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.

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Lucy and Andy Neanderthal

The Stone Cold Age

by Jeffery Brown

I know I said I wasn’t really into graphic novels, however I can now say I’m a fan. I’ve read several over the summer and you know what they are great! I can see why kids and adults love them. I know they are a big hit in the elementary school I work at. Jeffery Brown is best known for the Darth Vader and Kids as well as Jedi Academy books but I really think Lucy and Andy Neanderthal will become just as popular.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal is a mix of fiction and non fiction. The author sprinkles in scientist throughout the graphic novel to discuss scientific facts about caves, finding fossils from that era and human remains. Glacier formation and more is discussed as well. I think he does a good job at separating the fact and fiction for the reader.  He also presents the readers with a family from the stone cold age. They have a saber tooth for a pet, I mean hey maybe they did back then. The family and characters are likable and I enjoyed the graphic novel. The illustrations are done in black and white and simple but pleasing to the eye. My middle grade reader liked that they were in black and white and they weren’t real involved with tons of detail. If you wanted to read this as a read aloud with your younger reader/listener then you could read 1 story a night. There are a total of 10 stories with the last part of the book for more facts and explanations and a timeline. Overall I’m very pleased with this series Stone Cold Age is book 2. You can start off with book 1 Lucy and Andy Neanderthal, or just jump right in with Stone Cold Age.

About the Book: Neanderthal siblings Lucy and Andy are back to their paleo pranks. This time, they have to put up with more than just each other the cave is feeling awfully cramped since the humans moved in. They’re in the Ice Age, and legroom comes at a real premium!  Jeffrey Brown skillfully blends humor and history with paleontologist sections: Timeline of Key Discoveries, Ice Age Fact vs. Fiction, Silly Cavemen Myths, and more.

Thank you Crown Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Lucy and Andy Neanderthal The Stone Cold Age. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free graphic novel.

Lemon

by Melissa Savage

Page total: 308

Suggested Reading Level: Middle Grade (I think upper elementary grade readers would enjoy this as well)

I simply loved this sweet, charming book. Lemonade “Lemon” Liberty Witt has been dealt a big bowl of lemons in life. The whole world has been upended and the rug was pulled out from under her (Trigger: her mom dies, so some kids might find this hard). She has to go live with her grandpa, someone she has never meet before. She has to live her hometown where all her friends live and the memories of just her and her mom are. While there all she can think about is going back.  However Willow Creek California is full of fun quirky characters that you just can’t help but like (well there were a few sour lemons in the bunch). Lemon begins to make friends, has a best friend in Tobin. She starts to enjoy searching for and possibly finding Big Foot. Mostly she is enjoying learning all about her mom when she was Lemons age, talking to friends of her moms and just being with her grandpa. I just loved Lemon and Tobin, they are really sweet middle grade characters. They were well written and realistic. Tobin is dealing with his dad who is MIA after returning the US after fighting in the Vietnam war. This book will be the top suggested book when the 5th graders ask me for book suggestions. I hope many middle grade readers and upper elementary readers read Lemons! Grab a copy and read it aloud, or grab a copy and have family book club this summer.

About the book: After her mother dies in 1975, ten-year-old Lemonade must live with her grandfather in a small town famous for Bigfoot sightings and soon becomes friends with Tobin, a quirky Bigfoot investigator.

Thank you Random House Kids and Crown Books for Young Readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Comic Squad: Detention!

Edited by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

I’m new to the middle grade and elementary grade graphic novels. I read a few when I was younger (Bone) and my girls loved BabyMouse. So besides BabyMouse and Bone I haven’t read a bunch of them. However I work with kids and they LOVE graphic novels. So I’m always trying to find new ones to suggest when they are looking for their next read.  Comic Squad Detention is the first of the series for me and I’ll be seeking the other’s out since this one was really entertaining. Each story was written but a different graphic novel writer in children’s/middle grade novels. This is a great way to get a taste of other author’s work and writing style to discover new favorites that you want to read more from. I know I found a few that I’d like to check out more of this own graphic novels to read. I just might be a graphic novel reader after all. 🙂

The Lunch Bunch in…Detention DisasterThis one was cute and all maybe not a favorite of mine but I can see kids really getting a kick out of Hector, Dee and Terrence’s adventures in crime solving.

Cheating Death w/ Sisyphus: This one is my favorite! It is an ode to mythology and perfect for Percy Jackson or any Rick Riordan readers. I loved the mythology and the story was great.

