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.

A Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig

illustrations by Chris Mould

a-boy-called-christmas-by-matt-haig-illustrations-by-chris-mould

 

 

A Boy Called Christmas  in a nutshell is AMAZING! This book captures all the magic of Christmas and being a kid and wrapped it up into a book. This book is for all ages and perfect to read this holiday season! I just felt so happy and so wrapped up in the Christmas spirit while reading this. It makes you really see Christmas and all the magic, joy and wonder of the season. There are some darker moments but nothing so scary that it isn’t suitable for young bookworms. This is a must READ and must BUY – it is perfect for reading aloud around the Christmas Tree with your family. You will be truly captivated and transported into the magical world that the author and illustrator created! I can not say enough great things about this book. It’s on my top 5 list of best books I read this year! Grab a copy for your family – gift copies to your family and friends. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this becomes a Christmas classic in years to come.

 

Summary: Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.
 
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.

Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .

Thank you so very much Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of A Boy Called Christmas for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Wildings

by Eleanor Glewwe

wildings-by-eleanor-glewwe

 

 

Do your kids (and you) love the magic of Harry Potter, InkHeart, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? Do they love fantasy fiction but have run out of books to read? I know my middle grade reader has read just about every fantasy book under the sun. I was happy to pass on Wildings to her after I read it, I know she is going to fall in love with this book. I had not read or heard of the book Sparkers so this was my first introduction to the magical world that Rivka, Arik and other Wildings live in. I will go back and read it this book was so good I didn’t want it to end. I loved that Rivka is a strong girl who doesn’t back down if she feels she is doing what is right! We need more books with good, positive girls. This book deals with the topic of racism within the magical world and Rivka doing everything she can to reunite and change the laws so other wildings can be reunited with their families. Grab a copy for your fellow bookworms and gift it this holiday season. I really hope this story line continues I would love to read more and see where they go from here.

summary: Rivka is one of the magical elite and the daughter of an important ambassador. But she harbors a deep secret: She once had a twin brother, Arik. When Arik failed to develop his own magical abilities, the government declared him a wilding, removed him from his home, placed him with non-magical adoptive parents, and forbade him any contact with his birth family. Now it is as if he never existed at all.

But Rivka refuses to forget her twin brother. Even though she knows she could lose everything—her father, her friends, even her freedom—she sets out to find Arik. She has nothing to go on except her still-new magical powers and her love for her brother. Can that possibly be enough to bring them together again, when all of society believes they belong apart?

Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Wildings. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom

I have 2 great little books perfect for the upper elementary through middle grade reading crowd. If you are looking for some somewhat spooky but not scary books for your kids who have already read every and all GooseBumps books than look no further.  Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom just might be what they are looking for.

First up or hands down favorite of the 2:

Curse of the Boggin (The Library #1) by D.J. McHale

curse-of-the-boggin-the-library-1-by-d-j-machale

 

This one was our favorite of the 2 books and we can’t wait for book 2. The book is perfect and we loved every creepy moment of it. The cover will have every kid that loves a good spooky book grabbing it off the shelves, it is perfect and really sums up the book. Curse of the Boggin has 2 stories with in this one. There is of course the main story that the book is based on but the back story as to why the Boggin wants the key so badly. This book is a bit more creepy and scary so not for the easily scared readers. Upper elementary through middle grade will devour this book and series – I even think some YA readers would enjoy this one. The kids are great and read like real kids. They are sarcastic – stick together – and jump feet first into the unknown world to save not only their families but their best friend. Marcus learns a lot in a very short time. First he learns that he is gifted or cursed depending on how you want to look at it with a gift. He learns he is adopted and that his parents didn’t pass away like he thought they did. Than he learns he is the keeper of this very special key and it can not – I repeat can not fall into the hands of the boggin or we are all doomed. Curse of the Boggin is a grand slam and sure to delight readers with the creepy supernatural elements,  friendships and both strong boy and girl main characters. Grab a copy of this one and add it to your middle grade spooktober reading list.

summary: There’s a place beyond this world, beyond the land of the living, where ghosts go to write their unfinished stories—stories that ended too soon. It’s a place for unexplained phenomena: mysteries that have never been solved, spirits that have never been laid to rest. And there’s only one way in or out.

It’s called the Library, and you can get there with a special key. But beware! Don’t start a story you can’t finish. Because in this library, the stories you can’t finish just might finish you.

Marcus O’Mara is a 13 year old guy at a crossroads. He constantly finds himself in trouble at school, with his friends, and with his adoptive parents. Marcus doesn’t believe things can get any worse for him…until they get worse.

Much worse.

He begins seeing strange and impossible visions; gets thrown into paranormal danger and is haunted by a mysterious ghost with a singular goal: to give him a key.

It’s a key that opens the door to a mysterious library. When that door opens, the incredible adventure for Marcus and his friends begins as they learn the truth about Marcus’ past and uncover the strange world of unfinished stories that are found on the shelves of the Library.

Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom by David Neilsen

dr-fell-and-the-playground-of-doom-by-david-neilsen

 

This book was a small book and a quick read but not lacking it is a story that is packed full of mystery, fantasy and tween heroes. The tween kids are funny, sarcastic and not afraid of Dr Fell. They want to know what is up with him since something doesn’t seem right. This is a first book for my by David Neilsen and it was a delight to read his writing. He creates such a great enchanting book. I instantly fell into the book and didn’t want it to end. While it was a spooky book perfect for tween spooktober reading, it wasn’t I can’t sleep it was so scary. However if your child does scare easy than you might want to read it first just to make sure it would be OK. My tween reader has been reading spooky books for quite a while now and for her she said it wasn’t spooky enough – so definitely mildly spooky. The plot of the book is fast paced and will have your child reading all day long so they can find out how this book is going to end. Sadly the ending comes fast but is the perfect ending. Overall I really enjoyed this one and so did my middle grade reader (5th grader). The only thing she said she didn’t like was the cover. She said the cover would have her reaching for the book at the store or school library.

summary: When the mysterious Dr. Fell moves into the abandoned house that had once been the neighborhood kids’ hangout, he immediately builds a playground to win them over. But as the ever-changing play space becomes bigger and more elaborate, the children and their parents fall deeper under the doctor’s spell.

