Saturday, December 31, 2022

End of the Year Wrap-Up and Favorite Reads 2022!!!

 End of 2022!!!

It's time to wrap things up for 2022! This post isn't going to be as colorful as other years thanks to a horrible internet the last few days. So, I hope you can forgive me. But that doesn't mean I don't have tons of stuff to share!

It's been a fun year on the kidlit front and offered some changes here on Bookworm for Kids...albeit small ones. I had fun digging through all the reads, discovers gems, and simply enjoying all the worlds and directions the books have offered. And that almost every single day. 

I thank you, all my readers, for dropping in and sharing your excitement for kidlit with me. Every year, this blog grows more and more...and has actually way outgrown this platform. I, honestly, am humbled and amazed at all my fellow kidlit fans out there. So thank you (I could never say this enough)! It's always a treat to hear from you and see the views.

This year, I had to temporarily get rid of my cover lists, but I am more than determined to bring those back in 2023...because I love my covers! Also, I added two more categories to my 'Reviewed' list: Chapter Books and Graphic Novels. I've been hitting more graphic novels as the years go by and do believe these need their own section, since I know many young readers who are focused on this area. Also, Chapter Books are a class of their own. I hope to get into more of those this upcoming year, too.

But before I keep babbling about the New Year (because that's tomorrow's post), let's finish up 2022.

First, here's a breakdown of the five main groups:

Picture Books: 124
Middle grade novels: 92
chapter books: 10
young adult: 85
graphic novels: 31

That gives us a grand total of 342 books! 

Now, this does not include any Mommy's and Daddy's Day posts. Plus, I do read even more on the side (I know that's crazy!)

Now, comes the fun part. We're going to breakdown some of these into genres. This changes year-to-year a little. The last couple years, I've seen an uptick in Contemporary...and Fantasy is always a favorite. So, let's see if these trends continued into 2022.

Middle Grade: 
       Contemporary: 15
        Fantasy: 24
        Paranormal: 3
        Mystery: 12
        Spy: 5
        Nonfiction: 16
        Science Fiction: 5
        Humor: 6
        Poetry: 2
        Other: 2

As usual, Fantasy refuses to let the other genres pull ahead, but there was a definite increase in the Nonfiction arena. I also was surprised to see how Mystery is catching up to Contemporary. Now, I realize that this isn't representative of the market, in general. But these do hint at the direction of what authors, publicists, and publishers are pushing toward me. 

Now, let's see if Young Adult swings in the same directions:

Young Adult:
        Contemporary: 5
        Fantasy: 28
        Paranormal: 14
        Mystery: 9
        Nonfiction: 5
        Science Fiction: 12
        Romance: 7
        Other: 5

Yep, Fantasy still stays ahead of the pack with two related genres coming in as next behind. Contemporary fell back, this year, though. Many of these could arguably be put in a different category, since there are quite a few leaning in the mixed direction, but I tried to push them into the genre which seemed more strongly represented during the story (to me). 

So what does all of that mean? Well, Fantasy and imagination still are going very strong and darker tones are definitely in.

Now, that we have that through, it's time to head into my favorite part of this post, which just happens to be a list of my the favorite reads which hit Bookworm for Kids this last year. This list might surprise you, since I tend to have very different expectations on what I consider great kidlit as opposed to many in the literary world. I also take into consideration (mostly, actually) what kids around me are saying and which books strike their interests. After all, these are books for kids, not for us adults.

So, let's get this going, shall we?

Oh, and these aren't in any specific order.

Favorite Reads of 2022!!

Picture Books

The illustrations are gorgeous and set the perfect stage for a bedtime read. I enjoyed the gentleness of the butterflies, the writing and the entire atmosphere as it invites to dreams.

This read is so much fun! The monster parade completely wins over with it's fantastical variety and silliness. It is one of those books, which will have young readers flipping through on their own to find their favorite beast.
Taking on much more serious tones, this one is for slightly older readers and holds depth. It is masterfully done from the illustrations to the bitter-sweet ending. 
Warmth and love radiate from this wonderful, nighttime read for younger readers out there. It just makes the reader want to snuggle up with their parents/guardians and enjoy the love and security. 

