Sunday, June 13, 2021

Review: I Am Different by Crystel Patterson

 

I AM DIFFERENT
Inspired to be...
by Crytsel Patterson
Illustrated by Briana Young
Picture Book 
36 pages
ages 8 to 12










Ekon, Nia, and Malachi are constantly reminded of their differences. Some people tease them, but their family and friends compliment their qualities that make them different. With the mixed reactions they receive, they each wonder who they should believe and come to an empowering resolution.

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON    /    BOOK DEPOSITORY


BOOK BLINK

                                        * empowering message of self-worth
                                        * adds questions to aid in discussions
                                        * definitions/explanations for certain terms


MY TIDBITS

This is a book which empowers young readers to love themselves for who they are and not always listen to those who might tease them for things, which are different such as race, hair styles and such.

From the title and cover, it's clear what message this book holds at its core—empowerment to like ones self. While this is not a rare message in the kidlit sphere, I did appreciate how the author not only illustrates various daily situations, which readers can identify with, but also offers questions to each one, which act as prompts to open up to further discussion. This makes it an ideal read for group situations and for those who are already addressing the topic in a broader realm.

The book is written in rhyme and flows well. It presents three different kids as they face ridicule and teasing, but these then find support with their family and friends, who embrace them with love and warmth. It's wholesome and offers a very positive atmosphere. I, personally, would have liked to have seen a bit more diversity on this end (there are more kids with other aspects besides just these three which face the same problem) but this is just me, and this book does fulfill its purpose well and bring across the message clearly. I also found the glossary at the end a nice touch as it explains/defines various terminology used. But then, this isn't a difficult read and very age appropriate as it is.
  
This is a well done read, which does offer a very positive atmosphere to a sometimes tough situation. Readers will have no trouble understanding it and will be lead to broadening their own thoughts as well.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Review: Odd Sports R Amazing! by Markus Baker and Adam Galvin

I loved non-fiction books as a kid, especially those which fell a little bit out of the box. Today's review is exactly that type of book. I found the cover already interesting and was excited to dive into this one. It's not for the youngest readers but works well for the middle grade audience...or those who are simply fun fact fans.

Ready for a visit to odd things around the world? 


ODD SPORTS R AMAZING!
by Markus Baker and Adam Galvin
R and Q
Middle Grade Non-Fiction
22 pages
ages 8 to 12




Odd Sports R Amazing! shares how some of the most unusual activities ever.

We couldn't fit every amazing odd sport into this little book and neither do we believe that our list can please everybody. So let us know what you think should or shouldn't be on the Odd Sports R Amazing! list by visiting www.r-amazing.com/odd-sports/

Check out all the R Amazing! books, posters and merchandise at www.r-and-q.com/r-amazing/


AMAZON   /   EDOKIA    /   R AND Q



MY TIDBITS

Bright photos accompany the weirdest types of sports across the planet to educate, entertain, and simply have some fun.

Starting with an interesting quote, this book introduce, explains and gives the background to several odd types of sports from different places around the world. Each sport's title is given and then followed with one page of information—what it is, how it originated, and other fun facts surrounding it. On the page across from this information is an entertaining, full-colored illustration. There is also a QRcode for every sport, where the reader can go to learn more. Each description is followed by a quote either from the sport's organization or someone important from the sport. If this isn't enough, every now and then, a fun fact sport is quickly dropped in along with another, inspiring quote. 

The text is easy to understand and fun to read. Middle graders will especially fit well with this one and are sure to find some amazing things, they never dreamed would ever be considered a sport. I definitely learned quite a bit and found it enjoyable to see what odd sport would come next. Readers might even be inspired to try a few themselves.

This is one of those fun, non-fiction books which packs facts and humor close together. It's a fun way to learn new things and a few are sure to stay with the reader for many years to come.


And here he is...

In 2015, having sold everything I owned, the car, the house and all my belongings. I decided to quit my job and travel the world.

