The Pumpkin War

by Cathleen Young



The Pumpkin War was an entertaining book. You get a full on lesson on how to grow pumpkins the size of a boat, how to take care of bees and even some information on Einstein. In many ways this fiction book was also a STEM book. It also has family diversity the main character Billie is part Irish and part Ojibwe Indian. Many of the other characters are from other countries and I love that aspect. Billie is not a likable character, she was actually a complete and utter brat. Usually that turns me off when I’m reading especially when it’s elementary/ middle grade books. The author hooked me though with the great cast of characters and her little sister is just adorable! Sam is trying to keep the friendship alive with Billie and every one is on his side but Billie can’t let go what she believes happens when she lost to him during the great pumpkin race the year before. Does she really know what happened? Has time and her anger at loosing to Sam made a new narrative in her mind? Can she finally let go of her anger or does she risk losing not only her oldest friend but her other friends as well?

About the book: Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race, when his pumpkin crashed into hers as she was about to cross the finish line, and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin, and beat Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins, since weather, bugs and other critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.

Thank you Random House for sending me a copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.


Amelia Fang series

by Laura Ellen Anderson

If you are looking for an entertaining upper elementary school book series about a family of vampires living in Nocturnia then look no further than Amelia Fang. Amelia’s town of Nocturnia has some unusual neighbors from a yeti to a grim reaper Amelia’s age. This book series is fun to read not matter what the season but I think it is perfect reading for fall and Halloween season. There are a few things I would like to point out: There is some bullying and at times the parents seem more involved in their own life and pleasing others then helping out their daughter Amelia. There are some creatures that are called names but in the end they are accepted for who they are. If you have any concerns like any book read it before handing it to your reader. If your reader loved the Isadora Moon books and have gotten older than they will really enjoy Amelia Fang. Would I recommend this series to others? Yes and I wish this series was around when my girls were the age group for this series.

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball: Meet Amelia Fang.

She loves playing Goblin Tag, and cuddling her pet pumpkin, Squashy. She hates going to her mum and dad’s boring Barbaric Ball. Oh, and one more thing – Amelia is a vampire.

When the spoilt prince of Nocturnia captures Squashy, Amelia must plan a daring rescue. But things in the Kingdom of the Dark may not be all they seem…

Join Amelia on her first abominable adventure. She won’t bite!


Amelia Fang and the Unicorns of Glitteropolis: Amelia Fang is the biggest hearted vampiress you’ll ever meet. In this adventure, she and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST), Grimaldi the Death and Prince Tangine (reformed spoiled sprout), along with her pet pumpkin Squashy, must brave the journey to the terrifying Kingdom of the Light to try to find Tangine’s missing mother, Queen Fairyweather.

But with unicorns, fairies and angel-kittens lurking around every corner, who can they trust? And will they finally uncover the real villain keeping the kingdoms of Light and Dark as mortal enemies?

Join Amelia on her latest adventure. She won’t bite!

Thank you Delcorte Books for Young Readers and Random House for sending me the Amelia Fang books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Magic on the Map {series}

by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky

illustrated by Stevie Lewis

The Magic On the Map series is new series with just 2 books out at this time. It follows twins Finn and Molly Parker. Their dad bought a RV camper but not just any plain old RV this is a magical RV. While their parents are sleeping on the first night they go to check it out more. The camper has a cool PET system and they go on an adventure.  This could be classified as a USA geography book series and many say it’s a younger not as magical Magic Treehouse. I think I’d be okay with that description. While you learn a lot of neat facts about the state the twins are transported to that is about it. The illustrations look like pencil sketches and there is no color so shades of blackish brown.  I think this would be a  hit with young readers who like geography. Overall I don’t know if they will be popular at my school library but we will see.  I think this is a good fit for younger elementary readers ranging from 1st through 3rd grade.

Magic on the Map: Let’s Mooove! On the last day of second grade, twins Spencer and Maggie Parker come home from school to find a camper van in their driveway. And not just any camper; a magic camper that can transport them to every state in the continental US. This is perfect for Maggie, who loves geography and is a star student, and for Spencer, who’s been failing his geography quizzes and could use the real life extra credit.

