The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

by Beth Hautala

Publication Date: February 20th 2018 : AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks Depository Chapters Indigo

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I simply loved The Ostrich and Other Lost Things! This was a 5 star read and I want to place this in the hands of all upper elementary and middle grade readers. The book is mainly told through the eyes of 11 year old Olivia. She lives at home with her mom, dad and older brother Jacob who is autistic. Life doesn’t always go as planned with Jacob around and Olivia loves her brother so much but sometimes she just wants things to be different. She wants one thing that is just her’s since she feels sometimes her life is overshadowed by her brother. She has her superpower according to her dad: she is a finder of lost things. So not being able to find the toy ostrich that her Jacob loved so much really bugs her. There is a traveling zoo in her little town while the big zoo in Oklahoma is getting fixed. She meets Charlie, his mom is the keeper at this part of the zoo. They become best of friends and it is just what Olivia needs. Charlie is able to keep Olivia in check and has an understanding of Jacob and how hard it is to not be like everyone. Charlie was in an accident and is now blind. So he can give Olivia a perspective that she can’t understand. He also is a great friend in listening and telling her when she needs to be nice and that not everything is about her. He is her support and friend for this trying summer of growing up and trying to figure out what she likes, who she is becoming and how Jacob’s violent outburst are changing their family home. The story is realistic and one I think the reader can learn from. Olivia loves her brother so much but she is just a kid and sometimes she gets upset and frustrated but doesn’t express her outburst that well since she is just 11. I liked that in my eyes the author portrayed her very realistic, really I think the whole story seemed very relate able.  There is more to the story: the mystery of the missing Ostrich toy, The real life Ostrich that keeps getting out and coming to Olivia’s window and the moment when Jacob runs away after a very bad fight where Olivia says things she can’t take back. This scene is a good lesson in not talking to someone when your mad at them. Sometimes you say things that you want to take back instantly but it’s to late. Grab The Ostrich and Other Lost Things for yourself, your upper elementary reader or middle grade reader.

About this Book: In this beautifully written novel, the bonds and challenges of caring for a sibling with autism are bravely explored, along with the pain and power that comes from self-discovery. 

Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor’s misplaced glasses. There’s only one thing Olivia has never been able to find–her brother Jacob’s toy ostrich. It wasn’t until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she’s his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it’s Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow–unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob’s sister, Olivia’s not really sure who she is.

So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children’s production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals–including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob’s missing toy–only make matters worse, as Olivia’s summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob’s needs as the rest of her life has been.

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

Thank you Penguin Young Reader and Philomel Books for sending me a copy of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

I am not an affiliate so I will not receive any money from any purchases made by clicking the links to buy the book.

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How To Grow A Dinosaur

by Jill Esbuam

illustrated by Mike Boldt

 

 

This fun picture book is full of vibrant pictures that is sure to attract the youngest listener while reading this aloud. The story is simple and sweet making it perfect for toddlers through beginning readers. Follow a dinosaur family as they welcome a new sibling to the house. How To Grow A Dinosaur is a great big sibling book since dinosaurs appeal to both boys and girls alike. The author keeps it very real with what it’s like to have a new baby brother or sister from the screeching, burping, messy diapers and sleeping. She also talks about the big important job the big brother or sister has. They get to help teach their new little sibling the ropes. This book even goes into the toddler phase or tantrums, copy cat phase, stealing toys from bigger siblings and the all important one they don’t know what’s dangerous like big brother or sister. This book was a big hit with all the age groups I read it with and I can see why. It is such a cute story I wish it was around when my oldest was getting ready to become a big sister. Grab a copy or 2 or 3 and stick them back when you go to your next baby shower pop in a copy of this book for a big sibling gift!

about the book: Big brother dinosaur can’t wait to teach the new baby everything he knows in this funny, sweet, surprisingly practical “guide” for big siblings, from the celebrated artist of I Don’t Want to be a Frog


Good news: Your mom’s hatching a baby! Bad news: Babies take their sweet time. And when the baby finally hatches? He’s too little to play! He mostly screeches, eats, burps, sleeps, and poops. He doesn’t even know he’s a dinosaur! That’s where you come in. You can teach the baby just about everything—from peek-a-boo to roaring to table manners to bedtime. Growing a dinosaur is a big job, but you’re perfect for it. Why? Because one thing your baby brother wants more than anything . . . is to be just like you.

