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.

Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung and that means books about bunnies, baby animals and more. Today I’m sharing some great little books that kids of all ages will love. From timeless classics to new picture books, here is a great list to add to list of great books for spring time or anytime.

Quackers by Liz Wong

Quackers by Liz Wong

 

Quackers is a cute picture book about a farm cat who has being living at the pond since he or she was born, so naturally the kitty thinks they are a duck. One day he meets another farm kitten and finds out he isn’t a duck at all. They go and hang out with the other cats in the barn and doing cat things. However Quackers misses all the ducks and learns in the end that sometimes family can also be your best friends.

summary: A cat who thinks he’s a duck? He must be Quackers! Quackers is a duck. Sure, he may have paws and whiskers. And his quacks might sound more like . . . well, meows, but he lives among ducks, everyone he knows is a duck, and he’s happy. 

A Book of Babies by II Sung Na

A Book of Babies by II Sung Na

 

A Book of Babies is an adorable book perfect for spring and Easter season. This book is also a wonderful gift for new big brothers and sisters. The illustrations are cute, colorful. Parts of the text remind of a poem,  and the text is simple and big making it great for beginning readers. Kids of all ages love babies and baby animals so this one might just become a favorite in your house and classroom.

summary: When the flowers begin to bloom and the world starts turning green, animals everywhere are born. Some are born with soft, warm fur, while some are born with smooth scales. Some can walk right away—others need a little help! As with Il Sung Na’s previous offerings, A Book of Babies is filled with rich illustrations, endearing animals, and a simple text, all wrapped up in a gorgeous package that is perfect for Easter baskets.

Richard Scarry’s Bunnies

Richard Scarry Bunnies

 

This shaped board book is the perfect book and gift for the youngest little bookworm. The pages are sturdy and little ones will love the adorable bunny on the cover. This book is mainly a book about all the cute bunnies there are in the world. The dutch bunny mentioned in the book looks just like our little Cuddles Alec D’Addario that my oldest got for her birthday a few years ago. Man we love that little cuddle bunny. Richard Scarry’s Bunnies has short simple sentences and cute illustrations making this timeless classic a go to book each and ever spring, Easter and any time you need a cute bunny book fix.

summary: In this bunny-shaped board book reissue, Scarry introduces readers to all kinds of rabbits with wit and humor—from real-life breeds such as the Vienna Blue and lop-eared, to his whimsical clothed bunny characters (“Rabbits like to all get dressed up if they are going to be in a story book.”). Scarry’s colorful paintings have been digitally restored to their original splendor for this edition—the perfect Easter gift!

I Am Bunny by Ole Risom and illustrated by Richard Scarry

I Am Bunny by Ole Risom illustrated by Richard Scarry

 

I Am Bunny is a seasonal book about the great things about each season and what a cute little bunny by the name of Nicholas loves. I remember this book growing up and my girls remember it, making this book a tradition that hopefully will be past down by my girls. Golden books are so special and I love their simple story lines which hold the youngest listeners attention and makes great memories for everyone. The sentences are simple and don’t use big words making this a good beginning reader book. I love the illustrations in this book, Richard Scarry has leaned himself to many books and this team of him and Ole Risom created a wonderful book.

summary: The Richard Scarry classic is now available as a Little Golden Book–for the first time ever! I Am a Bunny now stars in the Little Golden Book line! Richard Scarry’s character of Nicholas the bunny will now be available alongside other iconic Little Golden Book characters such as the Poky Little Puppy and Scuffy the Tugboat!

The Bunny Book by Patsy Scarry and illustrated by Richard Scarry

The Bunny Book by Patsy Scarry and illustrated by Richard Scarry

 

The Bunny Book is a book about “What do you want to be when you grow up? “. This is a question that many of us ask our kids and students through out the years. Some kids it changes daily and others have known since they were asked. My girls have wanted to be scientist since they were 3 years old, they have never wavered. The Bunny Book talks about all kinds of jobs from police officer to candy store owner. The text is a bit more heavy in this book making it a bit longer and one depending on the age you might need to break this book up in sections.  The illustrations are classic Richard Scarry and will be familiar to kids if you’ve read any of the above books that were written or illustrations by him.

summary: This sweet story is one of Richard Scarry’s very best. Long popular as a Little Golden Book, this tale of a large bunny family wondering what their baby will grow up to become is now available as a board book–perfect for springtime gift-giving

thank you Random House for Young Readers, Alfred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers and Liz Wong for sending me Quackers for review.  Quackers book reviewed in this book bundle is my opinion and not influenced by the free book.

*All other books (besides Quackers) were library books and part of the Random House Spring spotlight post. All reviews are my opinion and not influenced by their suggestions. I truly love these books and have been sharing them with my kids as well as my preschool students for years.

 

Earth Day middle grade books

There are many great Earth Day reads for upper elementary and middle grade readers. Today I’m going to share 2 that are the favorites right now with this age group. We really loved Fuzzy Mud and Chomp was a great book also, Hoot is our favorite but Chomp is right up there. Both these books raise awareness and might just get your reader asking questions and researching ways to help their local environment.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

 

Courage just meant pretending to be brave. “After all, if you’re not scared, then there’s nothing to be brave about is there?” (P. 15) this is one of my favorite lines from the book. I love it and it is so true.