This is a 'feel-good' read, which has such a inspiring message about friendship, that it's impossible not to enjoy. It's gentle and touching and just one of those reads to cuddle up with again and again.

Middle Grade

Action, technology, tension, and even important messages slide into this wonderful high-tech, action, and mystery adventure. It was refreshingly original for the middle grade reader, doesn't talk down to the audience, and lets readers dive into the adventure. It is for slightly older middle graders and promises tons of suspense.

I was surprised at how well this one takes a gentle, wholesome character and setting, while weaving in the dusting of magic to let dreams drift right along as if they always belong to life. There's never a boring moment, making it hard to put down, and it's great for more sensitive readers, too.
While the plot does seem to take its inspiration from a story, which circulated the internet and news world a few years ago (whether it was reality or myth, I don't know), the author does a wonderful job at twisting it into an inspiring story for middle graders, while also bringing a different culture, lifestyle, and awakening awareness for certain groups in the process. Plus, I see readers contemplating if something similar would work for them. (And who could blame them?)
I remember how much this read surprised me. It uses various media formats within the story to build a well-laid mystery, which keeps readers guessing until the end. Plus, the format does a great job at creating a familiar reality in a school setting.
I was back-and-forth about adding this one to this list simply because it's probably unexpected for quite a few people out there. But it's so much fun, and I decided to just do it! The delivery of historic facts versus myth gives readers an unique view of history and cultures in a way, which could be translated as fantasy pure...but there are some truths there, too. The illustrations add to the fantastical atmosphere and will have readers wondering about many of the mentioned places themselves.

Young Adult

I'm actually going to recommend Books 1&2, since they both came out this year...and were both amazing. So much happens in these reads. The world building as well as the vibrant array of characters round off a complicated plot, which grabs until the last page. But this series isn't done with only these two and is expected the release of the third and final book in 2023.
Tackling the tough theme of bullying, this one takes on a thriller/mystery atmosphere with an ending, which leaves the reader in thought. It does hang high on high school drama and social difficulties, while carrying unexpected twists and a dark, original tone. 
Ready for a sarcastic and humorous tale of the afterlife? This one promises an original swing, while building in the excitement of demon hunting, too. The original direction and fresh, natural writing make this one something different, which will thrill the right reader. 
Not for the sensitive reader, this book hits more than a couple harsher themes and allows human nature to explore its greedy, ruthless, and raw-evil side. It leaves food for thought, while building tons of tension, many surprises, and action, too.

First off, this read swirls around Scramble...and that was a definite, new direction. It also builds in mystery, dealing with the loss of friends, and the ruthlessness determination can bring. All of this is woven into a well-written tale with a character, who is more than easy to root for.

Graphic Novels

This one is hitting my list not only because it is well-written and nicely illustrated...but because I know more than a few readers, who enjoy it quite a bit. And since it's a favorite with them, I'm definitely not going to ignore it.

This is the 2nd book in the series and contains three mysteries. I enjoyed the balance of illustration versus text and find the lighter style wonderful to bring across the scenes with the same delightful energy that Enola deserves. The mysteries are well-laid, but it's the characterization which wins over.

There is little to criticize in this read, except maybe that it does take a slightly darker tone, at times. So, this one is not for sensitive readers (it reminded me of the darker tones found in the Lion King). The graphics are very well done, and the story holds amazing pace. The characters are also of course, this one is on my highly recommended list.

With that done and the year coming to an end, I wish all of you a wonderful celebration tonight and will see you tomorrow for the 1st post of the year!

