Mother Ghost

Nursery Rhymes for Little Monsters

by Rachel Kolar

illustrated by Roland Garrigue

Borrowed on HooplaDigital

 

I loved this book and wish it had been around when my kids were little I would have bought this in a heartbeat. I think I still will just for me. I love picture books they are just so magical. The stories or in this case nursery rhymes combined with beautiful illustrations really bring this fun Halloween book to life. The dark deep purples and blacks with pops of color really set the mood for a funny semi spooky book. The nursery rhymes are all funny and while I say semi spooky they are very calm and tame. They include ghost – zombies and graveyards all very much associated with Halloween but the funny nursery rhymes take away the fear factor.  Some of my favorite nursery rhymes: Mary Mary Tall and Scary – Twinkle Twinkle Lantern Jack  and Wee Willie WereWolf . To be honest I really loved them all but these 3 I can’t get out of my head and loved the rhymes and illustrations so much. If you have little bookworms are home or even at school this would be a cute one to have out for the next few weeks. I would gift this one for moms to be or for a fun themed birthday gift for a fall little bookworms birthday. I am so glad I found this book through Hoopla and was able to read it. On a side note have you checked out Hoopla? It’s a great e-book library that has no waiting list some of the hot new releases that have huge waits on overdrive for me I’ve been able to read right away through Hoopla! It’s free to join and has a pretty good selection, so check them out if you don’t mind e-books (I linked to Hoopla right above the book picture.)

About the Book: From “Mary, Mary, Tall and Scary” to “Wee Willie Werewolf,” this collection of classic nursery rhymes turned on their heads will give readers the chills–and a serious case of belly laughs. With clever rhyme and spooky illustrations, Mother Ghost is perfect for getting in the Halloween spirit. Boo!

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Saving Winslow

by Sharon Creech

 

Have you heard about this cute book Saving Winslow? It’s been on my radar for some time and today I finally was able to sit down and read it. If you have a reluctant reader this might be a good pick since it is a short book coming in at 165 pages. Sometimes short books feel like they are missing some of the storyline, but not Saving Winslow. The characters and storyline are fully developed and it really grabbed me from the first page. I think the fact that Louie was determined to save the little sick baby donkey came from the fact that his brother Gus was not home anymore because he had enlisted in the army. I think Louie felt that he couldn’t control Gus leaving but could control little Winslow. He could do everything in his power to save the sweet little donkey and it would get his mind off the hole he felt without his best friend and big brother Gus. Winslow gave hope to so many on Louie’s street as well as some headaches from a donkey braying day and night. I really enjoyed the can do positive attitude that Louie had on whether or not Winslow was going to make it. It was an uplifting story and had a very happy ending. It is recommended to middle grade readers. I’m not sure if many middle grade (6,7 and 8th) grade would pick this up. While I think once they did and start reading it they would fall for it as much as I did. I think it’s really more appealing to elementary aged kids from 3rd grade and up. It would even be a great read aloud for class reading time. It is IndieNext Fall Kids pick for ages 9-12 and I can see why. It was a solid 4 star read for me and I really was happy Winslow and gang got their happy ending!

About the book: Louie doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures. So when his father brings home a sickly newborn mini donkey, he’s determined to save him. He names him Winslow. Taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.

Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie’s bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined

Ghosts

by Raina Telgemeier

 

 

Ghosts is my first graphic novel that I can think of that I’ve read in its entirety without putting it aside. I didn’t want the story to end and was so bummed when I finished it. The kids at the school I work at have been begging me to read this one and I’m so glad I did! I loved the story line how it really dives into the day to day life with cystic fibrosis as a kid and how it affects not only the child that has it but the siblings and parents. I won’t go to in-depth on the description of the book since I’m sure I’m one of the last people to read it. 🙂 Catrina and her family move to upper California for her dad’s new job and they are hoping the change in climate helps her sister Maya have more good days with her cystic fibrosis. The town the move to Bahia De La Luna is rich is culture and tradition and has a huge festival every year for Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)! I have always loved all the culture – traditions – and decorations for Dia De Los Muertos. I would take that over Halloween any day. So I think between finding one of the rare few elementary and middle grade books that tackles cystic fibrosis and then includes Dia De Los Muertos I was sold one page one. The illustrations with bold and set the mood with each frame. They story line was well developed and hooked me instantly. I will be checking out her other books and might even dive into more graphic novels. Ghosts is a perfect book to read anytime of the year but would be great for a Spooktober book to read, it’s not scary but it is set in Spooktober season.