Together, the twins travel to a surprising new place–the rolling fields of Colorado! There they get suited up in cowboy gear, eat a hearty breakfast in the Mess Hall, and join a cattle drive. But when the group takes a moment to rest, the ranch’s prized cow, Snowflake, is stolen by a band of rogue cowboys. The twins must discover how to work together in order to save Snowflake, and find their way home again.

Magic on the Map: The Show Must Go On After returning home from a cattle drive in the rolling fields of Colorado, twins Spencer and Maggie Parker think they must have been dreaming. The camper that showed up in their driveway on the last day of second grade couldn’t possibly be magic. There’s no way a camper can transport them to every state in the continental US… or is there?

Needing to know if it was all in their head, the twins sneak out to test the camper’s abilities, and end up in the middle of Times Square in New York City! There they run into super-star Hallie Hampton, who needs their help on a scavenger hunt around the city. If the twins can help Hallie complete the hunt before curtain call, she’ll give them two tickets to her debut on Broadway. But the hunt might not be the only thing the twins need to do to help Hallie and find their way home again.

Thank you Random House for sending me the first 2 Magic On the Map books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Survivor Diaries {series}

by Terry Lynn Johnson

This is a quick to read book series that has a lot of action and adventure. This series might be great for reluctant readers and appeals to both boys and girls. At the end of each book you have many pages filled with survival tips, information on the topic at hand and websites to check out for more information if your curious. The books are told from the viewpoint of the kids that survived. The series has a website that comes with downloadable cards and a game as well as curriculum you can use in the classroom. However the game really isn’t a game but more of a quiz to test your knowledge on surviving an avalanche.


Avalanche! tells the story of twins Ashley and Ryan who get trapped and taken off course after they survive an avalanche. Ashley is the one retelling the story on how she was able to keep Ryan and her alive and get them to the trail where they could be found. They encounter a bear and wolverine, harsh conditions and injuries. Through it all they were able to push through with the grit and fight just like  the wolverine they saw.

Lost!  is probably one of my favorites since it involved an ancient myth. I love all things mythology. Carter and Anna on the trail and it leads them into the jungles in Costa Rica. It’s so easy to get lost in a jungle and that is what happens to them. To make matters worse they just chased by howler monkey’s making the way out even harder to figure out. This one by far has the most action and I think readers would really enjoy this.

Overboard! What started off as a grand adventure whale watching with family, turns in to icy terror when they are all thrown overboard! Travis and Marina are separated from their families and struggling to stay alive in the icy cold waters. They are on their own and in order to stay alive they need to food and shelter if they can get to the isolated island they see in the distance. They might get to the island but with wet clothes, cold temps hypothermia is a real issue. This one was my second favorite and I really liked the pace of the story.

The only one I was not able to get ahold of was Dust Storm! I’m sure it is just as good as the other’s in the series and would be a great one to read as well.


Rocket Says Look Up!

by Nathan Bryon

illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Add to your GoodReads shelf

Publication Day: June 25, 2019

Check your local library or book store or buy the book online : AmazonBooks A MillionBarnes and Noble!indigo 

(I’m not affiliated with any of these sites just making it easy to preorder)


Rocket Says Look Up! is a sweet story about a big brother and little sister. Rocket is interested in all things space, knowing one day she will be just like her idol Mae Jamison. I think the characters were written very realistically. Jamal being a sterotypical teen in behaviors and actions – on the net, not really wanting to run errands for mom and hang with his little sister. Rocket enthusiastic and excited about up coming meteor shower that night, telling everyone and anyone who will listen. Even handing out flyers about it while with Jamal on an errand that day. I loved all the fun meteor facts that were sprinkled through out the book. Jamal comes through when his sister is sad about meteor shower and they have a great bonding moment. Rocket Says Look Up! is a great picture book – a fun story, educational science facts, bold bright illustrations, great characters and the perfect message: When you Dream – Dream Big!

