Monday, July 24, 2017

This Would Make A Good Story Someday by: Dana Alison Levy

A family summer vacation unlike any other is what author Dana Alison Levy takes readers on in her book This Would Make A Good Story Someday.  This was another perfect summertime story that I couldn't put down.  I was laughing at one moment and crying another.  I know readers of all ages will enjoy this book.  You will never forget the Johnston-Fischer family.

Sara has her summer all planned with her two best friends, Em and Vi, they want to reinvent themselves before beginning Jr. High.  Each of them has a list and they plan on helping each other achieve their goals  However, Sara's summer plans change when she learns she will be leaving home and traveling across the country by train with her family.  One of her moms has been given the chance to write a book about their family adventures as they travel.  Sara is NOT happy about being in such tight quarters with her older sister and her boyfriend (he prefers to be called "partner" because "boyfriend" perpetuates societal stereotypes), younger sister,  and two mothers.  She is afraid that all of her embarrassing moments will be in the book and she doesn't want that.  There is also another family that is also traveling for the same reasons.  The other family consists of a boy (Sara's age), dad and two 90 year old "aunties".

There are four different trains they will ride as well as stops along the way.  Some are short stays others for a few days.  Sara begins writing in a journal to fulfill a summer project of writing what you are doing during the summer.  Sara spends most of her time writing.  She tries working on her reinvention project but doesn't get very far with her goals.  She does change her hair and that story is very interesting.   Ladybug, Sara's younger sister travels with a small Roman Centurion (Bruce) she poses this little action figure with anyone who will let her and at various landmarks across the U.S.  There are family arguments along the way too, Laurel, Sara's older sister, decides she doesn't want to go to college any longer she wants to get out in the world and change it for the better.  Laurel and her boyfriend (Root) are all about saving the world.  Root really has a unique way of seeing the world.  There are also family bonding moments, such as when the sisters come together to comfort Ladybug when Bruce goes missing.

When Sara finally decides to join the adventure instead of just writing she becomes good friends with Travis the boy from the other family.  She also begins to enjoy the experiences with family and with her new friend. Ladybug and the two aunties become close friends, especially when a cardboard Elvis joins the trip because now Bruce and Elvis can be buddies.  Stops in Memphis and New Orleans are especially fun family events.  The two families become great friends and are grateful for one another when sadness comes there way.  Their stay at the Grand Canyon is very memorable.

I just cannot give this book the justice it deserves.  I truly loved this story and could relate some of their experiences with my own family vacation experiences.  What resonates from this story is that they truly love one another even with all of their differences.  The book is mostly Sara's words, some from other family members, I hope Sara will continue writing and perhaps a second book will come of her future writing experiences.

After reading this book go and do something with your family.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Gruffalo by: Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have created a wonderful story in their book The Gruffalo.  In fact, this book was voted England's favorite bedtime story.

Mouse is taking a walk through the woods.  He meets fox, snake and owl each one of them believes that mouse looks tasty.  However, when mouse tells them he is dining with a gruffalo and that gruffalos enjoy eating roasted fox, scrambled snake and owl ice cream the animals leave mouse alone.  Mouse continues his walk through the woods and when he sees a gruffalo (a creature he was sure didn't really exist) what happens next will have you and your child amazed.  Mouse is one smart animal!

After reading this book I'd love to read your comments describing to me a monster or animal you create just as mouse did.

Happy Daily Reading  Deanna

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Lost Tribes by: C. Taylor-Butler

WOW!  I had to stay up last night to finish this book.  I am so glad that I stopped and talked with author C. Taylor-Butler at the LATimes Book Festival this past April.  Her book The Lost Tribes is the first in a series and it is a must read!

Ben and his sister April live in Paradise Circle in Sunnyslope California.  They have good friends and neighbors here all the parents are friends as well as the children.  When Ben's uncle challenges Ben to find lost treasure all over the world by playing a computer game with challenges and unique graphics Ben is excited for adventure.  April is also given a copy of the game and they decide to make it a competition.  Ben's best friend Grace is soon helping Ben figure out riddles and ciphers.  Within just a day all the children in the neighborhood are playing this game.  They discover it is best to be working together since they all have different abilities that enable them to solve mysteries and gain access to items needed for the challenge.

The graphics seem to be so very real at every destination.  Ben doesn't believe it is just a hologram and that he is still in his room, he is sure he and his friends are actually transported to locations.  At one location Ben is sure he sees his dad with the dad of his friend Carlos.  The children end up back in their rooms each time they are stuck on a clue or have found what is needed at a location.  Ben starts to think the game is more real than fake and wonders if he really does want adventure in his life.  He also is more aware that all of their parents travel quite often and each has secret work spaces at their homes.  The parents are also concerned about storm clouds that are approaching and they are all angry at someone named Kurosh.

When their neighborhood is hit by more than just weather...it really seems like tanks are approaching.  The children are amazed that there is a shield around the homes and they start to learn just a bit about their parents as they are packing backpacks and urging their children to go into one room.  When all the children are told to enter a dark passageway and told to meet at Safe Harbor while their parents stay behind the true adventure begins.  Ben and his friends learn that the things that they experienced in the game will now help them find Safe Harbor.  They travel in dark passage ways, narrow cliff pathways, and end up in a desert.  When they are once again being attacked and on the run Ben's uncle comes to their rescue. What they now learn about their parents is quite unbelievable!  Are they descendants of the lost tribes?  Is earth really in trouble??  Time to read book 2 in the series.

It took me a bit to get into this book but once the game began I couldn't put it down.  I loved the
Me with C. Taylor-Butler
riddles and ciphers (even though I never figured them out) the twists and turns that takes place are exciting and I love how these five friends pull together and create an unstoppable team.  Friends need each other.  I also liked that each chapter had a quote from a variety of people and books.  I plan on writing down a few of these quotes before giving this book to my students.