About the Book: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

Where the Watermelons Grow

by Cindy Baldwin

 

Where the Watermelons Grow deals with a tough subject that isn’t really out there much for middle grade and upper elementary grade readers mental illness. This book is heavy and can be too much for some readers, so you might want to read it before you hand it to your reader if you think it might a trigger. I really think readers ages middle grade through adult will enjoy this heart breaking book that really touched and has stayed with me. I just wanted to go into the book and give Della a huge hug. She is such a sweet strong girl who is facing so much in her life. I think this is one of those books that could help kids that are dealing with tough situations at home. They could see that they are not the only one’s that are dealing with these issues or similar ones. I know some are saying it could be for as young at 3rd grade but I really think for me at least this is an upper elementary and above. The story is well written, the characters are fully developed and the story is one that will touch every reader. I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel from the author. I can’t wait to see what Cindy Baldwin writes next.  Grab this book from your local library or book store and read a wonderful book this summer!

About the book: When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.

With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.

But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

Thank you HarperCollins and Cindy Baldwin for allowing me to read Where the Watermelons Grow. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Evangeline of the Bayou

by Jan Eldredge

illustrations by Joseph Kuefler

 

 

I know it says illustrations by, but don’t let that stop you this is a middle grade chapter book with some wonderful illustrations sprinkled throughout. I really gives the book a great feel. I was told that Evangeline of the Bayou was a supernatural hunter book for middle grade with a southern gothic feel. I was sold but was a bit skeptical, I hadn’t really read a book like that for middle grade, YA sure lots but middle grade not so much. Evangeline is a spunky, sassy, girl who also strong, brave and smart. She must have gotten those qualities from her grandma who even is her aging years is still all those things. They are a family of supernatural hunters. You read that right they fight the supernatural from ghost to monsters. She needs to find her animal familiar and fast to prove she has a heart to the council and  can be a haunt huntress aka: swamp witch just like her grandma. Evangeline is learning to hunt, she sometimes even goes out on her own while grandma sleeps. That never goes well and the reader gets to experience some pretty humorous mistakes being made. Just when Evangeline thinks she can’t take the swamp anymore her grandma informs her they are packing their bags and heading to New Orleans to take care of a possession. Evangeline couldn’t be happier since the canine omen of death that has her worried that grandma’s days are coming to an end. Once the reader travels to New Orleans with the crew the story takes on a new twist. This book is such a fun, charming, book that I seriously could reread it again and again. I loved all the New Orleans and Louisiana references. From the swampy cypress trees to the  beignets at Cafe Du Monde she really transported me back to this rich vibrant city. If your kid is reluctant to read a book this summer grab a copy of Evangeline of the Bayou from your library or bookstore and hand it to them. They will fall for this rich vibrant story about monsters, banshees (which I have to say I’m a bit intrigued by them), southern folklore, and gothic charm. Might want to grab 2 copies so you can read this amazing story that my middle grader reader and I really hope becomes a series!

About the book: Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants.

With her animal familiar sure to make itself known any day now, the only thing left to do is prove to the council she has heart. Then she will finally be declared a true haunt huntress, worthy of following in the footsteps of her long line of female ancestors.

But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots.

Set in the evocative Louisiana bayou and the vibrant streets of New Orleans, Evangeline’s is a tale of loyalty and determination, the powerful bonds of friendship and family, and the courage to trust your gut no matter how terrifying that might be.