About the book: Meet Rocket–a plucky aspiring astronaut intent on getting her community to LOOK UP! from what they’re doing and reach for the stars in this auspicious debut picture book. A comet will be visible tonight, and Rocket wants everyone to see it with her–even her big brother, Jamal, whose attention is usually trained on his phone or video games. Rocket’s enthusiasm brings neighbors and family together to witness a once-in-a-lifetime sighting. Perfect for fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and young science lovers excited about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Look Up! will inspire readers of all ages to dream big as it models Rocket’s passion for science and infectious curiosity. Author Nathan Bryon, an actor and screenwriter, and Dapo Adeola, a community-minded freelance illustrator, bring their fresh talents, passion, and enthusiasm to the picture book medium.

Thank you Random House for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Rocket Says Look Up! All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Shred Girls

Lindsay’s Joyride

by Molly Hurford

illustrations by Violet Lemay


I simply loved Shred Girls Lindsay’s Joyride. It is a girl power book that is sure to capture the reader young and old. We follow Lindsay’s journey from being a shy girl that would love to be a superhero that defeats the super villain’s of the world. Her summer plans are turned upside down when her parents leave her with her older cousin for the whole summer. Phoebe has always fit what Lindsay pictured as a villain all mean and stuff. However Phoebe is not only cool but she is going to give Lindsay and all a summer to remember. Lindsay learns to “fly” in a way. She grows into a confident girl. She learns all there is to know about the world of BMX and becomes not only confident in her riding but learns with a lot of work and getting up every time you fall you just might learn to fly and follow your dreams. This book is great for upper elementary and even middle school. I’d say 4th and up would really love this book with strong girl characters , fun graphic novel like illustrations and a heartwarming coming of age story about family, friendship and working hard for what you want. I know the kids at my school will enjoy this one in the upcoming school year.

About the book: It’s time to ride and save the day!

Lindsay can’t wait to spend her summer break reading comics and watching superhero movies–until she finds out she’ll be moving in with her weird older cousin Phoebe instead. And Phoebe has big plans for Lindsay: a BMX class at her bike park with cool-girl Jen and perfectionist Ali.

Lindsay’s summer of learning awesome BMX tricks with new friends and a new bike turns out to be more epic than any comic book–and it’s all leading up to a jumping competition.

But some of the biker boys don’t think girls should be allowed to compete in BMX. Now it’s up to Lindsay, Jen, and Ali to win the competition and prove that anyone can be great at BMX

Thank you Random House Children’s  for sending me the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Rumple Buttercup

A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself

written and illustrated by Matthew Gray Guber


I loved this picture book! It is all about how we are all weird and we all need to embrace our weird and not judge other’s. This book is a sparse is written text and simple drawings and it makes it all work! You can read it aloud or to yourself in under 15 minutes no more than 30. It is 136 pages but it is a fast read and would be good for a classroom read aloud. It has a very important message that we should all embrace. Deep down we all want to belong and be accepted for who we are not what someone wants us to be. It is a picture book but really I feel it is for all ages from children to tweens/teens and adults.

Rumple Buttercup is a monster ( or so he thinks) it lives in the sewer but loves to see what all is going on around him, and loves to observe people. He hides for the most part and takes peeks with a disguise of a banana peel on top of his head. He’s lonely and wants to talk to someone so he uses trash to create Candy Corn Carl.  As the story progresses you really feel for Rumple and hope he gets to see the parade he has been looking forward to all year. However when he goes to get his banana peel from the trash it’s not there. He is sad he is going to miss it but then a boy ask through the storm drain if he is going to watch the parade. He finds out while he thought he was being sneaky he really wasn’t and everyone saw him. They all accept him and talk about their own weird (or as I like to call it quirks.) . We all have a quirk or two and it’s what makes us – US and unique. If we didn’t then we’d all be cookie cutter’s of each other and that would not be a fun place to be.

A fun fact you might recognize the name Matthew Gray Guber is on the very popular and very good show Criminal Minds. I LOVE that show so I was happy to see his creative side since I’ve been a fan of his acting/directing side for many years.

About the book: A charming and inspiring story about embracing your weird, written and illustrated by Criminal Minds actor/director, Matthew Gray Gubler.

Rumple Buttercup has five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and his left foot is slightly bigger than his right.

He is weird.

Join him as he and Candy Corn Carl, his imaginary friend made of trash, learn the joy of individuality as well as the magic of belonging.

Thank you so very much Random House for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Rumple Buttercup. It has a spotlight spot on my bookshelf! All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.