The Most Magnificent Thing

by Ashley Spires
published by Kids Can Press

 

This picture book by Ashley Spires, is so adorable { I know almost all picture books are, but this book is definitely one that is!} First off the age range listed is preschool through grade 2. However I think it lends itself for going beyond 2nd grade. It would be a great read aloud since the message is a good one.

The story follows “the girl” and her best friend in the whole wide world her dog. “the girl” does everything with the dog. One day she gets this inspiration in her head and sets out to create it. Have you ever done that get this thought/vision in your head and try to create it. Some how they always look better in my head than when I create them. This is also the case for “the girl” the problem is she is a perfectionist so it has to be perfect. Along the way she discards just everything and almost quits!

After a melt down of all melt downs, a good cry, a nice long walk the mad feelings go away and she starts over. She she leaves all her other designs and sets out 1 more time.The people along the street where she has created these creations have stopped to check them out and realize they can use them. In the end she is able to create something close to what she wanted to make in the first place. She persevered and didn’t quit, she maybe even let go of a teeny tiny bit of her perfectionist personality and her and her assistant set out on The Most Magnificent Thing!

Lights, Camera, Middle School! BabyMouse Tales from the Locker

Series: BabyMouse

by Jennifer L Holm

illustrated by Mathew Holm

 

 

*** On Sale Now***

For Babymouse, middle school is like a monster movie. You can never be sure who’s a friend and who’s an enemy, and the halls are filled with mean-girl zombies. Instead of brains, the zombies hunger for stuff—the perfect wedge sandals or the right shade of sparkly lip gloss—and they expect everyone to be just like them.

But Babymouse doesn’t want to fit in—she wants to stand out! 

 

 

I’ve read BabyMouse graphic novels, picture books and now a chapter book. Guess you can say I’m a big BabyMouse fan. I just love the writing style whether it is a graphic novel, picture book or this chapter book the writing just flows so well. The stories really capture you and hold your interest and the pictures just enhance the story so much.  This book has it all the chapter book story and graphic novel illustrations. It will appeal to both girl and boy middle grade readers. BabyMouse and her group of friends are likable and realistic. They are not perfect they fight – mess up – get their feelings hurt and navigate through school, family and friendship just like the reader does. Middle school can be tough and scary at times. They have left the safe nest of elementary school and trying to spread their wings a little and testing how just what they like as a big kid and what they might be good at. I know my soon to be middle school reader can’t wait to see that is offered club wise at her middle school. BabyMouse knows what she wants to try film club. She can direct and write her first film for the whole school to see. She has a great group of friends to help her out and even the schools best actors to act in it. Now if only she doesn’t let all the fame and attention go to her head. Sadly she does have a lapse of judgement and makes quite a few great supporters upset. Can she fix the mess she has created before friendships are ruined and can’t go back to the way things were? Grab a copy of Lights, Camera, Middle School! to find out. We really loved this middle grade book and hope there will be more middle grade adventures to come.

 

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers, Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm for allowing my middle grade reader and I read this adorable chapter book. We hope there will be more tales from the locker to come. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book. 

Meet the Chapter Books

I had the chance to read some great little beginning chapter books for the lower to mid elementary age readers. These are cute and have illustrations so they would also be a good introduction into longer books for even the young listener from preschool up. When I introduced both my readers to chapter books we started off with small beginner ones. That made it really fun when they finally reached the phase where they were no longer the listener but now the reader. It was something familiar and loved so it made reading on their own for the first time not so scary and they were so proud.

 

The Kid from Planet Z: Crash! by Nancy Krulik illustrated by Louis Thomas

about the book: When Zeke Zander’s spaceship crashes on Earth, he and his family must pretend to be humans until they can fix the ship and return home to Planet Z. But with antennae on their heads and a talking cat named Zeus, fitting in is easier said than done!