Thank you so much Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of How To Grow A Dinosaur. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs

by Linda Fairstein

 

 

 

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.

After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie’s found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn’t the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers.

This is a first Devlin Quick book I’ve read by Linda Fairstein. I’ve read her adult books and liked them so I thought I should definitely give her middle grade mystery series a chance. Devlin Quick is a spunky quick-witted girl who not only likes to solve a good mystery but knows the ins and outs of solving a mystery. She has learned from the best Commander Quick her mom the first Police Commander of the NYC police force. So you could say detective – police work runs in the family. She has a great partner in her best friend Katie and between the 2 of them nothing goes unsolved. The writing and characters are very well developed and while this is book 2 in the series I feel they are also stand alone. I have not read the first book but was able to jump right into this book and not once felt like I was missing something that I should know.  This book revolves around a dinosaur dig in the upper midwest of Montana and possible poachers. These poachers come onto a dig in the middle of the night and take the biggest and best dinosaur bones to sell to collectors and museums. What they do is not only illegal but not fair in the fact that they are ruining all the work the excavation team of Paleontologist and their workers are doing. Devlin Quick thinks for this dig it just might be paleontologist Steve’s right hand man who is helping the poachers on this dig site. Can Devlin Quick and her trusty helpers solve the mystery before any more bones go missing? Grab a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs to find out.

This book would appeal to mid to upper elementary through middle grade readers who are venturing into mysteries for the first time as well as seasoned mystery readers. While the 2 main characters are girls I think some boys might enjoy this as well as girl readers. It’s hard for me to judge since I only girl readers in my house but I can see my nephew’s reading this one and enjoying it. I will be reading the first in the series The Devlin Quick Mysteries Into the Lion’s Den since I enjoyed this one so much. I say add this to your holiday gift buying list and gift the mystery series to a bookworm you know would really enjoy this fun book series.

Thank you so much Dial Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House of sending me a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Baby Boo, I Love You

by Sheryl Haft

illustrated by Jane Massey

Baby Boo, I Love You enrichment guide

 

 

 

Little ones love playing with their dolls! Celebrate that love with Baby-Boo, I Love You, and follow one imaginative little girl who adores playing mommy. And as she bathes, feeds, and frolics with her doll, she emulates a nurturing parent-child relationship, showing the universal joys of being cared for and cherished. 

 

 

This picture book is perfect for all those little ones out there who have that special lovey whether it’s a doll or stuffed animal. They love, care for and nurture that sweet lovey and take it everywhere. The book explores this with a little girl and her special doll. I also think this might be a good picture book for a young toddler or early preschooler who is getting ready to become a big brother or sister soon. Pair Baby Boo, I Love You with a special lovey and you’ve got a great I’m a big brother/sister gift. For us we took our oldest to Build A Bear she picked out her special animal after we had her little sister (who isn’t so little anymore. Where do the years go). The author has come up with a great enrichment activity guide with some fun simple stuff to do. This would be a fun bonding time for the older sibling when sometimes they feel a little left out. Overall I really thought this picture book was sweet and will remember it when I have a baby shower or new baby gift to give.

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers and  Nancy Paulsen Books for sending me a copy of Baby Boo, I Love You. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book. 

One Leaf, Two Leaves Count With Me!

by John Micklos JR

illustrated by Clive McFarland

 

 

About the Book: This playful counting book shares the colorful highlights of the four seasons in charming illustrations.  Count your way through the seasons! In spring, the tree’s leaves appear, one by one. By summer, there’s a glorious canopy. And when autumn winds blow, leaves fly from the tree, one after another, leading us into winter. There’s a world of activity to spy in and around this beautiful tree as the wild creatures, and one little boy, celebrate the cycles of nature. As little ones count leaves, look for animals, and enjoy the changing seasonal landscape, bouncy rhymes and bold illustrations make learning to count easy—corresponding numerals reinforcing the learning fun.