After reading this book you will want to get started on reading book 2.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bug Bear by: Patricia Hegarty

A wonderful picture book that the youngest of readers will ask to read over and over again.  Author Patricia Hegarty and Illustrator Carmen Saldana have created a wonderful story with their book Bug Bear.

Bear is just trying to relax but Bug wants to make his home in the fuzzy, so soft, and so snug fur of Bear.  Bug tries and tries to convince Bear that this would be a good thing but Bear isn't having any of Bug's nonsense.  Finally, Bear seeks help from his friend Owl and Owl has a great solution for both Bug and Bear.  What is Owl's solution?  I wonder if it will really work?  Leave a comment letting me know if you agree with Owl's solution.

After reading this book create your own Bug adventure.  What animal would be a good home/friend for Bug?

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Unbreakable Code by: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

I could not put this book down!  Jennifer Chambles Bertman has written a page-turner fantastic sequel to Book Scavenger in her newest book The Unbreakable Code.  I suggest you read both of these books if you love puzzles, games, adventure...etc....

Emily and James continue to enjoy solving puzzles at the Book Scavenger website and they look forward to working with Mr. Griswold as advisers for Book Scavengers.  Emily sees her teacher taking a piece of paper from someones purse at a book signing party.  With James' help they are able to obtain this paper and see that it is a cipher for a book hidden in their town.  They figure out the clue and find the book (Tom Sawyer) and learn that there is an unbreakable code that dates back to the time of the gold rush.  It has to do with a sunken ship that is buried underneath the city of San Francisco.  As they try to figure out the unbreakable code they begin to suspect that their teacher is being framed for arson.  Emily and James find out that fires have been set at places their teacher has gone to find hidden books through the Book Scavenger game.  Emily is inside one of the buildings that was set on fire and is anxious to figure out what is going on with the fires and their teacher.  The same book is being found each time by their teacher, what does the book Tom Sawyer have to do with the gold rush?

Emily is loving living in San Francisco and gets worried that her family will be moving again soon.  She really wants to solve the unbreakable code in order to find the gold and help her family financially.  She is more involved at school and learns that she has more friends that she thought.  I enjoyed reading about Emily's experiences planning the school dance and adding a fun game to the beginning of the dance.  Seeing characters grow and overcome fears makes them very real to me.  I'd love to have Emily as my friend.

As more clues and facts are discovered by James and Emily they get closer and closer to solving the code that has been unbreakable for hundreds of years.  They also learn quite a bit about their hometown during this quest which I think all readers will also enjoy learning.

I loved this book.  I have a hard time figuring out the different ciphers but did manage to get one of them!  The premise of this book with games and puzzles all about books is great!  I hope you will comment once you have read this book.  Check out my review of Book Scavenger too.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by: Gabrielle Kent

The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle written by Gabrielle Kent is a fantasy, mystery, adventure story that you won't soon forget.  I am sure you will enjoy the story as much as I did.

Alfie Bloom is beginning his summer vacation which he is sure will be dull spent at home with his father.  However, when he receives an invitation to meet a partner at 11:59pm from Muninn and Bone Solicitors (Est. 1086) his summer begins to be the best in his life!  Munninn and Bone Solicitors sends a coach to pick him and his father up from their flat and soon they find themselves in a building like none they have ever seen.  Alfie quickly learns that he has inherited a castle from Orin Hopcraft, who Alfie does not know, and he must begin living in the castle.  Alfie is quite excited about his new home.

Luckily the castle is near the home of his cousins and their summer is filled with adventures together.  Alfie is also excited that he will be able to attend school with his cousins,
Robin and Madeleine.  They discover a bear rug that talks and flies.  It will take them wherever they wish to go.  On their very first flight they meet what they think is a dragon!?  They find hidden rooms in the castle and try to figure out clues to the castle from books and letters left by Orin Hopcraft.  Alife learns that he can timeslip and that in fact his birth was a timeslip.  Alife truly has remarkable powers and he has to use them to save the castle from being invaded by the mean headmistresses at his new school.  Animals from nearby farms go missing during full moons and Alife with the help of Robin and Madeleine want to solve the mystery of the missing animals.  Could the dragon they encountered have anything to do with the missing animals?  And why do the headmistresses seem so interested in the castle?

I enjoyed this book with all of the twists and turns that take place.  Timeslipping sounds like a fun thing to do but I'm not sure I want to meet any dragons anytime soon.

After reading this story go and create your own adventure with your cousins.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna

Monday, July 3, 2017

Real Friends by: Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham

Shannon Hale and Leuyen Pham have created a wonderful graphic novel that should be read by everyone.  Real Friends is about the struggles we all face in trying to find friends, fitting in and growing up.  Based on the elementary school experiences of Shannon Hale but it really is the experiences of us all.  I definitely saw myself in this story and I'm sure you will too.

Shannon, in the story, meets Adrienne and they quickly become friends.  Adrienne moves away in second grade and Shannon  tries to find new friends.  She finds this difficult but is so happy when Adrienne moves back in third grade.  However things have changed at school since Jen has created "the group" Shannon doesn't belong but Adrienne does.  Even at home Shannon finds situations with her sister that are difficult.  There are ups and downs throughout this book as Shannon tries to find her true friends.  Let's face it, growing up can be hard and confusing at times.

You will see yourself and or your child.  I hope parents read this book with their children and discuss ways to be a real friend to everyone at school, church and everywhere.

After reading this book I suggest you call and get together with your friends.

Happy Daily Reading
Deanna