number 1 book for 2017.  I just can’t imagine reading anything I will enjoy more this year than The Secret of Nightingale Wood!

Thank you so very much Chicken House books and Scholastic for sending me this amazing book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free copy of The Secret of Nightingale Wood.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by Erika L Sanchez

 

 

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. 

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

This story started off with me not liking Julia at all. I can get her attitude after everything that has happened except she was this abrasive before the accident. She had the biggest chip on her shoulder and was going to make sure to make everyone around her as miserable as she is.  Then the book started to develop a little more and I was starting to understand Julia, her family and the heartache they are going through. Personally I don’t like to read and usually don’t finish books where a child dies. They are just to hard and a mom’s worse nightmare. While this wasn’t a favorite book of mine I think I just might not have been the best reader for this one.  I just got done reading a book where the family unravels after the older sister dies unexpectedly so very similar in plots. So maybe it was just a little to familiar, even though they were very different in characters and writing styles. I liked that it had a very diverse cast of characters. I liked how the author depicted mental illness and how people grieve differently when a loved one passes away. I’m glad I read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. I will say this is a pretty dark contemporary YA novel and not one I would like my middle grade reader read. So many YA’s are ok for middle grade readers as well, this is not one. It has some pretty tough  to understand issues that the younger reader would not understand .  I say give it a chance start reading this, it might just capture you and keep you reading.

Thank you Knopf  Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

How To Catch A Monster

by Adam Wallace

illustrated by Andy Elkerton

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There’s a monster in my closet,

with claws, and teeth, and hair,

and tonight, I’m going to scare him!

He lives just right through there…

Get ready to laugh as a young ninja heads into the closet to meet the monster that’s been so scary night after night! But what if things aren’t what they seem and our monster isn’t scary at all? What if our ninja hero is about to make a friend of strangest sort?

 

What child doesn’t think there is a monster in their closet or under their bed at some point. I know I did and I know my girls did. This picture book tackles that with some laugh out loud results. The boy in the story has just landed the role as a ninja in his school play and he is going to use that costume and new skills to catch that monster. The book is funny and perfect for read aloud. Be ready for some uncontrolled laughing when the monster passes gas and it smells like strawberries and lime. The story was funny and will hold the attention of the youngest listener through lower elementary aged kids. The illustrations were bright, cheery and eye catching. Overall this picture book is just as cute as can be and I think it would be a great gift idea for any little bookworm.

Thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for allowing me to be a part of the How To Catch A Monster spotlight post. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Baby Boo, I Love You

by Sheryl Haft

illustrated by Jane Massey

Baby Boo, I Love You enrichment guide

 

 

 

Little ones love playing with their dolls! Celebrate that love with Baby-Boo, I Love You, and follow one imaginative little girl who adores playing mommy. And as she bathes, feeds, and frolics with her doll, she emulates a nurturing parent-child relationship, showing the universal joys of being cared for and cherished. 

 

 

This picture book is perfect for all those little ones out there who have that special lovey whether it’s a doll or stuffed animal. They love, care for and nurture that sweet lovey and take it everywhere. The book explores this with a little girl and her special doll. I also think this might be a good picture book for a young toddler or early preschooler who is getting ready to become a big brother or sister soon. Pair Baby Boo, I Love You with a special lovey and you’ve got a great I’m a big brother/sister gift. For us we took our oldest to Build A Bear she picked out her special animal after we had her little sister (who isn’t so little anymore. Where do the years go). The author has come up with a great enrichment activity guide with some fun simple stuff to do. This would be a fun bonding time for the older sibling when sometimes they feel a little left out. Overall I really thought this picture book was sweet and will remember it when I have a baby shower or new baby gift to give.

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers and  Nancy Paulsen Books for sending me a copy of Baby Boo, I Love You. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.