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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Thirteen Rising

by Romina Russell

Zodiac Series book 4

Thirteen Rising is the final installment in the wonderfully entertaining Zodiac series. I have loved this series and it is a series I will re-read now and again. The stories capture you and take you to a whole new world and the covers are so beautiful. This summer was a lot of fun doing the Zodiac Summer Read A Thon with my girls leading up to Thirteen Rising. If you haven’t read this series yet now is your chance. All four books are out as of today so grab them and binge read them this fall. They would also make a wonderful holiday gift for any middle grade or YA reading teen. Today I’m diving into the Zodiac world and can’t wait to see what is in store.

About the Book: Romina Russell’s epic sci-fi fantasy series reaches its breathtaking conclusion with this fourth and final novel.

The master has been unmasked. Rho’s world has been turned upside down. With her loved ones in peril and all the stars set against her, can the young Guardian from House Cancer muster the strength to keep fighting? Or has she finally found her match in a master whose ambition to rule knows no limits?

Thank you Penguin Young Readers for sending us the Zodiac Series. We have loved and enjoyed the Summer 2017 Read A Thon so much. All thoughts and opinions are our own and are not influenced by the free books.

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.

Black Moon

Zodiac Series book 3

by Romina Russell

First off I have to say this series has the most beautiful covers ever! I mean look at them, they are works of art and the designer Vanessa Han is seriously talented. If you want to see more of her work check out her site. I mean I might the books she designed covers for just because they are so pretty. 🙂

 

OK now on to book 3 of this amazing series. I mean this series just keeps getting better and better with each book. The world building and characters are so well developed and nothing is forgotten from other books. The series is consistent and keeps building from one book to another. The series I really can’t wait to see how this series ends. Lots of big events happen in Black Moon, all leading up to the final book Thirteen Rising. A lot goes on in this book. Rho really shows all of herself in Black Moon she matures and really grows as a character. So much is exposed in this book and so much comes to the surface. If you are looking for a series to gift to an upper middle school and YA reader than I would seriously suggest giving the Zodiac series a try. This is a science fiction – fantasy series that somewhat parallels stuff that is happening right now in the world right now. Thirteen Rising comes out 2.5 weeks on August 29th. So if you or your YA reader like to wait for the whole series to be out before you start than your wait is almost over.

Thank you Penguin for sending me a copy of Black Moon. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

When the Sun Goes Dark

National Science Teachers Association

by Andrew Fraknoi and Dennis Schatz

illustrated by Eric Freeberg

Sites with information about the 2017 Solar Eclipse: NASANASA warning about Solar Eclipse Glasses Celestron

LiveScience step by step instructions on making a Solar Eclipse Box Viewer

 

If you are lucky enough to be in the path of totality on August 21st than this is the book your going to want to read to you kids or students. It is published by the National Science Teachers Association and full of information as well as easy to do experiments. In this book the grandparents have just gotten back from a trip to a little island in the Pacific Ocean to see the total eclipse. Their grand kids have a lot of questions about what is an eclipse and what do you see. In order to best explain it the grandparents do some fun experiments that involve things from around the house. All you really need to recreate these from the book are some balls, a lamp, hula hoops, a box – scissors – and tin foil, an umbrella and more. Many places in the path have glasses to buy at your local stores, even Lowes is carrying them. I can’t wait to see this amazing event and this book is a must read for all who have kids or work with kids that are in the line and 70 mile wide path of the Solar Eclipse. This is a chance in a lifetime for some since who knows when it will happen again for my town. Yes, it’s going to be sheer chaos that weekend before and that day is going to be insanely crowded and wild but I hope this is something my girls will always remember. Our schools are not closing so I won’t be able to experience it with them but they have a lot of activities planned so they will be learning and do so much that day it will be memorable I’m sure. This book can be read alone for any established reader and there is a glossary in the back to explain words the reader might not have read before. This would be a great addition to a 4-6 grade science classroom. I really think you could do this with the younger kids as well. Maybe read half one day and half the next and do some of the activities in small groups ending with each student making their own pinhole viewer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is wanting an easy way to explain and learn more about 2017’s Total Solar Eclipse. Even if you are not in the path and can’t make the drive to one of the place in the line if you are close enough you will get a partial eclipse which is neat, just remember you can only take those glasses off or stop using the pinhole viewer during the very short time frame of totality. Go onto NASA to find out the exact time that this happens so you don’t harm your eyes. Also make sure if you do buy glasses that they are NASA approved and have the rating: ISO 12312-2. I included a link to the warning for you to read.

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.