This was the first of the 3 I read and it was adorable! It would be perfect for any preschool through mid elementary aged bookworm who has just recently moved and will be starting a new school or even a soon to be kindergarten aged child who is starting school for the first time. Zeke Zander and his family are from Planet Z they didn’t mean to crash here but they did and until they get their spaceship fixed they have to act like they are humans from planet earth. Zeke is not to happy when he finds out he has to be a second grader and attend school. This is all new to him and he is scared of not fitting in and be found out he is different and an alien. He soon learns all about all things earth kids and even makes some friends along the way. The head of the Zander family is their cat Zeus, see on Planet Z the cats are smarter than the aliens. I got the idea that Zeus was very much liking being a lazy earth cat and was in no hurry to fix the spaceship. My favorite line in the book is so true, on page 59 Zeus the cat says: “Exactly, Zeus purred. Because cats are always in charge, no matter what planet they are on.” Well said Zeus! I can’t wait to read more adventures from Planet Z. I know the kids at my elementary school are going to love this fun book!

Bea Garcia: The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil written and illustrated by Deborah Zemke

about the book:  Bea Garcia wants to impress her brainy new friend by excelling at the geography contest, but her talents lie elsewhere and she learns that the best way to make friends is by being herself.

The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil tackles the subject of how we all have our strength’s and they might be different from another classmates. It doesn’t mean they have a magical pencil or something just that they are good in a certain subject or talent. This book also tackles how it feels when your best friend moves away and you’re looking for a new friend at school. My favorite part was when Bea found out that Einstein wasn’t perfect and her pencil wasn’t magical and filled with all the right answers. Einstein just studied a lot and hard. This is another great first day / week of school chapter book that would be a quick read aloud for a classroom or home setting as well as an easy beginning chapter book for the beginning reader.

The Escapades of Clint McCool: Octoman and the Headless Monster by Jane Kelley illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner

about the book: Clint McCool always has a lot of great ideas. That’s what makes him such a great hero. But sometimes he has too many great ideas. Armed with his super-powered cap, his brain flashes, and his two best friends, Clint is ready to solve any problem and find adventure anywhere. When he runs onto a film set, he gets into trouble. A lot of trouble. Can Clint McCool still save the day?

Walter aka: Clint McCool is a boy who thinks before he leaps. He isn’t a bad kid he just gets into fixes. What we call trouble he calls escapades. It also kinda seemed like his mom and 2 friends Marco and M.L. let him get by with it. They didn’t really speak up and say hey slow down, let’s think things through. I expect that from the kids but not the parents. All that being said Clint is a lot of boys and girls from youngster to adult. I can really see some of the elementary kid readers really enjoying Clint McCool books and being a hit with those readers. It was a fun story with lots of great pictures and I enjoyed it, just the planner in me was thinking no you got to think it all out before you do something. 🙂

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers for sending me this trio of beginning chapter books. I can’t wait to share them with the elementary students when school starts back. 

Doctor Who (meets Mr Men and Little Miss)

originated by Roger Hargreaves

written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves

I have to say I’ve never actually read or even looked at a Mr Men or Little Miss book. I guess when my bookworms were little they never grabbed copies from the library. I don’t remember having them in my Pre-K classroom but I might have that was a very very long time ago. I am a huge Doctor Who fan – well I’m a big David Tennant and Matt Smith as the Doctor fan.  I started watching when the 9th Doctor came on and while he was OK I was happy when he made the switch. Anyway back to these cute books.

I was sent Dr First – Dr Fourth – Dr Eleventh and Dr Twelfth. I really wish they had a Dr Tenth but oh well maybe it will be in the works. These books are made for Dr Who fans from older readers to adult. While they are picture books I’m not sure they would hold the younger picture book readers and listeners attention. I really love the Dr Eleventh book the most. The author really captured Matt Smith’s characters personality and I could hear his voice and River Songs as I was reading. We have this on display with our adipose, Tenth and Eleventh doctors wands and the Tardis.  While I read the First, Fourth and Twelfth there wasn’t the connection of watching and loving them for me. I still enjoyed the books but missed that connection to the story. We kept the Dr Eleventh book and passed on the other 3 to a big Dr Who fan we know. 🙂 They were really happy and loved them very much.

If you know of a big Dr Who fan that has loved them through all the long years these little books would be perfect for them. They would really enjoy them and they would be cute in a Dr Who display.

