Friday, September 28, 2012

More Bears! and Cat Secrets

 More Bears
By Kenn Nesbitt
Sourcebooks, Nov 2010
Hardcover, 32 pages
Rating: 5 Bites. More bears please!

"Once upon a time there was a story. It was a lovely story with absolutely NO BEARS in it—not a SINGLE BEAR anywhere."

If you haven't read this book-stop everything you're doing and go get it. The book is about an author who's writing a book that has no bears in it. Or does it? What?

Love this book. Kids will love it. LOVE it. AND the book is cheaper from Sourcebooks! They have some cheap titles there that are better priced than Amazon (though for me it says there's $6 shipping). So if you buy a few it would be "so worth it!" Oh if I were made of money!

More Bears will be one that is loved for sure!

Cat Secrets
By Jef Czekaj
Balzer and Bray, Jan 2011
Hardcover, 32 pages
Rating: 5 Bites

"I'm sorry—this book is not for you. This book is for CATS ONLY.
What's that you say?
You are a cat?
Okay . . . get ready to prove it!"

You know those books that are perfect for bedtime. Well this one is perfect for naptime. Interactive. And fun. See how well you can pretend you're a cat! And while you're at it...take a nap.

Both books I really liked. We actually have the More Bears one from (paperback from Scholastic) and we got Cat Secrets from the library. Both giggling interactive books.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bridget Fidget

Bridget Fidget and The Most Perfect Pet
By Joe Berger
Dial Books for Young Readers, June 2009
Hardcover, 32 pages
Rated: 3.5 bites, not life changing, but a cute book

"When a big box arrives one morning, Bridget Fidget leaps out of bed and spins down the stairs. She knows what's inside - a unicorn! After all, she's always wanted a pet unicorn, so it must be a pet unicorn. But inside the box is just another . . . smaller . . . box. And it's buzzing. This is no unicorn. But could it possibly be something even better?"

This was a cute little book I found at the library. I love the drawings. And Bridget's a curious little girl. Perhaps toddlerish-she's got some good emotions in there! And ends up happy with what she's got. A great story for girls!I mean, seriously, she wants a unicorn. How fun is that?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Series to try out!

Series are wonderful! It's like a story that doesn't end...until it does. But at least it's lengthened out. The only bummer is waiting for the next book it's not all published.

Here's some series I've read and loved...or read and loved and then didn't.

Artemis Fowl
By Eoin Colfer
April 2001
Hardcover, 277 pages
8 books in the series

"This rip-roaring, 21st-century romp of the highest order is a combination of folklore, fantasy, and a fistful of high-tech. These two crime caper fantasies feature anti-hero Artemis Fowl, a twelve-year-old boy-genius and the last of a clan of international underworld figures and con artists. Rough 'n' tumble storytelling with plenty of attitude.
From a strikingly original new voice comes the story of Artemis Fowl, a very unusual hero. Artemis is a genius, a criminal mastermind, and a millionaire...and he is only twelve years old! A combination of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Attila the Hun, even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy — because these fairies are armed and dangerous, and don't play by any rules!"

I love this series....except for # 7. Can you have a favorite series and not finish one of the books? Ahh! And since I haven't read #8, the last one, that came out July 2012 I can't tell about that one. So, at least the first 6 books are great. So...I'd still suggest reading this one. Criminal mastermind 12 year old. It's just fun! Recommended for ages 11-14.

By the way, his book signings/shows are entertaining. Though as he's gotten BIG, it seems that there's not that "quality" time with the readers as they're passing through the conveyor belt. I believe I'd asked him about adding a book to his Supernaturalist one, which he said he would. But we're still waiting for that.

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)

Gregor the Overlander
By Suzanne Collins
Scholastic, 2003
Paperback,  310 pages
5 books in the series

When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.

Usually I'm not so into book that have animals in them, but Suzanne Collins (you know, the author of The Hunger Games, in which I'd suggest that it would be a great read....for older kids. Of the mature age. There is a lot of violence. I might just say that would go in the "young adult" category, perfect for

Anyway- I read this one long ago, after I had read the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy and it was nice to know that Suzanne Collins knows how to write entertaining books.

I've been to one of her book signings as well. And I was able to get a picture with her.
Recommended ages 11-14.

Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles, #1)

Mercy Watson to the Rescue
By Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press, August 2005
Hardcover, 80 pages
5 books in the series

"Have Mercy! Get ready for an exciting new series from Newbery Medal winner Kate DiCamillo
To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig -- she's a porcine wonder. And to the portly and good-natured Mercy, the Watsons are an excellent source of buttered toast, not to mention that buttery-toasty feeling she gets when she snuggles into bed with them. This is not, however, so good for the Watsons' bed. BOOM! CRACK! As the bed and its occupants slowly sink through the floor, Mercy escapes in a flash -- "to alert the fire department," her owners assure themselves. But could Mercy possibly have another emergency in mind -- like a sudden craving for their neighbors' sugar cookies? Welcome to the wry and endearing world of Mercy Watson -- an ebullient new character for early chapter-book readers in a series that's destined to be a classic.
From the one and only Kate DiCamillo comes an irresistible new hero for early chapter book readers, brightly captured with comic nostalgic flair by Chris Van Dusen."
This is a larger sized book...about 7 x 8 inches. It's colorful and has larger type letters with many pictures. It's great for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books. It is a book with an animal as the main character and is silly! Recommended ages 5-7. The pictures are great inside. The cover doesn't do it enough justice.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson #1)

By Margaret Peterson Haddix
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Sept 2008
Hardcover, 160 pages
7 books in the series

"Luke has never been to school. He's never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend's house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.
Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He's lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family's farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.
Then, one day Luke sees a girl's face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he's met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows -- does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?"

I'm a fan of Margaret Peterson Haddix. Her stories are creative and mysterious...well some...not all. This is series seems like a popular one among kids ages 8 and up.

Among the Hidden (Shadow Children, #1)

If you like fairytales, you should check out Just Ella by Haddix for ages 11-14. It's not a series, but could have been the first book I read of Haddix's. A retelling of Cinderella, but not exactly as you'd think.

Well if you like series, there's a few to entertain! What are some series you like?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Regarding the Fountain

Regarding the Fountain
By Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
HarperCollins, April 1998
Hardcover, 144 pages
Rating: 5 Bites. Must read!

"The Dry Creek Middle School drinking fountain has sprung a leak, so principal Walter Russ dashes off a request to Flowing Waters Fountains, Etc.
...We need a new drinking fountain. Please send a catalog.
Designer Flo Waters responds:
"I'd be delighted...but please understand that all of my fountains are custom-made."
Soon the fountain project takes on a life of its own, one chronicled in letters, postcards, memos, transcripts, and official documents. The school board president is up in arms. So is Dee Eel, of the water-supply company. A scandal is brewing, and Mr. Sam N.'s fifth grade class is turning up a host of hilarious secrets buried deep beneath the fountain."   

I told you I'd have an "old" book update soon! This one could have worked too for the Under the Sea giveaway....fountain....water...good enough!

This book is so clever. If you have reluctant reader, this one should help entertain. It's a SILLY novel and since it's written in letters, memos, postcards, etc, it's mostly just "conversations". I'm the type of person who sometimes gets bored with overdescriptions but loves the talking parts, so this book was much more that....talking.  

The ending had some newspaper clippings and other documents ("documents" for fear of sort of spoiling) that weren't as "conversationy" which bored me a little, but you could skim through those to get to the good parts.

Everyone's name in the town also has a water theme, so watch out for that....Sam N. ... Minnie O.

This book is just the first in a series of "Regarding the....." presumably about fixing up their school. It's funny. Not your laugh out loud, but entertaining! I mean they wanted a new drinking will they end up with a FOUNTAIN fountain?

And it's a clean read. For ages 8-12, says the publisher, but I'd think even high schoolers could like this one. It's just so different than the usual and fun!

Paperback is also available on Amazon here

Regarding the Fountain <---and at it to your goodreads by clicking that!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Under the Sea Giveaway!

For our Under the Sea Giveaway Little Zombies is giving away a copy of 
Dolphins at Daybreak by Mary Pope Osborne

"Morgan le Fay will make Jack and Annie masters of the tree house if only they can solve four riddles. "Dolphins at Daybreak" begins the third set of four books in the magical series, as Jack and Annie embark upon solving riddle number three in a whole new world under the ocean!"

I believe I listened to this one driving on the return trip from vacation. I needed something to entertain me and keep me awake. Well, I can't remember too much what it was about...but I didn't fall asleep. One to add to your child's bookshelf! Some kids enjoy this series more than I! Let's be honest.

      Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House, #9)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Last Holiday Concert: Are you sick of this yet?

The Last Holiday Concert
By Andrew Clements
Unabridged Audiobook
Listening Library, Sept 2004
3 hrs, 1 minute
Rating: Yep, another one to add to the list. Great for a holiday read!

For Hart Evans, being the most popular fifth grader has its advantages: kids look up to him and teachers let him get away with everything. But during one choir practice, Hart zones out too far, accidentally flinging a rubber band at his teacher. Mr. Meinert realizes that if Hart is ever going to discover his musical potential, his punishment must march to a different drummer. And then, as Mr. Meinert is about to leave school because there is no funding left for his job, he orchestrates a class vote to appoint Hart as the new interim choir director. Now it's Hart's job to ready the class for the annual Holiday concert, and ultimately to convince the board why his teacher should stay in school.

Review: Once again a typical Andrew Clements book. He knows what it's all about. Kids are smart and if you give them the chance, they can do great things! And the ending was good. Bittersweet.

