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.

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Christmas series by Matt Haig

Matt Haig writes books for all ages from this Christmas series for the older elementary reader to adult books. The Christmas series tells the story of Father Christmas AKA Santa Claus. The Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas to me read more for the older reader. I’m thinking mid to upper elementary. If your younger bookworm wants to read these books I suggest reading them yourself first to decide if they are a-okay for your child. I would have given these to my 3rd grader if they had come out at the time since she was already reading a collection of Grimms fairy tales, these 2 books would have been right up her alley. There are some intense times through out both books and some sensitive readers might find it a bit scary. For me personally I LOVED these books! They were funny at times, a bit dark and creepy at times – thinking Tim Burton would have a hay day with making these into movies. I loved that the darker parts were a bit Dickens -esque , I mean have you read some of the Victorian classics they are dark even the kids books are. I loved reading what could possibly be the read story of Father Christmas I mean who knows what he went through to become the great guy that we all still talk about. 🙂 The Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas would be a fun set of books to read this holiday season. Pop some popcorn, make some cocoa, snuggle under the blankets and get wrapped up in some great holiday reading!

The Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig – illustrated by Chris Mould

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. . . .

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

by Matt Haig – illustrated by Chris Mould

Amelia Wishart was the first child ever to receive a Christmas present. It was herChristmas spirit that gave Santa the extra boost of magic he needed to make his first trip around the world. But now Amelia is in trouble.

When her mother falls ill, she is sent to the workhouse to toil under cruel Mr. Creeper. For a whole year, Amelia scrubs the floors and eats watery gruel, without a whiff of kindness to keep her going. It’s not long before her hope begins to drain away.

Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, magic levels dip dangerously low as Christmas approaches, and Santa knows that something is gravely wrong. With the help of his trusty reindeer, a curious cat, and Charles Dickens, he sets out to find Amelia, the only girl who might be able to save Christmas. But first Amelia must learn to believe again. . . .

Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me copies of these great books. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

If you and your bookworm really love these 2 as much as I did you might want to check out their other one called Father Christmas and Me.  These one looks like it might have been a England or Europe only release. I wish I could have read it right along with these 2 books. I might have to nab a copy since it sounds just as great as the others.

LET THE BATTLE FOR CHRISTMAS BEGIN

It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.

For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs everyday – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold.

But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late . . .

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

by Erika L Sanchez

 

 

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family. But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. 

Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

This story started off with me not liking Julia at all. I can get her attitude after everything that has happened except she was this abrasive before the accident. She had the biggest chip on her shoulder and was going to make sure to make everyone around her as miserable as she is.  Then the book started to develop a little more and I was starting to understand Julia, her family and the heartache they are going through. Personally I don’t like to read and usually don’t finish books where a child dies. They are just to hard and a mom’s worse nightmare. While this wasn’t a favorite book of mine I think I just might not have been the best reader for this one.  I just got done reading a book where the family unravels after the older sister dies unexpectedly so very similar in plots. So maybe it was just a little to familiar, even though they were very different in characters and writing styles. I liked that it had a very diverse cast of characters. I liked how the author depicted mental illness and how people grieve differently when a loved one passes away. I’m glad I read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. I will say this is a pretty dark contemporary YA novel and not one I would like my middle grade reader read. So many YA’s are ok for middle grade readers as well, this is not one. It has some pretty tough  to understand issues that the younger reader would not understand .  I say give it a chance start reading this, it might just capture you and keep you reading.

Thank you Knopf  Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Wild Bird

by Wendelin Van Draanen

This book jumped right into it never stopped till the last page. This book is about a 14-year-old addict that her family has no other choice but to place their daughter in a desert rehab where it is sink or swim. I can’t even imagine what that family had to go to that made them feel like this was their only choice. I also was so sad to see Wren’s age was 14.  I like that she had her being young because it happens and even young teen middle school aged kids can get hooked on drugs and alcohol. Wren was the main focus of the book and while Wild was about finding ones self after the death of a loved one. Wild Bird wasn’t much different in the fact that Wren had to find herself again. She was lost and in a way her old self was no longer. She had to rediscover what made her happy and the old Wren. The program was a tough love military like program but for many this is just what they need to get clean. You will laugh, cry, cheer and shake your head at times throughout this book. The author really lets your inside Wren’s head and her thinking process. In all honesty I think Wren really handled being thrown into this very well. Many of the day to day staples in the old life she took for granted threw away were things she had to fight for to gain back. This book shows what it is like to bottom out and having to realize that sometimes the hardest thing is asking for help, rediscovering yourself and being brutally honest with yourself. Wild Bird should be a book all parents read. I know it’s geared towards teens but I really think parents need to read this as well. I was totally 100% invested in Wren and her story, I’m so happy I got to read this book and know it will be a re-read as well as one I recommend to all looking for a heartwarming and heartbreaking book.

About the Book: 3:47 a.m. That’s when they come for Wren Clemmens. She’s hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who’ve gone so far off the rails, their parents don’t know what to do with them anymore. This is wilderness therapy camp. Eight weeks of survivalist camping in the desert. Eight weeks to turn your life around. Yeah, right.

The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can’t put up a tent. And bitter won’t start a fire. Wren’s going to have to admit she needs help if she’s going to survive.

Thank you Knopf Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Wild Bird. 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.

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.