Monday, April 27, 2009

Gooney the Fabulous by Lois Lowry

Gooney Bird Greene is an eccentric second grader in Mrs. Pidgeon's class. When the class is learning about fables, Gooney Bird suggests that everyone in the class write their own fable to share with the class.

What I Thought:
Such a neat book! This is my first experience with Gooney Bird and definitely won't be my last! I loved Gooney Bird and all of her classmates, which play an important role in this book. This book would be a great read aloud for an elementary school class and incorporate their own lesson of fables right along with the story. The readers of this book get to read each of the students fables and learn right along with Mrs. Pidgeon's class.


Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Gooney the Fabulous by Lois Lowry.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia is 18 years old and just got the news that her best friend Cassie died. Her best friend that stopped talking to her. Her best friend that threw up after every meal. Her best friend she watched be lowered into the ground.

Her best friend that is now haunting her, waiting for Lia to join her on the other side.

Lia is anorexic. Her parents make her eat the food, the evil food that she must not taste because it makes her fat, so fat. Food is bad. She counts every calorie, she exercises constantly, she knows all the tricks to make her family thinks she weighs 110 pounds.

When she really weighs 95. 90. 85. When she wants to weigh nothing.

She swore to be the skinniest girl in school.

Is it worth it?

What I Thought:
I was SO excited to read this book. I've heard nothing but positive things about it, when it FINALLY arrived at the library, I hugged it and wouldn't put it down for like 10 minutes.

Well, this book was well worth the wait! I read it in sections, just so I wouldn't be over too fast.

Now, I've never been anorexic, but I could not imagine a better insight into the mind of an anorexic girl than this book had.

And it is unbelievably scary.

Anderson writes from Lia's point of view, and you can watch her thought process deteriorate as her mind and body is neglected the necessary fuel it needs to function. We see her reasonings of why she does this to herself, and how she thinks others see her. We learn every thing she eats/is forced to eat. We flashback to various points of her life, further making us understand how this ugly cycle began.

This is an unbelievable story of a problem that is much too common.

Very. Highly. Recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Roscoe Riley Rules #5: Never Tap Dance on Your Teacher by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs

Roscoe is back for his 5th adventure that landed him straight into time out.

When his friend Emma brings her tap dance shoes to show-and-tell one day, Roscoe decides that tap-dancing is something he just has to do.

So, after some pleading, his parents allow him begin taking lessons. Roscoe is so excited, but when he gets there and sees that he is the only boy, he rethinks his decision. Emma eventually gets him out on the floor, and he has a great time!

Then the duo sign up to perform in a talent show. When Roscoe gets teased, he fakes an injury to get out of performing, leaving Emma to do the routine all by herself. Will Roscoe come through for her friend??

What I Thought:
Well, in case you haven't noticed, I really love Roscoe. I think this series of books, including this one, is a great choice for young readers ready for a novel! Roscoe is just a normal kid who gets into some innocent trouble (that is usually pretty entertaining) and learns a lesson each time.

I thought this book was especially useful because it tackled the concept of gender-specific roles and activities, such as guys taking dance classes. Guys can dance if they want to!!

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Roscoe Riley Rules #5: Never Tap Dance on Your Teacher by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama is off to school! After a hurried morning, Mama Llama drips Llama Llama a his first day of preschool, where he has a hard time getting adjusted.

Llama Llama misses mama!

What I Thought:
I simply adore these books. The illustrations are superb, I love taking extra time and experience each one. I love the expressions on Llama Llama face.

This book will be very relevant to kids to young children as they may experience anxiety as they begin school.

This book is just adorable, but I still think Llama Llama Red Pajama is my favorite!

Very Highly Recommended!

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron

In this second installment featuring Lucky and the residents of Hard Pan, a small remote desert town in California, Lucky is days away from turning 11. Life is going pretty well, her "mom" Brigette has opened a small cafe that attracts some business, lately some geologists who have come to the area for research have been stopping by.

This is how Lucky meets meets Paloma, a girl about her age visiting the area with her uncle. They hit it off, and Paloma is invited out for the weekend to help celebrate Lucky's 11th birthday.

They are intrigued by an old legend that the brooch of Paloma (a different one!) is at the bottom of an old well.

When the girls get into trouble, will the residents of Hard Pan come to the rescue?

What I Thought:
I thought this was a good book, and a neat follow up to the Newbery Award Medal winning novel, The Higher Power of Lucky. From what I've read, there will be a third book coming sometime in the future!

Hard Pan is such an interesting place! It's a very small town in the desert and populated by a crew of unusual residents that are fun to read about and get to know.