With a degree in visual communication and having designed for the film industry and then a tech startup, I was ready to design and create for a different reason. As I circumnavigated the globe I wanted to design for myself with no consideration of clients, money or conformity. The plan was to develop ideas that sparked my creativity and made my heart sing.

So, this is what I did. I travelled through Russia, Mongolia, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, The Philippines, Canada, India, UAE, USA, Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

The creative outcomes of these experiences, which include staying in a Buddhist temple and with a Taoist master in the hills of South Korea were the books that you see on R&Q. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Review: Star Beasts by Stephanie Young

I have one last review to wrap up our science fiction binge. This one is not an indie read but rather a graphic novel from a growing press.  I loved the mix of animals, humor, and fast-paced adventure, and imagine that more than one or two young readers might enjoy this one too.

Ready for one last spin through the stars before calling it a day?


STAR BEASTS
by Stephanie Young
Oni Press
Children's Graphic Novel / 
Science Fiction
208 pages
ages 7 to 10


COMING...
AUGUST 17th!!!





A cosmic mix of laughs, loyalty, and adventure, Star Beasts is ideal for fans of ZootopiaMouse Guard, and Tiny Titans

Wanna know the real reason Pluto isn’t a planet anymore?

Bandit is a pup on Earth who leaves his family to join the secret order of the Star Beasts – cosmic creatures sworn to protect Earth and spread goodness throughout the universe. Only thing is, he's having trouble fitting in. But when powerful relics are suddenly stolen, the Star Beasts must band together to find the deadly galactic fossils before Pluto’s evil emperor, Khaos Krill – he wants to build the Novataur, an ancient monster that could wipe out all of Earth’s species!

Captain Bandit leads the crew on a kick-asteroid space race to collect all the relics. Flashtista, the warrior turtle, Clio, the goldfish historian, Karma, the healing tiger, Pep, the techie iguana, and the rest of Star Beasts risk their lives to learn that true family is never really lost and that protecting love is the greatest duty of all.


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON    /   B&N



MY TIDBITS

Animal lovers who love tons of action, a little bit of corny humor, and zapping between planets to save the world are going to adore this one.

Captain Bandit was a normal dog with a wonderful owner, but he's so much more than a good pal. He's a fresh captain with the Star Beasts, a group of highly selected animals, whose job it is to keep the world safe from alien issues. As a new captain, though, he's more than nervous to take on his first mission, especially when it lands him in an attack by the Crocs. No one can believe the true allies would suddenly attack like that, but then, no one ever dreamed they'd join the Krill of Pluto. Their mission is to destroy humanity, and while Captain Bandit isn't sure he should be a captain at all, he has no choice but to save the planet or lose everything he loves.

This is such a fun mix of animals and space adventure. The first pages touch the heart with a true blue dog, who has to sadly leave his owner for a space mission. It's hard not to want to hug Captain Bandit and wish him well. His ship's crew is just as fun—a broad variety of animals with tons of personality and quirks. Tension flies between them right along with humor, guaranteeing more than a giggle or two.

Then, there's the action. So much action. This might be a read for more beginner readers (ages 6 to 10) but that doesn't mean it slows down. The text is simple to read with some higher-terms and ideas thrown in to teach the reader, too. The plot, while holding high stakes and edge-of-the-seats moments, still remains right in tune with the age level. The Krill are dangerous and evil, and they are a force not to be ignored, but Captain Bandit's crew is a group with their own capabilities...even if it takes them a bit of back and forth to get that far. Add dinosaur bones, lasers, sloths, dazzle matter, stinky lemurs, and...well, it's not a boring mix.

I enjoyed this one and had no trouble reading it in one sitting, and loving each and every single animal along the way.

Review: Moon-Force 1 by Janelle M. Adams

Today, I have a couple indie science fiction reads on the review list. The second is a slightly more difficult chapter book, which is especially great for ages 7 to 9, and would work very well as a nightly read-aloud. It travels more in a fairy tale type of direction, while having evil queens, princesses and planets.

