Strange Star

by Emma Carroll

 

 

Strange Star is such an enchanting tale. It is like you’re getting 2 stories in one book. The book is divided into 3 parts. Part 1 sets the ground work for part 2. In part one you meet most of the cast of characters included in Strange Star. What really intrigued me is the inclusion of the Mary Shelley. She is the writer of Frankenstein, one of the all time horror classics. The author even includes some history of the author and book and why it inspired her to write this book. In the first section of the book (Part 1) the characters are all together for a dinner and ghost story session. The only requirement for the storytelling is to tell a story that will freeze your blood. They are all telling stories, interesting enough Mary Shelley has a problem coming up with one and passes. Then something very strange and mysterious happens and in walks Lizzie. Now you begin the middle section (Part 2), in this you learn all about Peg, Lizzie and the mysterious scientist. This story is very mysterious and fast paced. This section is full of adventure and testing one’s will to not only do what’s right but reunite family. It is also full of all kinds of mad science as they would call it. That scientist lady was mad crazy and definitely the idea behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein I think. The last section is thinner and from here the reader will be  back at Villa Diodati and the dinner party that Lizzie was able to locate and crash. She is a very strong-willed girl to travel from England to Switzerland not only by herself but also she was blinded by the lightning strike that happened in part 1. Her bond and love for her sister Peg is what gave her the will to never give up. The last little section and the epilogue wraps everything up quick and fast, maybe a little to fast but it was still a great book and ending. This book was really enjoyable and one I’d recommend to upper elementary and middle school readers looking for a good book with a tiny bit of creepy but a great story of sister bonds that can’t be broken, as well as a semi introduction into a classic: Frankenstein. My middle grader (6th grade) read Frankenstein recently and really enjoyed it. Maybe gift your middle grader with Strange Star and Frankenstein this summer for something different for their summer reading.

About the book: 

They were coming tonight to tell ghost stories. ‘A tale to freeze the blood,’ was the only rule.

Switzerland, 1816. On a stormy summer night, Lord Byron and his guests are gathered round the fire. Felix, their serving boy, can’t wait to hear their creepy tales. Yet real life is about to take a chilling turn- more chilling than any tale. Frantic pounding at the front door reveals a stranger, a girl covered in the most unusual scars. She claims to be looking for her sister, supposedly snatched from England by a woman called Mary Shelley. Someone else has followed her here too, she says. And the girl is terrified.

 

Thank you so very much Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Emma Carroll for allowing my middle grade reader and I read this wonderful book. All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book.

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The Science of Breakable Things

by Tae Keller

The science nerd in me loved that each chapter was set up like a middle grade science notebook. STEM and girls is a huge movement right now. This book is more than a book about STEM it tackles a subject that some middle grade books haven’t touched on much: depression. Depression in a parent is one I’m not sure I’ve read about in middle grade lit. So I was interested to see how it was handled in this book. I feel in love with this book, it was heartwarming and touched me.

The main character Natalie’s science teacher has assigned a big school year-long science project. They have to create a scientific question and use all that they learn to research it and present everything they have learned in their science notebooks.  Natalie isn’t sure here question really counts as scientific inquiry but she is going to try because she really does want to know:  How do you grow a miracle? See she needs a miracle to get back the mom she use to have before the sadness took over. Natalie’s scientist mom is very sad and doesn’t get out of bed. She is suffering from depression and no one is addressing it. Natalie is going to do everything she can to get her family back to the way they were before. Natalie has 2 great friends that will do anything to help their friend. Twig and Dari are just who Natalie needs right now and sometimes just having great friends can help more than you realize. Depression is a hard thing to understand for anyone who doesn’t have it, even harder for kids to understand why does their parent not want to be with them. The author Tae Keller does an amazing job at showing how the depression of a parent can effect a child and family. Yes The Science of Breakable Things was sad but it wasn’t unbelievably sad. It shows sometimes families can’t be happy go lucky and sometimes we need to heal before we can get back to where we were before. She has created a well written book that might show a child who is also experiencing the same thing Natalie is that it is alright and it will be Okay. The Science of Breakable Things tackles family members depression,  the challenges of friendship in middle school, not giving up hope when you really feel like there is nothing you can do.  I really loved this book and I think and hope it helps a reader who might just need a glimmer of hope in a trying time.