Friday, December 30, 2022

Today's read... Cursed Princess Club by LambCat

I'm wrapping up the end of the year with a brand new series in the graphic novel world...or webtoon realm...or whatever you want to call it. It appears in just a few days, January 3rd. Anyway, I loved the pastels and pretty princesses slamming against the title and the third princess. This one should pack a punch of some sort...and I'm thinking it might lean toward a bit of humor and fun. (Plus, LambCat hasn't disappointed me, yet.)

Anyway, let's take a peek and find out.

Cursed Princess Club, Volume 1
by LambCat
Webtoon Unscrolled
Young Adult / Tween Graphic Novel
288 pages

JANUARY 3rd!!!

Meet Gwendolyn – living proof that princesses don’t always have it all. See, although she lives in a castle and her father is the King, Gwendolyn isn’t like a movie princess, or even a fairly-tale princess. She’s got a big heart, but isn’t particularly attractive and doesn’t have a Disney-quality singing voice. But one night, she accidentally stumbles upon the twisted world of the Cursed Princess Club, and her life will never be the same. Hexed and cast out, the ladies of the club are just the people Gwendolyn needs to show her that just because she doesn’t “fit the mold” does not mean she’s any less of a princess.



Fairy tale like princesses, handsome princes, birds, and delicious food mix with over-the-top situations, sarcastic humor, and a touch of not-so-dark darkness to make an addictive read, which packs an important, inspiring message, too.

Gwendolyn is the third of three princesses (with a prince brother as well). All of them are radiant, beautiful, and amazingly kind, except for Gwen, who holds only the lasst of these attributes. When their father, the king, announces the daughters' arranged marriages to the neighboring kingdom...and these princes aren't hard on the eyes or heart...everything works out well. Well, that is until the youngest of the three princess lays eyes on Gwendolyn and refuses to marry her. The misunderstandings multiply from there. Luckily, Gwendolyn, runs into the mysterious Cursed Princess Club and finds support and friends...but maybe this isn't helpful after all. 

I really wasn't sure which direction this read would take and was surprised when it starts with beaming brightness, pastels, friendly animals, and perfect smiles. While this seemed a bit overly sweet, at first, the humor soon kicks in, and the characters grab the attention and heart. It's over-the-top and that is perfect, especially since it balances out with a plot, which really plays the heartstrings for Gwendolyn. 
And still, the author twists and plays with all the right emotions from there, letting the reader feel disappointment, a little resentment, but then, flip-flopping into the agony of misunderstandings, which seem to only grow worse with every heartfelt try. It's lighthearted and well played.

The graphics sing with sugary sweet fairy tales and make the world glisten and shine. It sets the atmosphere for the humor and keeps everything light and fun. While it appears to be somewhat childish at first, the world is addictive, for now, and actually promises with wonderfully laid hints at so much more to come.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Today's read... The Tooting Rabbit and the Enchanted Forest by Chaz Wendling

I had some shifting to do in my schedule thanks to the unknowns of the publishing world and have a really fun read to slide in, instead. This is a picture book...which isn't a graphic novel but does hold tons of graphics (yep, I'm taking what I can!)  I do enjoy the cover on this one quite a bit, and the idea of a tooting rabbit holds tons of silly possibilities, too. This is the first in a planned series and is already out on the shelves.

So, let's just find out what this one has in store!

and the Enchanted Forest
by Chaz Wendling
Picture Book
44 pages
ages 4 to 8

Let the laughing begin !

There's nothing like reading a book and laughing out loud with your little ones.

The Waggles are taking the annual family camping trip.
- Zaza hopes to see a bunny rabbit.
- Amelia hopes to snap pictures of a blue popping jay.
- Wellington hopes to test out his survival kit.
- Mom & Dad just want to relax and enjoy the fresh air.

But their fun-filled family vacation takes a smelly twist when they cross paths with a foul-winded rabbit named Toots.

The Tooting Rabbit and the Enchanted Forest is a family tale that will fill your home with giggles.



Laughs are guaranteed as this cheerful family heads off to adventure in the woods and discovers much more than they ever imagined.