Let's take a peek! 


MOON-FORCE 1
by Janelle M. Adams
Children's Science Fiction
77 pages
ages 6 to 10













How can Mesa defeat Mirwilla and save her planet when she doesn't even remember that she is a princess?
Mesa White is a teenage girl who lives a normal life with her mom and dad, Mr. & Mrs. White. At least that's what she thought. When she meets a boy named Ethan, he takes Mesa to a magical land beyond the clouds! He claims she is the princess of a planet named Satellite! It was up to her to defeat someone named Mirwilla who took over her home planet Satellite, turned Ace against Satellite, and exploded Lightis!
Will she trust Ethan? Will she find her powers that Ethan claims will save her planet? And if she does, what are her powers? It's all up to her to find answers about her past, save her friends and family, and find the true magic inside her before it's too late!


GOODREADS    /     AMAZON


MY TIDBITS

Adventure and science fiction meld into a fun tale about a princess, who needs discover her true self to save those she loves.

This book would make a lovely, nightly read-aloud. The first chapter sets the stage and background, reading much like a fairy tale. Then, in the second chapter, the characters gain personality and the true adventure begins. 

Imagination runs high as this one travels between far-away worlds, princesses, and evil queens. Mesa is a sweet girl with a big heart, who has many friends and family. She's easy to connect to and fun to root for, right along with Ethan. I suggest this one as a read-aloud because it's the type of read to let dreams and imagination take flight, which will especially come to life when hearing it told by a loved one. 

Those readers, who are sure of their words but not ready for longer tales, will find the short chapters and quick pace as well as the short length ideal. The vocabulary is at their level, yet still introduces a few tougher words every now and then. It's an easy read with tons of adventure and will have princess and planet friends curious what might happen next.


Review: Harvest Season by Christopher Bodmann

Happy Friday! Today on Bookworm for Kids, I'm going to have a bit of an Indie science fiction day. I have a pair of exciting reads, which go to space and beyond...both in intriguing ways. The first one is aimed for slightly older readers and is one of those books, which doesn't twist quite in the usual, expected way.

So, let's blast off and see where today takes us! 



HARVEST SEASON
by Christopher Bodmann
Upper Middle Grade/ YA Science Fiction
201 pages
ages 10 to 16












Marigold Miller was a remarkably smart girl growing up in poverty. All she wanted was to make a difference in the world. With her older sister dead from coronavirus, her father suffering from a traumatic brain injury, and her mother abandoning the family, Marigold had her hands full, and she believed her station in life was set at the bottom. But when she finds her sister in an abandoned factory - still the same age as when she died - Marigold is launched into an adventure beyond her wildest imagination. She discovers the truth about life in the galaxy and realizes she is the only hope to save humanity from an alien civilization bent on taking over planet Earth. Along the way, Marigold learns about herself, why her gifts are important, and why everyone deserves at least a chance to prove their own worth.


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   



MY TIDBITS

Heart and sincerity meet nanobots and aliens in a read, which leaves deep thoughts about humanity, life and the universe.

Marigold has a tough life since her mother left them and her older sister died of an illness, which has her father mentally off-balance. Struggling to keep life going while attending school, her main concern is just to keep her father alive and them fed. When something crashes into an abandoned warehouse nearby, she discovers something which appears to be her sister. Although it's impossible that this girl is truly her sister, Marigold decides to help her. But as two strange men start to chase them, and the girl fights to regain her memory, Marigold slowly discovers that she's landed in something larger than she could have ever dreamed...and that the existence of humanity is at stake.