Highly Recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Good Luck Bear by Greg Foley

Bear is lying in the grass and finds a three leaf clover. Mouse informs him that if he finds a four leaf clover, it is lucky!

So Bear begins looking and all his friends stop by.

Discouraged when he doesn't find one, Mouse finds something for him...

What I Thought:
I adore the Bear books by Greg Foley. They are simply sweet and you can't help but to like Bear and his friends! The illustrations are great, I love how the text is on one page (each different colors) with coordinating illustrations on the opposite page.

A wonderful read aloud, especially for a storytime outside and everyone could search for their own four (or five!) leaf clover.

Highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Good Luck Bear by Greg Foley.

Friday, April 17, 2009

NEW Book Day!!

IT'S HERE!!! Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney is finally here!

I'm very excited to read it...

Watch for my review soon! (It may be a week or so though, I've got to finish this project that is due on Tuesday.)

Then I'll have one more major project that is well underway and then two minor ones. Which is really good because this book FINALLY arrived at the library!

I've been desperate to read it, I really just should have bought it but didn't. And it's here, it's finally here! It shall be my reward for finishing the dreaded project.

It's llama time!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Diane Goode

Mom is super nice. She takes care of people, takes them where they need to go.

But she is really trying to ruin her daughter's life. She talks too loud, she kisses, she doesn't let her do anything dangerous!

Even dad is in the ploy. Oh, he's cool too, but he makes her clean her room and go to bed on time.

Daughter has come up with a plan that will put them both in jail, and she will be free!

But is that such a good idea?

What I Thought:
I purchased this book for the library based on the title! (And review, but the title caught my eye!)

It's cute, a great book to read when your tween starts the sighing with eye rolling and "Mom, you are ruining my life!"


Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: My Mom is Trying to Ruin My Life by Kate Feiffer, illustrated by Diane Goode.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

As Ben prepares for his senior year of high school, he receives devastating news at his physical in preparation to run cross country: cancer. Prognosis? A year. If that.

Ben instantly decides to forgo treatment, which would not have made much of a difference, to instead live his one year left to the greatest. He also makes the decision to not inform anyone of his sickness, not his parents, his brother, no one will know.

As Ben lives the rest of his life in one year, he is fearless. He dates the girl of his dreams, gives up cross country for football, stands up for his beliefs, challenges the teachings of his teachers, and attempts to help those seemingly hopeless.

But can he handle the stress of imminent death alone?

What I Thought:
This is a deep, wonderful story. This was a hard book for me to read, not really because of the topic, but because I didn't understand the thought process behind some of it. And the football jargon. But this is okay, because I'm not a guy, and this book is from a male's point of view, written by a guy. I am pumped that I didn't understand it all!

This is a great book that answers the question "what would you do if you had a year to live?"

Highly recommended, especially for male readers.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Deadline by Chris Crutcher.

Sassy: Little Sister is NOT My Name by Sharon M. Draper

In this book of Sassy's adventures, Sassy is tired of being called "Little Sister," as each of her family members call her. She is in the fourth grade, and wants to addressed as her name!

She goes to a school that requires boring uniforms, which is hard for a girl who loves fashion, color and sparkle!

Sassy has a bag that is stock full of important items that seem to save the day! She helps her friend who gets stuck in a chair, always has items for school that her friends forget, and even saves the day when her family gets stuck in an elevator!

Sassy is a delightful girl with great friends, a wonderful family, and a great big heart.

What I Thought:
A super cute book! Sassy is a wonderful character and I certainly hope this is not the last we see of her! A great book for the 3rd/4th grade crowd.


Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Sassy: Little Sister is NOT My Name by Sharon M. Draper.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wow, how cool!

Today at the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll, President Obama read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

I love that book, and loved to see our President read it to a group of young children.

Whoo-Hoo for reading aloud!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Six little wombats head off on a walkabout (a long walk) and one by one they get sidetracked by things in the Austrailian countryside, and is captured by a dingo. The last two make a plan to save their friends, will it work?

What I Thought:
What an adorable book. The rhyme is catchy and the illustrations are so cute. Each of the wombats are wearing a specific item that provides distinction and Shields provides a key along with a glossary of the Austrailian terms that are used, like walkabout and kookaburra.

This would be a wonderful book to share in a Australia unit, or a fun counting book.

Highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Duck and Cover by Jackie Urbanovic

Duck, Irene and all of the other animal friends are playing one day when the doorbell rings. Much to their surprise, it's an alligator who has run away from the zoo and needs somewhere to hide.

But should they let him in? Alligators are known for eating animals, in fact this one has been accused of eating a little's girls pet. The alligator just thought it was a snack!