The Waggles are ready for their annual, family camping trip to the forest. Each of the three kids has their own ideas about what they'll enjoy. When the two girls head between the trees in search of a bird, they run across a cute rabbit instead...a strange rabbit. With the first toot, the fun begins, and it's non-stop from there.

The illustrations in this one did win me over. The style is fresh, easy to sink into, and packs tons of humor to accompany the text. This makes each scene sit and will have young readers/listeners laughing even without the story being read.

The text is well done as well, creating a quick read which is perfect for holding the attention of even more impatient listeners. It's a direct and straight forward plot, but that's all which is needed to let the humor fly...because this one is all about 'tooting' stink and fun. I do see this one being a 'read again' because of the silliness, since it delivers that so well.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Today's read... One Cool Duck by Mike Petrik

After yesterday's picture book, we're moving up (age wise) in the world and visiting a graphic novel for chapter book readers. It's the first in a brand-new series and promises tons of humor with an awesome duck. I do love his sunglasses. It's not scheduled to come out until May 2023, and telling by the rope swing, that should be just in time to get readers excited about some summer fun.

Let's see what this duck is all about!

King of Cool
by Mike Petrik
Hippo Park
Chapter Book / Graphic Novel
64 pages
ages 6 to 9

MAY 9, 2023!!!

What's cool, anyway? Skateboards, pizza, arcade games—and being
kind! This buoyant young graphic chapter book introduces Duck and pals, kicking off a series that makes real-life friendship issues fun.

Duck is feeling pretty good about himself. He can flip on a skateboard, and he’s a great friend, too. Then Cat comes along and seems so cool, with his high scores on video games—but Cat also does some mean stuff nobody likes! Then Cat gets caught up a tree and needs help. In three short chapters, perfect for readers just gaining confidence, Duck and his pals show Cat that being cool includes helping others and not dissing your friends.

Hippo Park graphic chapter books are ideal for beginning and newly independent readers, with approachable page counts, easy-to-follow paneling, and artwork that supports text comprehension.



Cool vibes rule when it comes to this duck...and not only in his appearance, but there where it counts.

Duck embodies the meaning of cool from the moment he wakes up in the morning and all through the day. Together with his friends, the day is packed with fun and adventure...just the way a fun summer day should be. It's perfect as can be until a new cool kid shows up, Cat. While Cat seems to rank even higher than Duck on the cool scale, things take a surprising turn and the truth might not be what anyone expected.

The second I saw this fun duck on the cover, I was excited to dive in. Plus, the idea of a graphic novel geared for chapter book readers is simply wonderful. This duck didn't disappoint. The novel is relatively short at sixty pages, and exactly the length it needs to be to tell an exciting story without drawing out too long and loosing the interest of more reluctant readers. There isn't a whole lot of text as the illustrations carry most of the story, but there is enough to practice those reading skills. Mostly, it's fun and will hold readers' interest the entire way through.

Not only does the plot move right along, but the characters are a fun bunch. Duck is true to cool-form, and his friends are not far behind. They have an inspiring relationship, showing support and concern for one another. The entrance of Cat not only demonstrates how new friends can be brought into the mix, but shows what 'true cool' really is. It's a message about caring for others, learning that everyone has weaknesses, and forgiveness. 

This is an entertaining start to what promises to be a fun series.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Today's read... Blacksmith's Song by Elizabeth Van Steenwyck

I know I said that this week is graphic novel week, but I'm going to stretch definitions a tiny bit and let this picture book slide in, since today, another edition is being released. 

by Elizabeth Van Steenwyck
Illustrated by Anna Rich
Peachtree Publishing Company
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

The son of an enslaved blacksmith learns that his father is using the rhythm of his hammering to communicate with travelers on the Underground Railroad.

"A plausible, powerful vision of ingenuity and daring in action." ―Publishers Weekly

When Pa falls ill, it's up to his son to help others along the journey―and also lead his family's escape.

Pa works hard as a blacksmith. But he's got another important job to do as well: using his anvil to pound out the traveling rhythm―a message to travelers on the Underground Railroad. His son wants to help, but Pa keeps putting him off. Then one day, Pa falls ill, and the boy has to take over.