While this one is sold for upper middle graders, I'd recommend it to the older end and head right into the young adult audience. This is a book, which dives into action with high-stakes, but also one which heads in a deeper direction with the intention of leaving more than a little food for thought. Marigold is definitely a character root for, and the author gives her tons of depth, not only in the first chapters. The chapters flip-flop between the real-time adventure of Marigold trying to help 'her sister' escape the aliens hunting her and Marigold's past life, showing the moments which meant the most to her. It makes for a deep and yet action-packed read.

This is one of those wonderful science fiction reads, which twists and turns and leaves off in a very unexpected way. The questions of humanity's worth in the universe as well as the importance of family and love come to play. While reading this, I wondered why the author was constantly flipping between the main plot of the chase and Marigold's past, since the more and more the book went on, this constant use of flashbacks seemed increasingly detached. But the ending does round everything off masterfully well. It's just the reader has to wait for the connection, and this is something I'm not sure middle graders will have the patience for. Young adults will love it, though.



Thursday, June 10, 2021

Review: The Dream Weaver by Reina Luz Alegre

 




THE DREAM WEAVER
by Reina Luz Alegre
Simon & Schuster
Upper Middle Grade Contemporary
272 pages
ages 10 to 12













Twelve-year-old Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From startup companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.

So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother José will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her Mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!

After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together…until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare.

Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.


GOODREADS   /   KOBO   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY    /     AMAZON    /    B&N



MY TIDBITS

This is a read with tons of heart, which puts family, friends and dreams at the center and demonstrates that fighting for something is a magic all on its own.

Zoey has moved around. A lot. Her father constantly tries to achieve his latest dream, and while Zoey does find this neat, it's also take a toll on her and her older brother. While staying at Poppy's, she finally meets someone who might be a real friend, but there are other problems already mounting, especially on the financial end. Add her brother's up-coming college years and her father's latest dream chase, and her job to hold everyone together might just become impossible after all.

There are so many good things about this book. Zoey is, firstly, a girl with tons of energy and heart. Despite her difficult past (loss of mother and constant moves), she's got both feet on the ground, has a very good grip on people, and sees what needs to be done. But, of course, she makes mistakes. She's definitely a character to love and root for. Then, there's the setting of beaches and bowling, which already lure in. Zoey's family is golden, too. Each one has a loving personalities and their rough spots. They fight, and yet, keep the bonds...even though the one with the father is strained. It's a lovely mix and well done.

I'd place this one for upper middle graders more, thanks to some of the interactions and scenes. The book begins with Zoey starting her period, which I'm not a fan of, especially since it's presented a little overly dramatic (like so often lately in middle grade books) and just adds to girl's tensions unnecessarily. But that's just me. Also, I sometimes Zoey 's friends acted older than their age. But the book definitely stayed, otherwise, in the middle grade realm.

This is a lovely read for anyone who enjoys realistic moments, great settings, and a girl with heart and determination. There's a lot of warmth and family in these pages, and it definitely makes a lovely, summer read.



And here she is...

Reina Luz Alegre lives in the Miami area with her family. She’s dreamed 

of becoming an author since the second grade, and grew up to work on various 

other professional dreams—including as a freelance journalist and lawyer—

before debuting her first novel, The Dream Weaver. When she’s not writing, 

Reina loves to read, sing, and salivate over baking shows. Follow her on 

@ReinaLuzAlegre

Sneak Peek: Two Kinds of Us by Sarah Sutton with Giveaway!




Two Kinds of Us
Love in Fenton County Book 5
by Sarah Sutton
 YA Romance













DIAMONDS MEET ROCK 'N ROLL AND SECRETS MEET THEIR END.

In a life of diamond bracelets and country clubs, I’m the perfect daughter. I get all the right grades, volunteer at all the right organizations, apply to all the right colleges.

And I hate every second of it. At the rate my life is playing out, under the strict rule of my parents, politicians and housewives will be my future.

Until I meet Harry.