If your child is enjoying Andrew Clements' books, this is another great one. I've tried two others of his that I actually didn't enjoy that much. I couldn't really get into Extra Credit that much. I also didn't like Troublemaker. I tried a few pages from that one, but seeing as I don't use bad language, that book sort of kind of used an inappropriate word. Or rather an appropriate word in an inappropriate way. And I wasn't feeling too good about that one. So disclaimer for that one!

And if you think I'm reviewing an old book, just wait til the next review! 1998. Which proves that not only newer books are good!

You can buy it from Amazon here!

The Last Holiday Concert

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I've Got a Dinosaur On My Head: We don't just do books!

I've Got a Dinosaur On My Head
music by Peter Apel
CD, 2007

Rating: Listening worthy...over...and over... for maybe zombies ages 0-12

I decided to add this CD in with the blog. After all, zombies can like music too. And when it's difficult finding good/fun music for kids to listen to and something that will entertain you too, we can always use the help.

We picked this up from the library. And I love it. They're mostly silly songs. Well okay, they have Twinkle Twinkle Little Star....including.... Christopher??

Your kids will giggle. Maybe you'll start singing along too.

Some of the song titles: I've Got a Dinosaur On My Head, I Love Bananas, and I Eat Oatmeal For Breakfast. Though you can skip the Train it's just trains chugging along. No words if I can remember.

You can find it on iTunes or Amazon, which has it for $1 cheaper. Even the husband seems to like it. He's making his own words to the music.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Seeing Cinderella: Not sure I'd want those glasses!

Seeing Cinderella
By Jenny Lundquist
Aladdin, March 2012
Hardcover, 240 pages
Rating: 4 Bites: Girls ages 9-13 will enjoy!

Sixth grade is not going well for Calliope Meadow Anderson. Callie’s hair is frizzy, her best friend, Ellen, is acting weird, and to top things off, she has to get glasses. And her new specs aren’t even cute, trendy glasses—more like hideously large and geeky. But Callie soon discovers that her glasses have a special, magical perk: When she wears them, she can read people’s thoughts. Crazy glasses aside, Callie has more drama to face when she’s cast as the lead in the school play—and instead opts to be an understudy, giving the role of Cinderella to Ellen. Can Callie’s magic glasses help her see her way to leading lady, or is she destined to stay in the background forever?

Robot's Review:
Cute cover. And the back cover was enough to get me to check the book out. A girl who has glasses that could read other's thoughts. Bring it on. This should be fun. And it was!

It's not a retelling of Cinderella. And that's okay. I did like how she's also a writer and writes little stories in the book. It shows that just a little bit of creativity can bring out an interesting story from those who try. Great for those interested in writing.

One problem I kind of had with the book-if I want to start getting critical-is that we learn in the beginning that she's kind of shy. But she doesn't really act that way all the time. (But maybe that was just how she saw herself. Which is probably it.)

Anyway-debut book of Jenny Lundquist. I enjoyed it! And those super cool (but ugly) glasses that can read people's thought....not sure I'd want a pair. Perhaps Lundquist has given us a good idea of what other's just might be thinking!

Rating: Girls will enjoy it! I enjoyed it! A great one to add to their reading list.

Disclaimer: There is some family dysfunction. Highlight for spoiler: Mother and father are separated. Father left because of another woman.
Find it on Amazon here! 
Seeing Cinderella

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Infinity and Me: What does infinity mean to you?

Infinity and Me
By Kate Hosford, Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
 Hardcover, 32 pages
Carolrhoda Books, October 2012

When I looked up, I shivered.
How many stars were in the sky?
A million? A billion?
Maybe the number was as big as infinity.
I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity?
Uma can't help feeling small when she peers up at the night sky. She begins to wonder about infinity. Is infinity a number that grows forever? Is it an endless racetrack? Could infinity be in an ice cream cone? Uma soon finds that the ways to think about this big idea may just be . . . infinite. 

This book is listed for ages 5-10. Personally I didn't find the book to be amazing for myself, but I did like the author's note at the end. (But the book isn't for me as it's been decades since I was 5.) I would imagine kids don't generally read the author's note and thus my next critique comes into play.

It would have been nice if the author could incorporate that the infinity symbol is called a "lemniscate". Because random facts like that are fun and make you feel smart! And you might miss out if you don't read the note at the end!

This wasn't one of my favorite math picture books. (Check out Math Curse by Jon Scieszka--it is awesome and funny!) The illustrations of Infinity and Me were fantastic- if you like that kind of illustration. It's beautiful, but not my personal preference.

Also-the example with the pasta noodle could be a bit confusing. Since theoretically you can cut it in half forever, but visually it seems finite and could be difficult to comprehend.

Rated: 2.5 Bites  Between an "it was okay" and "liked it". But I don't see why other people couldn't like it was seriously just personal preference.

I was given this netgalley for free and am not being paid for my review. Read May 4th, 2012
If I remember, my son said it was fun. And weird.