They group lets him in and spends the next bit figuring out how to hide the alligator from the detective (it's hard to hid such a large animal!) and keeping him full. (So he won't get hungry and eat them!)

What I Thought:
A wonderful book. This is the third book featuring Duck, also check out Duck at the Door and Duck Soup.

This book does not disappoint anyone who is a fan of the earlier books. The story is fun, the illustrations are bright and enhance the story wonderfully. This book is a delight.

Highly Recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Duck and Cover by Jackie Urbanovic.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Boo-Hoo Moo by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Keith Graves

Hilda Mae Heifer was very sad. Even her moo was sad, she had a blue moo. The other animals thought she sounded miserable and she made their ears hurt!

So they got together and decided that accompany Hilda, but when they can't decide on who, they hold auditions for a chorus!

Will they cheer up lonely Hilda?

What I Thought:
So cute!! I loved when the animals held the auditions, it reminded me of American Idol!

The illustrations are bright and colorful and a perfect accompaniment for the story.

And a bonus! Click here to listen to Margie Palatini read this story. It is hilarious, and I just adore the voices she has for each character! I think instead of me botching this story during storytime, I'll play the recording and let the kids hear how it was meant to be read!

Super fun book, recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Boo-Hoo Moo by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Keith Graves

Willoughby and the Lion by Greg Foley

Willoughby is a young boy who has just moved into a new house, which he hated. One day he sees a golden lion perched on a rock in his backyard.

Intrigued, Willoughby asks the lion what he is doing there. The lion responds that he has the power to grant Willoughby ten wishes, but unless he wishes for the "most wonderful thing of all," the lion will be stuck on the rock forever.

Willoughby begins asking for his wishes, and has a grand time. But when approaching wish ten, the lion is very sad. Will Willoughby wish for the wish that can free the lion?

What I Thought:
This book is absolutely amazing. It truely touched my heart, it's a beautiful story.

I loved the illustrations in this story. They are black and white, but the lion and anything the lion provides through the wishes are presented in a shiny gold foil. Make sure you pay special attention to the lion's facial expressions, it will draw a tear to your eye.

A simply wonderful story that shows what is truly important, even when one has the chance for anything.

Very highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Willoughby and the Lion by Greg Foley.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Big Bad Bunny by Franny Billingsley, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Big Bad Bunny is off on an adventure, tearing through bushes and stomping through streams while Mama Mouse kisses each of her children good night. When she realizes that Baby Boo Boo is missing, she goes searches for her.

Will she find her?

What I Thought:
Oh my! This is such a fun book, and such a fun read aloud. I've already read it to anyone who would listen, and you can be assured that this book will be featured in an upcoming storytime.

The illustrations are distinct depending on who's story is being told, and both fit the story perfectly. In addition, the text style is different for each character, Mama Mouse's is dainity while Big Bad Bunny is harsh and crude.

Children everywhere are bound to enjoy this book!

Highly Recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Big Bad Bunny by Franny Billingsley, illustrated by G. Brian Karas.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Roscoe Riley Rules #4: Never Swim in Applesauce by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs

What has Roscoe done now to land him in time-out?

Well, it all began when his teacher told his class they were going on a field trip to an apple farm! He was so excited, and managed to borrow his sister's crazy eight ball, which he often consulted to make sure the trip would be fun.

And it was, until the class went on a tour of how applesauce is made...

You'll have to read it to find out what happens...but I'll just say it is very messy!

What I Thought:
I love this series! I think Roscoe is just adorable and his books are simply delightful. They are funny, packed with action (well, first grade action!), a little innocent mischief and a good lesson.

A great book, a wonderful series, perfect for the beginning independent reader or a read aloud.

Highly recommended.

Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: Roscoe Riley Rules #4: Never Swim in Applesauce by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Brian Biggs

You know I love a series when I reviewed every book in the series thus far, and anticipate the next release! Check out other reviews for Roscoe Riley Rules here: Number 1, Number Two, and Number Three.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

How to Raise Mom & Dad by Josh Lerman, illustrated by Greg Clarke

A big sister teachers her little brother the ins and outs of raising parents from making sure they get up early enough to be awake for work to making sure they eat enough vegetables. It's a big responsibility!

What I Thought:
This is such an adorable book. The illustrations are hilarious, as the sister is talking with the brother about how to "raise" their parents and "make" their job easier, the parents look more exhausted with each page turn!

A super fun book that both parents and children can enjoy together!


Want to see more? Check it out on Amazon: How to Raise Mom & Dad: Instructions from Someone Who Figured It Out by Josh Lerman, illustrated by Greg Clarke.