Only Jerry, Nancy, and Gail are immune to the lure of his extravagant wonderland. And they alone notice that when the injuries begin to pile up on the jungle gym, somehow Dr. Fell is able to heal each one with miraculous speed. Now the three children must find a way to uncover the doctor’s secret power without being captivated by his trickery.

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers and Crown Books for Young Readers. We enjoyed Curse of the Boggin and Dr Fell and the Playground of Doom. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free books.

Love and Chicken Nuggets

Series: Pippa Morgan’s Diary
Author: Annie Kelsey

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Love and Chicken Nuggets by Annie Kelsey

summary: Meet Pippa Morgan, a small girl with a BIG imagination.

Pippa’s class has just been given a project all about “love”—gross! Luckily, there are lots of things she loves—like chicken nuggets and TV detectives, and her best friend forever, Catie Brown. But now that her mom is single, Pippa wonders whether she needs a little more love in her life. She comes up with a way to handle two problems at once…by making her mom the subject of her school project! Will Pippa be able to find her mom a husband? And can she get Catie to taste chicken nuggets for the first time ever? You’ll have to read her super-secret diary to find out!

ALSO BY ANNIE KELSEY: Pippa Morgan’s Diary

Add to your GoodReads Shelf

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Pippa Morgan's Diary by Annie Kelsey

summary: Sometimes a little white lie can land you in a whole lot of trouble…

Pippa’s new BFF Catie Brown is perfect. So perfect, that Pippa tells her a teeny tiny lie—that she once auditioned for Voice Factor—to impress her. And it works.  It works so well, in fact, that Catie enters Pippa into the school talent show.

 The only problem? Pippa can’t sing. Not at all.  In fact, her singing is so bad it scares the neighbors. But if she doesn’t participate in the talent show, Catie will know she lied. But if she does participate, the whole school will find out what a horrible singer she is…including Catie! It’s up to Pippa to put an end to this pesky problem!

Freddy The Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado

by Janice Dean (the weather machine)

illustrated by Russ Cox

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado by Janice Dean (the weather machine) illustrated by Russ Cox

 

I really have enjoyed the Freddy the Frogcaster books and this one I really think is my favorite by far. The author Janice Dean has tackled scary weather events for children and has succeeded in making this moments less scary. She does a wonderful job at describing weather from what’s it’s like to be a meteorologist, which is a hard job I know I got a taste of it in one of my college environmental science classes. She has also tackled hurricanes, blizzards and now tornadoes. I have experienced all 3 and I can tell you they are scary for kids and adults. In Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado the readers (and listeners) will learn all about tornadoes and see where the tornado alley that meteorologist always talking about. Kids that live in places with the possibility of tornadoes know to look at the sky as the storms are building and rolling in. The author has created a likable character, what is it about frogs they are just so adorable. Her writing style is simple but not so simple that it won’t hold an upper elementary aged reader. We can’t wait to see what weather emergency Janice Dean comes up with next.

summary: Get ready for a whirlwind of adventure with Freddy the Frogcaster when a famous storm chaser visits Lilypad!

In her fourth book, well-known meteorologist Janice Dean tackles some scary weather. Freddy the Frogcaster is faced with one of the most ferocious and devastating kinds of weather: the tornado.

Young readers will learn all about how big storms occur and produce some of nature’s most destructive weather. Chock-full of storm science lessons in the back, children and adults alike will learn valuable life-saving information.

As Freddy reminds us, please be prepared and know what to do and where to go when the next bad storm comes your way!

thank you so much Regnery Kids and Janice Dean for allowing us to read and review Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

The Girl in the Tower

by Lisa Schroeder

The Girl In The Tower by Lisa Schroeder

 

I’m all about fairy tales and retellings. Many will say this is a retelling of Rapunzel however I think it is better. This book has some similarities but that is where it ends. Lisa Schroeder is a wonderful story-teller and we have enjoyed many of her books. The Girl in the Tower was a delightful book and we enjoyed every minute of reading this book. You will be rooting for Violet and wishing the story doesn’t end. We would love to read more books about Violet. The character and world building is so vivid and descriptive that you really feel that you are in that fairy tale right along with the characters. This book is geared towards middle grade and upper elementary but I just about any one who loves a great fairy tale. The art work is by one of favorites Nicoletta Ceccoli, her illustrations are simply amazing and so perfect for this story. The Girl in the Tower is delightful in every way. Add it your you elementary and middle school readers summer reading and enjoy some magic.

summary: Ever since she could remember, Violet and her mother have been locked away in a tower by the evil Queen Bogdana, who has the kingdom under her spell. The queen has all she wants except one thing-beauty. Violet possesses this beauty. She also has a secret: though she is very small, both her spirit and her heart are mighty.

When Violet is summoned by Bogdana to start training to become a real princess, it seems like her life might be taking a turn for the better. But hope quickly fades when Violet’s mother is expelled from the castle and they’re forbidden to see each other ever again. With everyone’s lives in the balance, it’s up to Violet to break the spell and reunite her family.

thank you MacMillan Children’s Publishing, Lisa Schroeder and netgalley for allowing us to read The Girl in the Tower. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.