Harry’s a singer in a rock band with a voice so beautiful that I actually feel hypnotized. Doesn’t hurt that he’s hot either, and with the kind, flirty personality to match, it’s the perfect trifecta. And even better, he sees the me I want to be. He sees me as the girl who can break free of the life she’s trapped in, who can control her own future.

The only problem? He knows me as Stella, my fun, carefree alter ego—so drastically different from Destelle, the girl who is trapped in the life her parents rule.

But as we get closer, I realize Harry’s keeping a secret of his own, something related to the dark past that he’s trying to move on from, and when I find out, everything we’ve built could come crashing down.


This is the fifth book in the Love in Fenton County Series, but can be read as a standalone. Check out this Opposites Attract + Hidden Identities Romance today!





SNEAK PEEK

As I picked up the cold, stupid, heavy thing, my mind began racing for excuses. I came out to find it shattered, I could say, but then they would promptly ask me where I was. They wouldn’t quite believe it got broken at Margot’s house, a house safely tucked inside a gated community. 

I accidentally smacked the seat belt into it. Except I wasn’t sure you could even break a window with a seat belt. Plus, if they found out it was even remotely my fault, I’d be grounded until they shipped me off to college.

Margot might know someone who could fix a broken window. The girls at Eastview might, too—they were resourceful. Street-smart. That’s how I got my fake ID. I just had to hide the damage for a night. I could say I left my windows rolled down because…well, I’d have to think of a reason why. How hard could it be? 

I stood back from the car, lifting the cement piece. Drawing in an icy breath, I squeezed my eyes shut, and then I—

“Whoa, what are you doing?”

The sound of someone’s voice so close to me made me yelp in surprise, whirling around, cement still poised to throw. 

“Don’t shoot,” he quickly got out, and then winced.

Harry stood a few feet from me, a light-wash jean jacket over his shoulders, wind threading its fingers through his auburn hair. His eyes were wide, his eyebrows raised. Both hands were level with his shoulders, and looped around a finger in one hand hung his car keys.

For a second, I just stood staring at him, watching as his eyes darted from me to the rock in my hand to the SUV. 

“It’s my car,” I told him, my voice even.

“That’s good,” he replied, but I couldn’t tell if he fully believed me. His expression was unreadable. “Why, exactly, are you about to shatter your window?”

“My keys.” The confusion didn’t clear from his gaze. “They’re inside.” And then I added, with a gesture at the car, “It’s locked.”

Good grief, Stella, where’s that flirty attitude from last weekend? Apparently it’d gotten locked in the car along with my keys. 

Harry eyed the cement piece. “Seems a bit extreme. Why not call someone to bring a spare set?”

“Can’t.” Get a grip, Destelle. 

After another second of silence, the tension left from his mouth. “One sec,” he said after a moment, taking a backward step. He pointed a finger at the cement in my hand. “You should put that down.”

Not through the car window,” I said for clarification, my voice finally gaining some of its life back. 

It caused Harry to smile. “Definitely not.”








Sarah Sutton is the author of YA Contemporary Romance books from a tiny town in Michigan. These standalone novels can be read in any order and are sure to leave you swooning. She’s always loved the idea of falling in love; capturing the fall through words and heart-melting kisses is one of her passions! Meet-cutes? She’ll take all of them! Accidental touches? She lives for them! First kisses? Yes, please!





Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$25 Amazon



Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Review: The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

 

THE BEATRYCE PROPHECY
by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Candlewick Press
Middle Grade Fantasy
256 pages
ages 8 to 12


COMING...
SEPTEMBER 28th!


From two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo and two-time Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall comes a fantastical meditation on fate, love, and the power of words to spell the world.

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all--for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories--powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves--ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her--a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone--will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo's lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters.


GOODREADS  /   AMAZON   /   B&N   /   KOBO   /   BOOK DEPOSITORY


MY TIDBITS

Every page draws in with a wonderful mix of tension, high-stakes, and humor to create a read, which is truly to get lost in and not want to leave.

