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!

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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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Where to buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks A Million  ( I am not an affiliate of these places I just liked the book very much and wanted to make it easy if you would like to buy a copy to enjoy as well.)

 

 

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.

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.

Lone Stars

by Mike Lupica

 

 

Clay is a quarterback’s dream. When he zips across the field, arms outstretched, waiting for the ball to sail into his hands, there’s no denying him the catch. Like most Texans, Clay is never more at home than when playing football. And his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, is just like a second father.  But as the football season kicks off, Clay begins to notice some odd behavior from his coach—lapses in his memory and strange mood swings. The conclusion is painful, but obvious: Coach Cooper is showing side effects of the many concussions he sustained during his playing days. As Clay’s season wears on, it becomes clear that the real victory will be to help his coach walk onto that famous star logo in the middle of Cowboys Field one last time—during a Thanksgiving day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

I usually don’t read a lot of sports books that are geared towards boys. I know I should but just never seem to pick them up. I’m trying to change that and I did with Lone Star. I know this author is very popular with upper elementary and middle grade readers. The main thing I really liked about this book is that the author uses it to shed light on head injuries in football. This is a very serious topic and one that young football fans and players should know about. However in Lone Star  the reader get’s to see how this head injury affects a loved one. Clay’s beloved football coach is suffering for the many years of getting hit in the head and receiving concussions while playing football when he was younger. Coach Monty has lots of help and support with his team and this is a heartwarming read. I liked that it had positive role models and that the kids were so willing to help out their friend in need. They were really more than just a football team, they were family.

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

One Leaf, Two Leaves Count With Me!

by John Micklos JR

illustrated by Clive McFarland

 

 

About the Book: This playful counting book shares the colorful highlights of the four seasons in charming illustrations.  Count your way through the seasons! In spring, the tree’s leaves appear, one by one. By summer, there’s a glorious canopy. And when autumn winds blow, leaves fly from the tree, one after another, leading us into winter. There’s a world of activity to spy in and around this beautiful tree as the wild creatures, and one little boy, celebrate the cycles of nature. As little ones count leaves, look for animals, and enjoy the changing seasonal landscape, bouncy rhymes and bold illustrations make learning to count easy—corresponding numerals reinforcing the learning fun.

 

This super cute counting book as well as a seasons book follows a boy and the tree in his yard. It opens up in spring and you count the leaves appearing on the bare tree 1-10 and the tree and scene’s are very spring like. The book briefly shows summer, then we are into fall. For fall you count down 10-1 as the leaves fall off the tree. Then you see the bare tree for winter. One Leaf, Two Leaves Count with Me! ends where it began with Spring. I really love the simple story and colorful illustrations. The simple sentences make the counting concept easy for the youngest listener and/or reader to understand. The concept of counting up and down leaves for the seasons is a neat one and I really enjoyed it. This is great addition for counting  or seasons story time.

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers for sending me a copy of One Leaf, Two Leaves Count With Me! All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole

by Michelle Cuevas

A pet black hole can be your light in the darkest dark” {back cover}

This book was not like anything I was expecting it to be. I thought it would be a fun care free book about space and a pet black hole. However once I got into it I realized that it was actually a sad story about a little girl who was healing from her father’s unexpected and sudden death. They loved space and the launch of the Voyager in 1977. This is the second book I’ve read that has taken place in this time era this summer. I like that middle grade books are exploring this time. Stella has always wanted a dog so a pet black hole might not be so bad. However she very quickly learns they are bad they eat everything in sight and really love furry things. Stella takes the time to train Larry the black hole and it helps her get her mind of the painful memories of her dad. My middle grade reader and I decided that Stella had her own black hole and it was full of memories, pain and grief of losing her dad. She devises a sure-fire way to get over the pain and grief is to feed everything that was her dad’s to Larry the black hole. By doing so she erases those memories and she wants them back they are all she has left. Her and her little brother go on an amazing trip into the black hole. They go on this journey and are able to confront their fears, pain and heal in the process.

This book was such a great one even though it through me for a loop and was such a sad touching novel. Don’t let the cute little cover fool you though I would suggest this for 5th grade and up. Some younger elementary kids might be good with it however it does tackle some sad times. I just think the older reader would get more out of it and understand the physics and astronomy facts better. Overall this is a 5 star book and one I would suggest to readers looking for a book that will stay with them after they are done reading.

We decide this one needed a bit of a display for our bookshelves. So we created a cute Larry the pet black hole. Picture was taken outside since the lighting wasn’t good in room that has all our bookcases at the time. It was super easy to make just take a black bath poof and add google eyes or foam eyes and your done.

About the book: When eleven-year-old Stella Rodriguez shows up at NASA to request that her recording be included in Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, something unexpected happens: A black hole follows her home, and sets out to live in her house as a pet. The black hole swallows everything he touches, which is challenging to say the least—but also turns out to be a convenient way to get rid of those items that Stella doesn’t want around. Soon the ugly sweaters her aunt has made for her all disappear within the black hole, as does the smelly class hamster she’s taking care of, and most important, all the reminders of her dead father that are just too painful to have around.

It’s not until Stella, her younger brother, Cosmo, the family puppy, and even the bathroom tub all get swallowed up by the black hole that Stella comes to realize she has been letting her own grief consume her. And that’s not the only thing she realizes as she attempts to get back home. This is an astonishingly original and funny adventure with a great big heart.

Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending us a copy of The Care and Feeding A Pet Black Hole. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.