A little-known piece of history comes to life in Elizabeth Van Steenwyk's absorbing, fictional story, exquisitely illustrated by Anna Rich. Ripe with themes of bravery, community, family, freedom, and hope, the award-winning book is perfect for Black and Civil War-era history units.


Best Children's Books of the Year (Starred) --Bank Street College of Education
Parents' Choice Recommended Award --Parents' Choice Foundation
Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (Grades 4-6) --The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate)―Kansas National Education Association

Also by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk:
First Dog Fala



Tapping into historical tales about the Underground Railroad around the Civil War, this book swirls around secret messages to help steer escaping slaves in the right direction.

A boy watches his father, a blacksmith on the estate, work during the day, and then, late into the night. While the white owner believes the father is pushing late hours to create an ordered birthday present, the father uses the rhythm of his hammers to guide slaves on their escape routes. Not only does the boy dream of the day his own family can flee, but watches with worry as his father weakens day by day.

First off, this is a beautifully illustrated book. The scenes take on darker tones, illustrating not only the fleeing slaves at night but also keeping a dark hint to the tale. These are enjoyable to gaze at all on their own and definitely give the book a high quality.

The story is written in an interesting way, which will have readers engaged. The boy's thoughts and concerns are understandable, and it's no problem to grasp what is happening. I was a bit disappointed that this is a fictional story, which isn't drawn on any known facts, but speculated and might not have happened at all, especially since there is so much information available. It does, however, point out how clever situations were handled at that time and will open up the door to conversations. So, combined with the illustrations, I do recommend this one as an edition to other reads concerning the time period and topic.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Today's read... My Little Pony by Celeste Bronfman

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! We had a slightly smaller group together, this year, but by no means super-small...and definitely full of life and excitement. Yep, we have our fun. My one son did ask last night, why Christmas always seems to pass by in a blur. So, I'll take that to me he enjoyed himself quite a bit. Now, we have to get ready for this coming weekend!

Before I end off the year with my statistics and lists, I have a week of almost sheer graphic novels ahead. (Tomorrow is a picture book, but that's close enough for me). I'm starting out with a new series over not so brand new characters that so many kids love—My Little Pony. This new series takes off (if I understood this right) where the last movie ended. So, My Little Pony fans are going to be able to dive into tons of fun where they last left off. Plus, these are very short reads at only 25 pages.

by Celeste Bronfman
Children's Fantasy / Graphic Novel
26 pages
ages 6 to 10

A new adventure begins here! Join Sunny, Izzy, Zipp, Pipp, Hitch, and their trusty sidekick Cloudpuff as they explore a brand-new Equestria following the magical events of the hit Netflix movie! With magic returned to Equestria, the ponies are more united than ever—at least until one of the Unity Crystals is stolen! Can the Mane 5 find the culprit before magic is gone for good? And where’s Cloudpuff leading them, anyway? Is this . . . Canterlot?!



With five ponies to cheer for, this launches into an exciting...and at times, adorable...adventure with mystery, friendship, magic, and all sorts of unexpected moments.

This is the first book in what's-going-to-be 10 book series, which follows the Mane 5 as they steer through a new Equestria. Following up on the last movie, magic has now returned, and the ponies are living in wonderful fun and harmony. Of course, things aren't perfect and a new threat which might remove the magic once again. Luckily, these ponies are up to adventure and, hopefully, will be able to figure out what's happening and how to stop it before it's too late.

My Little Pony fans will recognize the characters and fall right into the tale. Each pony has a very, individual character, quirks, and attitude. So, readers will have their personal favorite to follow. The excitement is always high and something is always going on...whether serious or weirdly unexpected. But then, these ponies do know how to keep adventure on it's toes. The mystery is well-laid out and it's hard to guess where things are going. Plus, at only 25 pages, even reluctant readers won't be afraid to grab this one up for a quick read.