It starts with a goat; a mean goat who loves to torment the monks. When one monk finds an injured girl curled up with the goat, he's sure strange things are afoot...and he has no idea how much so. The monk himself wrote a prophecy, and the girl he finds is its fulfiller. But she's lost her memory, and worse yet, is being hunted by the most powerful man around.

I knew little about this book when I got it, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to be good. And I was not mistaken. This is adventure pure, which keeps the stakes high, personalities well woven, plot quick paced, and dashes in just enough humor to keep it fun even when horrible things happen. There's never, ever a boring moment as Beatryce tries to find herself in a world she's forgotten, all the while heading down fate's path. As anyone who deals with prophecies might know, they are tricky things in so many ways, too. Which means this tale is definitely unpredictable, too.

The author weaves in so much in so few words. By that, I don't mean the word count (which at around 250 pages is an usual length for this genre), but rather how the words are chosen so that each sentence does it's job without running into wordiness or side-tracking. It's perfect for fourth to seventh graders and will expand their vocabulary without ever becoming difficult or heavy. I just thought while reading it, 'how well written this is.' 

The adventure never talks down to the reader, has delightful characters, and does pack a little punch. There is death and illness. Beatryce is up against an evil force, and the world is not roses and sunshine only. But these are presented in a way which fits the story without hitting overly violent or gruesome either. Plus, the friendship in this one is not only unexpected but golden. 

In other words, I highly recommend this one to adventure fans (and there isn't any magic), who love high-stakes and yet, quirky characters and humor.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Review: Upside-Down Friday by Lana Spasevski

The title of today's review caught my attention. Add that cute, little monkey on the front, and there was no way I couldn't take a peek to see what this book holds. Let's see if this monkey is as fun as I'm thinking he'll probably be! 



UPSIDE-DOWN FRIDAY
by Lana Spasevski
Illustrated by Nicky Johnston
EK Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8




Hugo the monkey doesn’t like Upside-Down Fridays. The day is the wrong way round; lunchtime is at morning teatime, and all his classmates’ smiles look like frowns. How will Hugo learn to tame the butterflies in his tummy and find the fun to be had in change?

Upside-Down Friday tells the story of the day Hugo embraces the unexpected. Walking to school, anxious thoughts swirl in his head. When he arrives, the day and his routine are as upside-down as he had feared. However, Maddie the giraffe knows how to help, and reassures Hugo that things won’t always be this scary. With this small gesture of friendship and understanding, Hugo begins to feel braver, reflecting how making new friendships, helping others, and accepting change can help reduce childhood anxiety and build resilience.

With its universal animal-kingdom setting, the story has likable characters who will resonate with all pre-schoolers and lower primary-aged school children who feel nervous about change. The emotive language and unique ‘upside-down’ illustrations make Upside-Down Friday relatable, immersive and accessible; an excellent resource for opening the conversation about anxiety and teaching strategies to cope with it.

Young children’s lives are full of big, scary changes like going to school and making new friends. Help them to build emotional resilience, and find the fun in days that don’t go to plan!


GOODREADS   /   B&N    /   BOOK DEPOSITORY   /   AMAZON



MY TIDBITS

Hugo hates Fridays because they're upside-down. There's lunch for breakfast and all sorts of things, which just don't fit into the usual routine. But when he gets to school, a surprise awaits.

The illustrations in this one are lovely. They carry a gentler hue of colors, which have a calming effect even though scenes themselves are definitely not calm. The animals are a joy to see and easy to pick out. It's fun to flip through these and watch the monkey deal with strange, upside-down things.

This isn't a read for the youngest listeners but is great for ages 4 and up. It does make a good read-aloud and opens up for discussions concerning change, how to deal with it, and even meeting new friends. The tale flows smoothly and it's easy to feel Hugo's frustrations and hesitation with the odd situations. Plus, the surprise does put a smile on the face as the negative feelings change into positive ones. 