Thank you so much Balzer+Bray for sending me a copy of Evangeline of the Bayou. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Fruit Bowl

written and illustrated by Mark Hoffman

 

Fruit Bowl is informative and does a good job at explaining what makes a fruit and fruit. At one point in the book I was surprised at one of the fruits that I always thought was a veggie. This book really shows the reader and listener just how many “veggies” are not really veggies but as the book says: Fruits in disguise. Fruit Bowl  is a great book to read during the summer before heading out to the farmers market or before planting your own fruit and vegetable plants. I could see teachers using this in a seasonal unit – healthy eating unit – or fruits and vegetable unit. The dialogue is fast and witty many of the puns will go over a younger reader/listener but will not take away from the book. They will think they are funny while the reader (parent or teacher) will really think they are funny. I thought the fruit and vegetable heated debate between all of the fruit bowl being done in bubble text form was a great idea. Not only does it make the dialogue seem more like a conversation among the fruits and veggies but also introduces the reader/listener to graphic novel text and other ways to present a story line and dialogue. The colorful simple illustrations are spot on and make your eyes really take it all in. Grab a copy of Fruit Bowl this summer and have some fun reading and maybe even trying a new fruit to add to your fruit bowl at home.

About the book: Who belongs in the fruit bowl? Apples, check. Blueberries, check. Tomato, che— Wait, what?! Tomato wants to join the other fruits, but does he belong? The perfect mix of botany and a bunch of bananas!   

All the fruit are in the bowl. There’s Apple and Orange. Strawberry and Peach. Plum and Pear. And, of course, Tomato.
Now wait just a minute! Tomatoes aren’t fruit! Or are they?  Using sly science (and some wisdom from a wise old raisin), Tomato proves all the fruit wrong and shows that he belongs in the bowl just as much as the next blueberry! And he’s bringing some unexpected friends too!

Thank you Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Fruit Bowl. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Annie’s Life in List

by Kristen Mahoney

 

 

I have never read a middle grade book or any book really done up in this format. As the title says it is all about Annie’s Life in Lists. The whole book is done up as individual list, instead of chapters. Maybe it’s because the idea is such a new one of a kind concept or maybe it’s because I’m a daily list maker but I really enjoyed this book so much. I really felt like I got to know Annie even though I was reading everything in all these different list and some paragraphs thrown in for good measure and further detail. I saw a little bit of myself in Annie as a kid and even now. I  was extremely shy (not  so much anymore ) , I have a photographic memory (which drives people batty sometimes at the things I remember). She is starting a new school in a new town and she is nervous. I remember that feeling all to well. I think this is one we all feel even if we are still in same town. You have to start new schools eventually when you go to middle and high school. This book is a great book for any 6th grader that is getting ready to start a new chapter in their life and are a bit nervous. Annie, her family and friends will become new friends. The characters and story line are fun, engaging  and fully developed.  Annie’s Life in List is a must read this summer, I know my soon to be 7th grader really liked it and gifted the copy to her 6th grade center librarian. If you are looking for a book to get your middle grade reader  and they loved Judy Moody and Ramona than Kristen Mahoney’s book is perfect for them. Grab Annie’s Life in List and make it a reading day!

About the book: Annie’s a shy fifth grader with an incredible memory and a love of making lists. It helps her keep track of things when they can seem a little out of control, like her family, her friends, and her life in a new place.

Annie has:
1. An incredible memory (really, it’s almost photographic) that can get her in trouble
2. A desire to overcome her shyness
3. A brother who is mad at her because he thinks she is the reason they had to move to Clover Gap, population 8,432.
4. A best friend who she is (almost) certain will always be her best friend.
5. New classmates, some of whom are nicer than others.
6. A rocky start finding her place in her new home.

Annie’s Life in Lists introduces a sweet new voice that finds that even amid the chaos of everyday life, it’s important to put things in order.

Thank you Alfred A Knopf and Penguin Random House for sending us a copy of Annie’s Life in List. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.