The illustrations do the ponies justice, are colorful, and let the atmosphere radiate as it should. It accompanies the text well and builds the world nicely. I do enjoy the ponies' expressions and antics, and I have no doubt that Little Pony lovers will, too.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Today's read... How to Find the Christmas Spirit by Charly Froh

It's Christmas Eve, and to ring in this awesome day, I have a book about a cute little robot and finding the Christmas spirit. I have no idea what this one will hold but do enjoy the fresh idea already. It's the third in a series...of which I haven't peeked at before. So, before I wish you a very Merry Christmas, let's take a peek at this last read for the holidays.

Novo Space Robot
Book 3 of 3
by Charly Froh
Illustrated Zuzana Svobodova
Tiza-Charlotta Frohwitter
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

Don’t miss out on this all-new celebrated series about Novo the Space Robot!
An all-new holiday tradition!

A jingly-jolly greeting to you, Earthling!
It’s me, Novo the space robot from the planet Infinita.
Just the other day, I heard in the robo-news that the Spirit of Christmas had arrived amongst earthlings.
That sounded super scary to me! I was pretty sure that meant there was a ghost haunting planet Earth.
But I couldn’t let this ghost scare away Christmas! I swooshed toward Earth to find this spooky spirit and save my friends.
Novo to the rescue!

Are you ready, Earthling? Let’s go on an adventure across the universe!

Join Novo in this hilarious story as he discovers the true meaning of Christmas.

The perfect Christmas gift and holiday stocking stuffer from parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, teachers, and just about every earthling out there.

Also in the Novo the Space Robot series:
-How to Shrink the Doubt Monsters
-How to Solve the Mystery of Crying
-And many more to come!



Christmas spirit takes an unusual and fun twist as a little alien tries his best to save our world.

Already the cover grabs with an intriguing mix: reindeer and robot with Christmas joy. This little alien already has two books (this being the third), none of which I've read before hitting this one. But that's not a problem, since it's this is a robot to befriend, right away. Novo is very concerned about Earth and wants to jump right in when it learns that there's a Christmas Spirit causing ruckus on Earth. This obvious misunderstanding sets the stage for a cute adventure, which is lovely to ring in the holidays.

The illustrations are well done and grab into each scene. Novo comes across as a sympathetic robot with the perfect appearance to snuggle up with the intended age group. The emotions are brought across nicely and build the atmosphere the way they need to.

The tale is easy to read and makes a great read aloud. I see this one tending toward the higher end of the age group (5-6), but younger, true story fans will enjoy it, too. There is a clear message between the humor and antics of Novo and delivers with Christmas flair. For robot and alien fans, this is a wonderful addition to the Christmas season.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Today's read... Shy Girls Can't Date at Christmas by Milly Rose

 We're snuggling in for some romance around the Christmas tree in today's read. I, actually, read this one awhile ago but was saving it for this week to post it up here. It is part of a series, and I have read another book in this series already. But these aren't connected in any direct way, so they can each be read as stand-alones.

She Girls Sweet Romances
by Milly Rose
Halos and Claws Publishing
YA Romance  /  Holiday

Is the season of giving enough to bring us back together?

I wish I never saw it. But there he was, standing right in front of me, threatening other kids. Did I expect anything less from our school's worst bully? And now that the vice principal handed down his punishment, he assumes I ratted him out.

Being on the organizing committee for the Christmas dance was supposed to be fun. But now Beau Stevenson is forced to join us. We’re enlisted to teach him school spirit, but all we give him is terrified faces.

I’ve always strived to be an academically gifted good girl. My overprotective single dad warned me about bad boys like him. But now being stuck together after hours in the gym, buried memories resurface. When we’re alone, he’s no longer scary. Instead, he’s attentive and kind.

No one at school knows the secret Beau and I share. For years I’ve only seen him as a brute, but can I give this boy a second chance? There’s a deeper side to him. Is he willing to permanently become the boy I once loved?