 

This super cute counting book as well as a seasons book follows a boy and the tree in his yard. It opens up in spring and you count the leaves appearing on the bare tree 1-10 and the tree and scene’s are very spring like. The book briefly shows summer, then we are into fall. For fall you count down 10-1 as the leaves fall off the tree. Then you see the bare tree for winter. One Leaf, Two Leaves Count with Me! ends where it began with Spring. I really love the simple story and colorful illustrations. The simple sentences make the counting concept easy for the youngest listener and/or reader to understand. The concept of counting up and down leaves for the seasons is a neat one and I really enjoyed it. This is great addition for counting  or seasons story time.

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers for sending me a copy of One Leaf, Two Leaves Count With Me! All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Meet the Chapter Books

I had the chance to read some great little beginning chapter books for the lower to mid elementary age readers. These are cute and have illustrations so they would also be a good introduction into longer books for even the young listener from preschool up. When I introduced both my readers to chapter books we started off with small beginner ones. That made it really fun when they finally reached the phase where they were no longer the listener but now the reader. It was something familiar and loved so it made reading on their own for the first time not so scary and they were so proud.

 

The Kid from Planet Z: Crash! by Nancy Krulik illustrated by Louis Thomas

about the book: When Zeke Zander’s spaceship crashes on Earth, he and his family must pretend to be humans until they can fix the ship and return home to Planet Z. But with antennae on their heads and a talking cat named Zeus, fitting in is easier said than done!

This was the first of the 3 I read and it was adorable! It would be perfect for any preschool through mid elementary aged bookworm who has just recently moved and will be starting a new school or even a soon to be kindergarten aged child who is starting school for the first time. Zeke Zander and his family are from Planet Z they didn’t mean to crash here but they did and until they get their spaceship fixed they have to act like they are humans from planet earth. Zeke is not to happy when he finds out he has to be a second grader and attend school. This is all new to him and he is scared of not fitting in and be found out he is different and an alien. He soon learns all about all things earth kids and even makes some friends along the way. The head of the Zander family is their cat Zeus, see on Planet Z the cats are smarter than the aliens. I got the idea that Zeus was very much liking being a lazy earth cat and was in no hurry to fix the spaceship. My favorite line in the book is so true, on page 59 Zeus the cat says: “Exactly, Zeus purred. Because cats are always in charge, no matter what planet they are on.” Well said Zeus! I can’t wait to read more adventures from Planet Z. I know the kids at my elementary school are going to love this fun book!

Bea Garcia: The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil written and illustrated by Deborah Zemke

about the book:  Bea Garcia wants to impress her brainy new friend by excelling at the geography contest, but her talents lie elsewhere and she learns that the best way to make friends is by being herself.

The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil tackles the subject of how we all have our strength’s and they might be different from another classmates. It doesn’t mean they have a magical pencil or something just that they are good in a certain subject or talent. This book also tackles how it feels when your best friend moves away and you’re looking for a new friend at school. My favorite part was when Bea found out that Einstein wasn’t perfect and her pencil wasn’t magical and filled with all the right answers. Einstein just studied a lot and hard. This is another great first day / week of school chapter book that would be a quick read aloud for a classroom or home setting as well as an easy beginning chapter book for the beginning reader.

The Escapades of Clint McCool: Octoman and the Headless Monster by Jane Kelley illustrated by Jessika Von Innerebner

about the book: Clint McCool always has a lot of great ideas. That’s what makes him such a great hero. But sometimes he has too many great ideas. Armed with his super-powered cap, his brain flashes, and his two best friends, Clint is ready to solve any problem and find adventure anywhere. When he runs onto a film set, he gets into trouble. A lot of trouble. Can Clint McCool still save the day?

Walter aka: Clint McCool is a boy who thinks before he leaps. He isn’t a bad kid he just gets into fixes. What we call trouble he calls escapades. It also kinda seemed like his mom and 2 friends Marco and M.L. let him get by with it. They didn’t really speak up and say hey slow down, let’s think things through. I expect that from the kids but not the parents. All that being said Clint is a lot of boys and girls from youngster to adult. I can really see some of the elementary kid readers really enjoying Clint McCool books and being a hit with those readers. It was a fun story with lots of great pictures and I enjoyed it, just the planner in me was thinking no you got to think it all out before you do something. 🙂

Thank you so much Penguin Young Readers for sending me this trio of beginning chapter books. I can’t wait to share them with the elementary students when school starts back. 

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.