Thank you so much BBC and Penguin Young Readers for sending us these 4 Dr Who books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Hello Kitty Storybook Collection

by LTD. Sanrio Company

Hello Kitty meets children’s classics in picture book form! This series is so cute from Alice to Thumbelina to the Little Mermaid and more. This is a cute way to introduce your young bookworms to the classics and the adorable sweet character Hello Kitty. I have a soft spot for all things Hello Kitty and I love a good classic from picture books to chapter books. The Hello Kitty Storybook Collection is a win win in my book and perfect for birthday gifts to baby shower gifts. Yes Hello Kitty is more of a girl character but I gifted the books to my neighbor that has a 6 year old girl and 2 year old boy and she told me their little boy loves them just as much as his little sister. So I think it’s safe to say boys will enjoy these just as much as a girl. The stories in this series are very “Disney” like re-tellings not the darker re-tellings you’d get if you read the originals. While I’m a big fan of the darker original classics it is always nice to have a book you can introduce to the younger set that needs the sweet story. Later on you can introduce them to The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christen Anderson, Lewis Carroll and more…

 

Alice’s Adventures In WonderlandOne day while picnicking with her twin sister, Mimmy, Hello Kitty falls asleep and dreams of a faraway land of tarts and queens and tea parties . . .

ThumbelinaHello Kitty is having the wildest dream! In it, she’s tiny—no bigger than your thumb—gets kidnapped by a frog, spends the winter with a mole, and is rescued by a bird. Fortunately, she wakes up just in time to get to the ball and dance with the handsome prince.

Read my review of Hello Kitty Storybook Collection: Little Red Riding Hood and The Little Mermaid

Thank you so very much Abrams Appleseed for allowing me to review Hello Kitty: Presents the Storybook Collection: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Thumbelina. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Independence Cake

A Revolutionary Confection Inspired by Amelia Simmons, Whose True History is Unfortunately Unknown

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Giselle Potter

 

 

Independence Cake introduced me to a historical figure that I had never heard of Amelia Simmons. She is the author of the very first cookbook in America called American Cookery. I love a good cookbook and just think she is what has inspired many to publish their own cookbook. She was revolutionary in 1796 to have a cookbook when to be honest I bet this was pretty unheard of. Deborah Hopkinson created a fictionalized account of Amelia Simmons life since very very little is known about her. Amelia’s cookbook was very popular and reprinted for 30 years after the first printing. This picture book would be a neat one to read to a budding chef to inspire them to maybe create their very own cookbook. I enjoyed reading her fictionalized biography of sorts and was happy to learn about an unknown historical figure.

summary: Master of the historical fiction picture book Deborah Hopkinson takes us back to late eighteenth-century America and the discombobulated home of Mrs. Bean, mother of six strapping sons, who simply can’t manage—until Amelia Simmons arrives and puts things in order. And how well she cooks—everything from flapjacks to bread pudding to pickled cucumbers! She even invents new recipes using American ingredients like winter squash. Best of all, she can bake, and to honor the brand-new president, George Washington, she presents him with thirteen Independence Cakes—one for each colony. “Delicious!” he proclaims. Author’s Note and original recipe included!

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Giselle Potter  for sending me a copy of Independence Cake. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

A Letter to My Teacher

by Deborah Hopkinson

illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

 

 

A Letter to My Teacher is the perfect gift for that special teacher that goes above and beyond their teaching job. This is for all those who really inspire and do everything to make sure each student feels special and that they can achieve anything in school. If you are looking for a wonderful heartwarming end of school year gift for one of those special teachers this year or future years than add this sweet picture book to your gift idea list. You might want to add a box of tissues to the gift bag since it might cause a few happy tears to form while reading it. Have your child add a dedication on the front cover and you have given them a very sweet touching gift.

About the Book: Dear Teacher, Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter. So begins this picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning and the teacher who gently inspires her. From stomping through creeks on a field trip to pretending to choke when called upon to read aloud, this book’s young heroine would be a challenge to any teacher. But this teacher isn’t just any teacher. By listening carefully and knowing just the right thing to say, she quickly learns that the girl’s unruly behavior is due to her struggles with reading. And at the very end, we learn what this former student is now: a teacher herself.

Thank you Deborah Hopkinson and Nancy Carpenter for sending me a copy of A Letter to My Teacher. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.