The story itself starts with a familiar scene of not necessarily wanting to get out of bed to go to school...something most kids will be able to identify with at one point or another. When Hugo goes to school, it's obvious that things are a little over-the-top and a bit of humor slides in. We did find the story a tiny bit confusing (as to what was happening and why this even was the way it was), but the message of someone reaching out to give a ray of happiness and it spreading came across nicely. It does show that there is something positive in odd situations, and they might be better than one expects. Plus, Hugo is super cute, and already makes this a lovely read.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Review: You Have to Read This Book! by Bruce Eric Kaplan

What better way to start a Monday than with some silly fun? Today's review definitely packs some quirky moments, but then, the title already promises something a little more original. Don't you think? I picked this one up not really knowing what to expect but had the inkling it could mean some laughs. 
Let's just say that this one twists a little oddly but has me curious to take a peek at the author's other works. 

Maybe, you'll enjoy a peek, too.


YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!
by Bruce Eric Kaplan
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8









From Bruce Eric Kaplan, the author of Monsters Eat Whiny Children, comes a sidesplitting story about a dad’s determination to share a favorite book with his son, who would prefer to do anything else—perfect for fans of books by Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.

Morris is excited to share his favorite childhood book with his son, Benny. The problem? Benny isn’t interested.

Not even if it’s the last book in the pile.
Not even if it’s the last book in the house.
Not even if it’s the only book Morris brings on their desert vacation, and their plane has just left, and their train has just departed, and the camel they rode in on is far, far, away.

And they are stranded.

Not even then.

Unless...?
 


GOODREADS   /    AMAZON   /    BOOK DEPOSITORY   /   KOBO   /   B&N


MY TIDBITS

A simple plot goes a long way to create a funny tale, which leaves smiles, thoughts, and maybe a sense of familiarity.

Morris can't wait to share one of his own favorite books from his childhood with his son, Benny. But to his huge disappointment, Benny refuses to even give it a glance...let alone a listen. Morris is about to give up that easily and does everything he can think of to trick Benny into letting him read it to him. The attempts become more and more extreme until Morris finds himself in a real bind...and Benny grabs the book.

This one had me smiling right away because it's a situation which happens every now and then in our family...and I imagine that's true for others, too. It did strike me a little odd that this one starts with the father and not the son, but as it rolls along, it couldn't be better. The father is part ridiculous (and kids will roll their eyes and his insistence), and yet, it's hard not to empathize with him just a tiny bit, especially when Benny relentlessly turns him down over and over again. Kids, in other words, can identify with both sides, laugh at the extreme, and kind of wish Benny would just give in. And where it all leads is something nobody will see coming.

The artwork is as simple as the plot, and it allows the tale to be brought across with extra humor and sympathy, while never steering into side details. At first, I wondered about it but soon, I was drawn in and looked forward to every page. 

The writing is great for a read aloud and fits to the age group nicely. The text is kept short but allows the meaning and scenes to hit with the impact they need. It's a quick, easy tale, making it great for even those listeners who might be easily distracted sometimes.


And here he is...

Bruce Eric Kaplan, known for his distinctive, off-beat single-panel cartoons, has been a New Yorker cartoonist for more than fifteen years. He is also a television writer and was an executive producer for the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, as well as a writer on Seinfeld (funnily enough, one of his most well-known episodes is one where Elaine becomes increasingly frustrated over what she takes to be an utterly nonsensical New Yorker cartoon). He has authored and illustrated seven adult titles including the cult classic The Cat That Changed My Life; the collections I Love You, I Hate You, I’m HungryNo One You Know; and This Is a Bad Time; and three titles featuring the wonderfully neurotic Brooklyn couple Edmund and Rosemary: Every Person on the PlanetEdmund and Rosemary Go to Hell, and Everything Is Going to Be Okay. Bruce is also the author and illustrator of five picture books: Monsters Eat Whiny ChildrenCousin Irv from MarsMeanieheadSomeone Farted, and You Have to Read This Book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.