You will love following Ava and Beau's love story. This is a high school bully redemption story, plus the story of a good girl falling for a bad boy. In forced proximity, they are both learning to love as their opposites attract. This is a young adult sweet romance set at Christmas time.



Emotion and sweetness floods from the pages in this tale of a never-lost friendship, which turns into more.

Ava and Beau were childhood friends, who ended up going separate ways. Now, they meet again as two very different individuals (thanks to growth and change over the years). This one does throw in some high school drama, misunderstandings, and, for all things, romance, and it does it in a natural and very satisfying way. Both have their goals and learn to have an understanding relationship, which shows a nice amount of growing maturity and depth. I did enjoy this newest edition to the series even more than the last one and can recommend it to young adult romance fans, especially for the upcoming, Christmas season.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Today's read... The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

I stumbled across today's read while skimming through...

Ready for this?

The library! Yes, I am a library fan. And now, that our small town's system has joined hands with the big digital world of Libby, I'm over the moon. *coughcough* Except for the fact that my reading schedule may be a bit full, anyway. How some women buy shoes, I'm into books. What can I say?

Anyway, this read came out in 2018 (?) and is a retelling of the Christmas Carol by Dickens...a modern, very teeny twist. And I'll just say now that it is perfect for a Holiday read.

by Cynthia Hand
YA Paranormal /  Holiday
400 pages

On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she'd become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.

She didn't.

And then she died.

Now she's stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge--as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.

Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly's afterlife has been miserable.

But this year, everything is about to change. . .

(Oh, and you can buy this one about anywhere, of course, but since I picked this one up at the library, I'm going to be full thrust on 'support your local library')


I'm late to the game on reading this one, but I'm so glad I happened across it. This is a very unique twist on the ever-so-loved Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and it does an amazing job at shoving the always needed message of loving others into a modern day, somewhat quirky setting. Plus, it packs imagination in the most delightful way.

Holly Chase is the perfect 'mean' girl, who has too much money and an ego to match. When her deceased step-mother appears in her bedroom at midnight on Christmas Eve, claiming three ghosts will be visiting to help Holly change her ways, Holly refuses to believe a word...which means she fails, soon dies, and lands in the afterlife with the craziest job imaginable. She, Holly Chase, is now the Ghost of Christmas Past, and it's her job to help rescue the soul of that year's Scrooge.

This read not only reminds of the traditional tale about Scrooge but adds a mix of humor, paranormal mysteries, scifi-worthy technology, romance and tons of heart. Holly Chase comes across in the perfect, privileged teen manner but not unlikable. When the reader really meets her, she's actually sunk into her new position and teeters between enjoying it and complaints. She's not perfect by any means but holds tons of hidden heart, and that's what makes her so fun to join. The cast around her holds a nice variety of personalities, which poke slightly toward different extremes with quirks all of their own. It adds the humorous, and at times more serious, back and forth to make it an easy read.

There is romance, and Holly's actions, although bold, also make sense with who she is and her past. The guy is hard to warm up to, at first, which is exactly the way he should be, considering the situation, and yet, he warms on the reader quick. But even this end holds surprises and originality, which left me with a sad-sweet sigh at the end.

The read is light and quick and easy, and it seems to flow with a bit of superficial candy with a bit of bitter zest to keep it from growing too sweet. And yet, this read does hold a deeper message and leaves those thought-gears churning after it's been put down. It manages to hold the same poke to the heart and leaves with magical Christmas warmth. As said, I'm glad I stumbled across this one.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Today's read... What Is Reindeer Going To Do? by Carly Madden

 Christmas is only a few days away, and I have only holiday inspirations on the reading front until that day arrives. Today's read is for the youngest out there, and invites to reindeer fun. I've always enjoyed reindeer tales...although none can beat Rudolf. Still, the Christmas balls on this one's antlers are adorable and the stars promise dazzling moments. And since it involves flaps, too (I love flaps!), of course, I'm going to take a peek.