About the book: How do you grow a miracle? 


For the record, this is not the question Mr. Neely is looking for when he says everyone in class must answer an important question using the scientific method. But Natalie’s botanist mother is suffering from depression, so this is The Question that’s important to Natalie. When Mr. Neely suggests that she enter an egg drop competition, Natalie has hope.

Eggs are breakable. Hope is not. 
Natalie has a secret plan for the prize money. She’s going to fly her mother to see the Cobalt Blue Orchids–flowers that survive against impossible odds. The magical flowers are sure to inspire her mother to love life again. Because when parents are breakable, it’s up to kids to save them, right?

Thank you so much Random House and Tae Keller for sending me a copy of The Science of Breakable Things. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Poppy, Buttercup, Bluebell and Dandy

written and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock

 

 

 

This picture book from the cover reminded me of the flower fairy chapter books my youngest loved when she was in kindergarten and first grade.  The illustrations are the strength in this picture book they are so beautiful and I love them. They are frame worthy works of art. The story was good and has a good message. They are on a mission to bring back color and happiness in the world – in this case New York City.  They spread their bold bright flower colors all over the city making it come alive with fresh fragrant flowers.  This would be a fun book to read at the beginning of spring when everything is starting to brighten up with color. Pair the book with some poppy, buttercup, bluebell and yellow flower seeds since I don’t think you can buy dandelion seeds 🙂 . Read the book – plant some flower seeds or plants or even better spread your own color by gifting some family and friends with the planted seeds on May-day and your little bookworm can be like these sweet little flowers!

About the book: A group of beautiful and feisty young wildflowers on skateboards and scooters zoom through the pages of this stunning book, spreading flower seeds as they go. Together they transform their urban environment into a place that is no longer gray, but filled with color and scent. Nature’s magic is revealed in all its glory, embodying Ralph Waldo Emerson’s idea that a weed is “a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Budding environmentalists will respond to the underlying themes of conservation and stewardship of the earth.

Thank you Random House Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Poppy, Buttercup, Bluebell and Dandy. All thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Moon A Peek Through Picture Book

written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

 

 

Oh my gosh I can’t say enough about this beautiful picture book! I loved it so much, all of Britta Teckentrup books are amazing but there is something magical about the moon. Moon A Peek Through Picture Book follows the moon through its cycle. The peek through picture book pages are the shape of the moon from waxing to waning, full to new. This is a semi introduction to non fiction for the picture book readers and listeners. The author used simple words and a rhyming text to make this book capture the youngest of listener’s to the early readers. If you are looking for a great gift idea for kids of all ages think about gifting Moon, Tree and Bee by Britta Teckentrup. She captures the beauty of the world in these amazing picture books. I hope she continues creating picture book treasures for kids for many years to come.

About the book: Over deserts and forests, Arctic tundra and tropical beaches, the moon shines down on creatures around the world. Children will love discovering how it changes from day to day as the lunar cycle is shown through clever peek-through holes, each revealing the moon in a different size and shape.

Thank you so much Random House Books for Young Readers and Doubleday Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Moon A Peek Through Picture Book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Sleepover Duck!

written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen

 

Carin Bramsen’s Duck series of picture books is so cute! I just can’t get over the cuteness! The stories are short but engaging. The personality of Duck and his friends are just like preschoolers with their curious nature. In Sleepover Duck! Duck and Cat have to find out just who is interrupting their first sleepover with all that Whoo Whoo noise. The reader and listener will see it’s just friendly Owl but Duck and Cat go around the barn trying to figure it out. The illustrations are bold and bright and perfect the story. If you are looking for a cute story to read over and over again grab any and all of the Duck books by Carin Bramsen.