Worse Than DetentionThis one was funny for me. In this graphic novel short story the school made the kids work in the kindergarten room instead of detention. They found it worked like a charm and they didn’t have repeat offenders. 🙂

Milo’s JourneyThis one was another favorite of mine. In this one there was no electronics allowed while serving detention. It also showed what a great imagination you can have when you’re not plugged in and left to your own devices to pass time.

Too NiceThis one was just OK for me. I did like how the boy noticed the girl was really smart.

Cyclopean Kid: Detention is Forever!: This was another mythology story and it was good. It was about a college student in the education program was also student teaching in monstergarten. I did like that it showed by getting detention sometimes you miss out on the fun. For us it would be called time out on the line up line.

Think About What You’ve DoneThis was another great one with an artistic imaginative kid. I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Squish: Leave No Cell BehindThe science nerd in me really really enjoyed this one and I would love to read more Squish graphic novels. This one was a big hit with my middle grader as well, she loves all things science!

About the graphic novel: Calling all kidz! Do you like comics? Do you like laughing till you get sent to the principal?! Don’t punish yourself! Read the next Comics Squad! Leave your troubles behind with this collection of quick and funny stories about many kids’ biggest fear–detention! Sure, detention can be scary or frustrating or just plain boring, but who knew it could also be an adventure? With a disrespectful Greek god, antimatter ooze, bio engineered rats, and a school full of stampeding bulls, it is definitely full of fun!

Thank you so much Random House Kids for sending us a copy of Comic Squad: Detention!All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book.

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. 

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.

Jack and the Geniuses: At the Bottom of the World

series: Jack and the Geniuses

by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone

illustrations Nicholas Iluzada

For more science fun check out Bill Nye’s Printable One Sheet science activities

 

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy – Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill! 🙂 We love our Science Guy so we were excited to see this piece of book mail. I didn’t know he was branching out into chapter books. This book is a work of fiction with some real non fiction thrown in there so your learning little tidbits of science and climate change as well. At The Bottom of the World is book 1 in a new series Jack and the Geniuses and I can’t wait to read the rest and see where all this goes. The story was well developed and taught the reader without being preachy. I think it is great to all ready get kids aware of climate change – what it means and what can be done to slow it down. There are illustrations, it isn’t loaded with them but they are scattered throughout the book.  They just enhance the book and are simpler to illustrations in upper elementary books, the reader will not feel like it is a younger kids book with them included.  The main characters are 3 kids Ava, Matt and Jack along with a wacky fun scientist Dr Hank Witherspoon. In this book they travel all the way to Antarctica for a big science award ceremony, as well as help Dr Witherspoon’s friend who has made a very important discovery. By the time they arrive she is missing and no one seems to know or act like they know where she is. Jack and the gang get to work solving the mystery as well as learning everything they need to know in order to survive in the harsh conditions of the Antarctic. The story was well developed and the characters were well-rounded. I really liked Jack, Ava, Matt and Dr Witherspoon. The book tackles science, experiments, stem and makes the kids just as smart and inventive as the adults. I like that the kids held their own and the girl was a strong STEM minded girl who didn’t back down. Once you are done reading the book you can read more about Science and STEM in the This Is Reality People! where it takes things discussed in the book and give further explanation on how it could be used in the future. Next section is all about Antarctica titled Ten Absolutely Essential Questions About Antarctica. The explanations are good and full of information but in terms they can understand (as well as adults who will learn things as well 🙂 I know I did). The last section was a favorite of my 5th graders and that is the science experiment! Yippee!! I mean really it couldn’t be a Bill Nye book with out a super fun experiment to get the kids even more interested in science fun. This one is a density experiment and uses all stuff you have in your house already. The only thing I didn’t have was food coloring but that was simple and very affordable to buy. This book would also be really great in a classroom or even as an upper grade science read aloud. The book ends with a trip to Hawaii being mentioned. I can’t wait to see what all we learn about in that one and even more excited to see what the experiment might be to go along with what all the book discusses! Bill Nye and Gregory Mone did an amazing job and I’m sold. I will be using this book and items to make a simple science kit as future gift ideas for upcoming birthdays and holidays.

summary: New York Times bestselling authors Bill Nye the Science Guy and Gregory Mone take middle-grade readers on a scientific adventure in the launch of an exciting new chapter book series, Jack and the Geniuses. The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real-world science along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making these books ideal for STEM education.

In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

Thank you so much Amulet Books for sending me a copy of Jack and the Geniuses At the Bottom of the World.  I really enjoyed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.