Lift the Flap and Find Out
by Carly Madden
Illustrated by Caroline Dell'Ava
Happy Yak
Board Book / Holiday
12 pages
ages 2 to 5

Find out what Santa's reindeers are going to do in this charming and Christmassy interactive lift-the flap board book.

It's Christmas and Santa's reindeers are very busy. Look at what each reindeer is doing or holding and see if you can guess what they're about to do! Open the flap on each spread to discover the answer in a delightful, colorful scene.

Bright, engaging artwork exploring familiar daily activities for babies and toddlers will bring this book to life, delighting readers young and old.

With sturdy flaps to aid hand-eye co-ordination and a question on each page to prompt conversation between parent and child, this bright, engaging board book is the perfect introduction to the joy and magic of Christmas.

This book is from the Lift-the-Flap series, a collection of fun and interactive board books for babies and toddlers. Other titles include What is Mommy Going to Do?, What is Daddy Going to Do?, What is Puppy Going to Do?, What is Chick Going to Do?, and What is Baby Going to Do?



There's a surprise on every page as young readers try to guess what the reindeer is going to do next.

This is a board book for the youngest end of the reading audience and centers around a reindeer as it gets ready for Christmas. Set at the North Pole, elves and even Santa gets involved, making it great for those last days before Christmas.

The illustrations are bright, bold, and simple enough not to overwhelm, but they still hold enough details to add gazing pleasure. At first, readers see a reindeer with either items on its antlers or an expression on its face. The reader is asked to guess what the reindeer is about to do. Thanks to a flap on each two-page spread, an entirely new scene is revealed, showing the reader what the reindeer does. It draws the reader in, letting them actively participate and try to guess what they might find. This will be especially nice, when the book is reread again and again, since young listeners can guess what is coming next (and find it fun).

The text is kept simple and understandable when read aloud to young readers. There were moments, where it didn't seem to flow as smoothly as it might have, but the surprises are still delightful. It's a cute read for the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Today's read... Seasons of Change by Brooke Jameson

Today's read heads into a modern myth direction and tells the tale of the season learning to get along. Since Winter is the beginning and one of the driving characters, I did think this one would be lovely for the season. Ready to see if I was right? 

by Brooke Jameson
Dorrance Publishing Co Inc.
Children's Fiction
17 pages
ages 4 to 8

Joined together by arranged marriage, Winter and Summer, each with their own distinct personalities, are not at all surprised to find that they have very little in common. With a lifetime ahead of them, how are they to overcome their differences and learn to understand each other?
            Seasons of Change was written for young audiences to illustrate the beauty of compromise. Like the seasons themselves, Summer and Winter’s differences make them special and unique, but in order to get along they must learn to meet in the middle. The beauty that stems from their compromise is reflected in the creation of Spring and Autumn.



Heading in the direction of a modern fairy tale, this is a read to celebrate the seasons and learn about getting along when it doesn't seem as if a pair can fit together at all.

This is a lovely, illustrated read, which works wonderfully as a read-aloud and would work especially well in a group setting when learning about seasons. If follows the story of Winter and Summer, as they are forced to find a way to compromise despite their extreme differences. The writing flows very well and builds the scenes in an inviting way. It's easy to understand the issues and feel for all sides as they try to figure things out. It also demonstrates that working together and finding mid-ground doesn't mean a loss for both sides, but rather, shows the beauty in it.

The illustrations are artfully done and present a landscape or scene according to the season and tale. These take up one side of the page, while the other holds the text. While this is sold for ages 4 to 6, I'd recommend it to the upper end of this range and even slide it up a little older to 8 year-olds. This can work well as a read-alone for those who are sure of their words, too.

And here she is...

Brooke Jameson is a former collegiate swimmer. She dreamed up the idea for this story during countless laps in the pool. She has always had a passion for writing, poetry, and the arts.
            A Boston native, she received a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Bentley University. In her spare time, she can be found cheering on Boston sports teams, playing golf, and spending time with family and friends.