Happy Book Birthday, Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code by Emma Jean

 Today, you can sneak a peek at a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. What makes this one original and refreshing is that this Sleeping Beauty has a head on her shoulders. She doesn't wait around but uses science and technology to battle dark magic. It is for middle graders and directs toward STEM and encouraging girls to get involved in science.

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This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 5 till 18 June. You can see the tour schedule here.

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Sleeping Beauty and the Cursed Code
 The STEM Princess Series #1
by Emma Jean
STEM Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling
Middle Grade



 

Sleeping Beauty's thirteenth birthday looms on the horizon as she and her friends hole up in the cursed princess lab, determined to prove that science and technology can defeat dark magic and save the kingdom from 100 years of cursed sleep.

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SNEAK PEEK

My mother offered me her arm and together we walked down to the banquet hall for the breakfast feast.

My dad was in the banquet hall. He’s pretty much permanently attached to the velvet red throne that adorns the head of the feasting table. I honestly almost never see him anywhere else.

Our feast was like it is most mornings, eggs, ham, fruit, yogurt, French toast, bagels, muffins, lox, caviar, and T-bone steaks. My mom and I usually eat fruit and yogurt. My dad usually eats everything else. 

Typically my dad would stay at the table after breakfast, in wait of his mid-morning snack, but today he rose with my mother and I. His round belly tipped the table slightly as he stood. The leftover steak bones and empty cream cheese containers toppled to the floor, which caused a few plates to shatter. 

Dad made a great show of picking up after himself, bending over and everything, but a slender servant rushed him out of the hall, vowing to clear the mess. The mess that he assured my father was no worse than after any other of his meals. 

My father bowed oddly to the waiter, then took me by the arm. He and I followed the sound of clicking heels that echoed through the halls as we tried in vain to catch up with my mother. She was not going to let me be late to my first day at the Cursed Princess Lab.

Soon I learned, Woz had constructed the lab on the top floor of the castle’s east wing, right after my christening, but I’d never been there before.

As we walked the very long corridors from the banquet hall to the lab, my father and I chatted.

“Are you nervous?” he asked.

“Yes!”

“Why?” 

“I have no idea what they do in the Cursed Princess Lab!” 

“Oh,” he said. 

“Do you know what they do?” I asked.

“Oh no! I don’t really concern myself with that kind of thing. I always assumed they just did lab stuff there. Or maybe, they do something called coding.” 

“Lab stuff? Coding?” I asked.

“Don’t worry Sleeping Beauty, Woz will explain everything,” he said.

“Do you really think she can help me break my curse?” 

“Sure, she just helped that Princess Lucy with hers.”

My mother who had been walking with purpose, in silence, suddenly spun angrily around, her red dress twirling elegantly around her.

“Princess Lucy was turned into a toad three weeks ago, Harold!” she said.

He let go of my arm, and started to turn back towards the banquet hall. 

“Mid-morning snack must be ready, I really ought to be going,” he stammered. 



And here she is...

Emma Jean writes books for children of all ages.

She lives in Massachusetts, near the Mayflower (the one the Pilgrims sailed on... or at least a pretty good replica), with her husband, two sons and one troublesome Basset Hound.

She studied Creative Writing at Holy Cross then earned her Masters in School Counseling at Assumption College.

She spent years working in adolescent mental health both in academic and therapeutic settings. Like her reporters in the Charles McCheese series, she found time to travel the world, helping with the Katrina clean up effort in New Orleans, studying abroad in Sri Lanka, and working alongside the Peace Corps. in Armenia. She worked with the Red Cross and counseled children in some of the toughest cities in Massachusetts.

For more information on the author, and to see pictures of the aforementioned basset hound, find her on instagram @Emma.Jean.Author or visit 4Pigs2Fly.com

Author links:
- Website
- Instagram

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