 

About the book: It’s Duck’s very first sleepover . . . and it’s in Cat’s barn! But a “Hooot, Hooot” is keeping Duck from getting any sleep. So Duck and Cat set off to search high and low to find out just who is doing all that hooting…

Another great book by her that was a favorite of my youngest when she was little was Yellow Tutu. It was a must read when I was making a million tulle tutu’s for her tutu phase. 🙂

Thank you so much Random House for Young Reader’s for sending me Sleepover Duck! . All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet

written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster

Half Fairy – Half Vampire  – Total Ballerina

 

 

Isadora Moon is just like any other elementary student except her mom is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she has wings! She has a favorite stuffed animal she takes with her everywhere called Pink Rabbit. When I was little I had a little grey cat I called Mousie – don’t ask I was 2 when I named it 🙂 Isadora is in school and they are getting ready to go on a field trip to the ballet! Isadora adores the ballet, even performs daily ballet recitals for her family starting her and Pink Rabbit. Her dream is to be as good as Tatiana Tutu, she can’t believe her lucky stars that she gets to see her perform in Alice in Wonderland the ballet. The field trip doesn’t go off smoothly there are some bumps in the road. They arrive at the ballet only to lose Pink Rabbit. Isadora and her mom go looking for Pink Rabbit. Isadora finds the bunny but also runs in none other than Tatiana Tutu and she is injured. The ballet will not go on unless they find a ballerina who can play the role of white rabbit. What about Pink Rabbit? Pink Rabbit saves the day and Isadora gets a special surprise for her being such a great listener and willing to stop and help someone in need.

Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet is a great fast reading chapter book perfect for beginning readers or listener’s who are ready for longer stories. This series would be such a cute one for little girls from Pre-K to 3rd grade. The story line is sweet and shows great relations with family and friends. They are all accepting of Isadora even though she isn’t like them she is half fairy half vampire. The illustrations are black and white with shades of grey and pop’s of the color pink. Isadora Moon would be a great series to read aloud with your little bookworm. If you could find a pink rabbit that would make a wonderful addition to a gift of this adorable book series.

About the Book: Isadora Moon is special because she is different. But just like her other classmates, Isadora loves the ballet.

That’s why Isadora can’t wait for a field trip with her class to see the performance of Alice in Wonderland. Everything is totally normal. And then the curtain rises and Isadora’s special best friend, Pink Rabbit, is not in his seat. . .

Great Gift Idea for birthday or holiday or just because: Isadora Moon series and a pink rabbit stuffed animal

( I am not an affiliate to the sites that are linked, so I’m not compensated if you buy from them.)

Isadora Moon books

Pink Rabbit (this one would work)

Thank you so much Random House for sending me Isadora Moon goes to the Ballet. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Fairy Mom and Me

by Sophie Kinsella

illustrated by Marta Kissi

Hi there. My name is Ella Brook, and I live in a town called Cherrywood. 

Fairy Mom and Me is such a fun little book. The chapters are short enough to hold even young listeners. Each one has a message with in as well as the book as a whole. The main messages I think a reader or listener would get is be patient, sometimes taking the short cut isn’t always best when it comes to getting the job done. Another message is teamwork and being nice is always best. It deals with the next door neighbor girl being a bully to Ella. This is my only problem with the book. Ella’s mom and even her aunt hears Zoe being mean to Ella but they don’t really say or do anything about it. I wish they would have addressed this and shown kids how to handle a bully or a chapter on Ella and her mom talking about it would have been great since even the youngest kids are getting bullied or picked on at school this days. The chapters are short and really to me it seems like each chapter in the book is a whole separate story not a continuing one. Each chapter is about Ella’s mom learning a new spell, with a total of 4 spells and the first chapter being an introduction to  Ella’s family. This book is perfect for elementary aged readers grade 2 – 4, you could even do it as a quick little read aloud one week with a younger bookworm. At the end of the book is some book discussion questions if you want to go further into what you read. In the family activity guide there is even some fun craft ideas like fairy wings, fairy necklace and more. This book would make a cute gift with the craft supplies to make a necklace and maybe some cupcakes to go along with Spell #2 Cupcakeridoo

About the Book: Ella Brook can’t wait to grow up, because one day she will become a fairy and have her own sparkly wings and a teacher on Fairy Tube, just like her mom! Until then, Ella has to learn by watching her mom in action. But sometimes spells go wrong, and Ella’s mom can never seem to remember the right magic codes. A lot of the time, it’s up to Ella to come to the rescue. Does she have what it takes to be a fairy one day? Or will there be more glitches than glitter? 

Thank you Random House Kids for sending me a copy of Fairy Mom and Me. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.