Fuzzy Mud was written by a favorite kid lit author of mine and he did not disappoint! This book has 2 main themes throughout the story and does an excellent job and making them both work through out the storyline: Bullying and the Human Impact on the Environment. This book is a beyond 5 stars for me, I loved how it flowed so well and has mystery and suspense in it. This book would appeal to upper elementary and middle school. I think it would be a good classroom read aloud and would fit in perfectly with a science unit on the environment. This book even talks about secret senate meetings (loved reading those “transcripts”) the CDC and NIH are even mentioned and a part of the book. Fuzzy Mud helps raise awareness for the environment and I hope it goes on to win awards.

Tamaya: A sweet girl who wants to do the right thing. Even when that right thing means going back into the Fuzzy Mud woods to help find the kid who is the biggest bully she has ever known. She is scared because she knows there is something very wrong about the Fuzzy Mud but she is going to be brave because it’s the right thing to do.

Marshall: A good kid who is the target for the school bully. He hates school and just wish he could be invisible. He doesn’t have any friends anymore and he wish life was like before the bully targeted him. However he is best friends with Tamaya and she has gone missing and he knows where she is heading. Now he just needs to put on a brave face and go searching for her even it means facing the one who has made his life awful.

Chad: Oh Chad is that bully that targets one kid and makes his or her life horrible. Maybe he doesn’t have a great home life? Or maybe he is just mean? Either way he is mad and he has his sights set on Marshall. However he is going to cross paths with both Tamaya and Marshall in the woods and to get away Tamaya is going to expose both her and Chad to the Fuzzy Mud.

In the end all 3 come together to help each other out…

summary: Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

 

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiassen

 

I  grabbed Chomp from the local library as an ebook. It was a bundle that also included Hoot, Flush, and Scat. It was a some fun reading and I think upper elementary and middle grade kids would love this set either all together as an ebook or individually as a physical book or ebooks. Hiaasen writes with such a great flair and creative flow that I can’t imagine anyone not loving his books. Readers will enjoy the plot and settings of the books as well as the likable characters. I love the sarcastic humor that is always sprinkled throughout any of his books and Chomp did not disappoint. Chomp delivers a great message about Carl Hiassens passion for the environment and how things we are doing are affecting plants and animals. He doesn’t preach it so much so that it turns off the reader or goes over the younger reader’s head. Chomp as well as any of his books would be great read alouds for the home or classroom. You could use any of his books as a jumping point for further action and study of your own local environment and habitats.

summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.
They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .
It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .

thank you so very much Penguin Random House for kids, Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Louis Sachar for allowing me to read and review this. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars it was so good! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Earth Day Picture Book Roundup

March 22nd is Earth Day and there are some great books out there from picture books to middle grade chapter books. Today I’m featuring some great picture books from a classic to some fun new books sure to join the classic go to books for teachers and parents to read on Earth Day.

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

The Lorax by Dr Seuss

 

This has to be one of my favorite Dr Seuss books. I think he was ahead of his time with his environmental issues within the text of his books. The Lorax is and engaging and captivating book that will hold the interest of the youngest listener.

summary:  Before “going green” was mainstream, Dr. Seuss warned against the dangers of not treating the environment with care and respect in his story, The Lorax. With the release of the blockbuster film version, the Lorax and his classic tale have educated a new generation of young readers about the importance of not only seeing the beauty in the world around us, but also about our responsibility to protect it.

Tree  A Peek Through Picture book by Britta Teckentrup

Tree A Peek Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup

 

 

This picture book is a fun, seasonal book. The peek through owl will be fun for the youngest listeners as well as all the great critters that show up through out the tree as the story continues. The illustrations are bold, colorful and very pretty. The simple words that take the best of each season as the reader or listener goes on the journey makes it fun as a read aloud. Tree A Peek Through Picture Book goes through the season and talks about how the cycle begins again.  This is sure to become a favorite with all ages.

summary: A peek-through picture book with elaborate die-cuts on each page showing a tree and its many inhabitants throughout the four seasons. Through a hole in the book’s cover, an owl invites you inside to meet a majestic tree and all its forest inhabitants during the changing seasons.

How to Grow A Friend by Sara Gillingham

How To Grow A Friend by Sara Gillingham

 

This book has such pretty bold, colorful, simple illustrations.  The story has simple words and short sentences that make this picture book great for the youngest listener to the beginning reader. This story is simply the sweetest story that talks about growing a friendship by planting a seed in good soil. Gardening is the theme throughout and while the book is mainly about friendship is good for Earth Day also. The author talks about gardening and the connection we have to the Earth.

summary: Tend your friendships…and watch them grow! This lovely metaphor teaches valuable lessons in how to treat others and make friendships blossom! Making a friend takes patience, care, and room to bloom–just like a flower. Soon your little gardener will have his or her very own green thumb in this most important of life skills.

We Planted A Tree by  Diane Muldrow; illustrated by Bob Staake

We Planted A Tree by Diane Muldrow  illustrated by Bob Staake

 

This book is really great at showing kids about how 1 tree really can make a difference where ever you live. I like how it shows places all over the world and how tree’s help each and every person and animal not just the planter. We Planted A Tree would be a fun book to read and maybe even plant a tree of your own on Earth Day and watch it grow. The story is poem like format. The illustrations are some what cartoon like and look like paint and pencil are involved. I like the pictures and think they are eye catching for kids as well.

summary: A modern-day “green” classic illustrated by Bob Staake — now in paperback! In this simple poem illustrated by award winner Bob Staake, two young families in two very different parts of the world plant a tree. As the trees flourish, so do the families . . . while trees all over the world help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade.

thank you Random House Kids for sending me the books for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free books.