Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Big Bad Bubble by: Adam Rubin

Have you ever wondered what happens to bubbles when they POP?  Author Adam Rubin answers this question in his book Big Bad Bubble.

The bubbles end up in La La Land.  Which isn't all bad because it is where donuts grow on trees! However La La Land is also where monsters live and they are afraid of bubbles.  They run away screaming whenever they see a bubble.  Summer is the worst time for the monsters since there are more bubbles in the summer months.

What will the monsters do?  Will they learn the truth about bubbles?  Are monsters afraid of anything else?  This is a fun read aloud that I am sure your entire family will enjoy.

After reading the story go out and make some bubbles!

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, July 25, 2014

My Penguin Osbert by: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Author Elizabeth Cody Kimmel in her book My Penguin Osbert explains the frustration a young boy has had in previous attempts at asking Santa for Christmas presents.  This year, he decides to be very specific in his letter to Santa. He wants a pet penguin.  Not a stuffed penguin, but a real one, from Antarctica.

What happens when he receives a real penguin causes many problems for this young boy.  He learns that maybe he should ask for something else that is not so much work.  He finds a solution for his problem and looks forward to next Christmas.  What could go wrong with a boy and a ..., well, I shouldn't spoil the ending for you.

Merry Christmas in July!

Happy Daily Reading

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five Kingdoms Sky Raiders by: Brandon Mull

Me with author Brandon Mull 
I had the privilege this past spring to host a book signing at my elementary school with Brandon Mull.  My students and I enjoy his books and it was exciting to be among the first to get a signed copy of his newest series Five Kingdoms Sky Raiders.  This will be a series of five books and I am looking forward to book #2 since I just finished reading book #1.

This is a fantasy adventure that I won't soon forget.

Cole and his friends are looking forward to visiting a haunted house while out trick-or-treating on Haloween.  When they enter the basement of the house, only to find themselves locked, they become really scared.  Before they know it, they are being kidnapped and taken down a tunnel in the basement floor.  Cole is able to hide himself from the kidnappers.  After the kidnappers leave the basement, he decides that it is up to him to rescue his friends.  With trepidation, he enters the tunnel.  He lands in a barren land called Sambria, and learns that his friends are now slaves in a place called the Outskirts.  Cole is soon captured and taken and sold to the leader of the Sky Raiders.  As a Sky Raider, he is trained to help salvage items from the floating castles that appear almost everyday.  In the land of Sambria most things are floating in the air.  If you make the wrong move on a floating castle,  you will fall into nothing, never to be seen again.  With the help of his jumping sword, Cole becomes a skilled sky raider and soon he is helping a lost princess, Mira, regain her powers of shaping in order to save the kingdom from her evil father.

The land of Sambria has many interesting characters and magical items.  Mira is a shaper, shapers  can create items that look real but are not.  This is the reason Cole's friends were kidnapped.  The High King wants to train more people to be shapers and those living on earth seem to have some shaping talent.  People who meet Cole are surprised he came to their land on his own and feel that he is powerful in different ways then they are used to.  Cole relies on his jumping sword, which is his method of travel, as well as a weapon with which to fight. He also finds a magic shawl that when worn places you under the control of the shawl's owner.  A shawl might not sound very important, but believe me, it comes in handy.  When Mira shares the secret of who she really is the friends are soon on the run.  Stealing a floating boat, they enter a cloud wall that turns out to be a funnel cloud.  They are sure all is lost until they are rescued from the funnel cloud.  Will Cole ever find his friends?  You will love this book!  See you at a bookstore when book #2 is released.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, July 21, 2014

Too Tall Houses by: Gianna Marino

Too Tall Houses by Gianna Marino is a read-aloud book that all my students (grades K-6) enjoyed hearing this past school year.

Rabbit and Owl are friends who live in two small houses.  Owl loves to look at the forrest from his home and Rabbit tends his garden each day.  When Rabbit's garden blocks Owl's view of the forrest Owl decides to build a bigger home.  However Owl's new bigger home blocks the sun from Rabbit's garden so now Rabbit builds a bigger home.  What happens as they continue to build bigger and bigger homes will surprise you and I'm sure you'll giggle just like my students did.

After reading this book I hope you'll spend time with one of your good friends.

Happy Daily Reading

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Randy Riley's Really Big Hit by: Chris Van Dusen

Like most young boys, Randy Riley struggles to hit the ball when playing baseball.  Chris Van Dusen creates an over-the-top solution for Randy in his book Randy Riley's Really Big Hit.

You have to understand that baseball isn't Randy's only love.  He also loves things from outer space.  So, when he strikes out again, he finds happiness in creating his own robot baseball team.  One night he discovers that a fireball is heading straight for earth.  Nobody believes him but he still goes to work to save earth, his family and friends from this fireball.  When the day arrives that the fireball is going to hit earth, you can imagine that there is chaos in his town.  Randy rolls out a giant robot.  What is Randy doing with a giant robot?  Perhaps this will be the time that he will finally get a hit.

This is a great story for all baseball or space fans!

After reading this book go outside and play a game of baseball.

Happy Daily Reading

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Exclamation Mark by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld

This simple book Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld is a book with a big message.

Exclamation mark feels different from everyone else.  He doesn't know where he fits in.  As a result, he is very lonely.  Lonely, that is, until he meets question mark who asks too many questions.  Exclamation mark finally exclaims STOP!  He had no idea he had this "power" and is soon exclaiming many words.

In this short read-aloud book, we can all learn to let our own talent shine instead of comparing ourselves to others.  We all have something to offer the world.

After reading this story, take some time to create your own stories using your new friends exclamation mark and question mark.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, July 14, 2014

Under the Egg by: Laura Marx Fitzgerald

If I had to describe this book in one word it would be FANTASTIC!  I was surprised by so much in this book; such as the likable characters, the plot, the history, and an intriguing mystery.  Author Laura Marx Fitzgerald has written a book I'll never forget with her middle grade novel debut Under the Egg.

Theodora Tenpenny's grandfather suddenly passes away leaving her in charge of their 200 year old townhouse and her unstable mother.  She is not sure how long they will be able to live there, with just $463 in their cash jar.  She is happy to have chickens to lay eggs and a vegetable garden that she kept with her grandfather.  When she finds a note saying that her grandfather has taken care of her and her mother all she needs to do is "look under the egg" she believes at least some of her worries will be over.  Several years earlier, her grandfather painted a painting of an egg, and it hung on the wall above the fireplace mantle.  She takes the painting down and looks all over but doesn't find anything.  When she notices that some of the paint is chipped she uses rubbing alcohol and discovers a very old painting under her grandfather's egg painting.  She believes it is an old masterpiece that could be worth a lot of money.  At first Theodora doesn't want help from anyone.  Her grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and she is worried that maybe he stole the painting.  She has never had a friend, but soon a new girl moves in and they become two unlikely friends.  Theodora decides to trust her new friend and together they work to discover who painted the portrait of a woman with a child.  The more Theodora learns about old painters and their works she finds others willing to help her discover the truth.  She learns a lot about her grandfather and his life before she was a part of it.  She especially learns the part he played in WWII.  Will this painting really be worth something?  Will Theodora have enough money to be able to take care of herself and her mother?  Did her grandfather really steal the painting?  I literally could not put this book down.  I am sure you will enjoy this fast paced mystery as you read you will learn some art history and interesting WWII history.

Maybe there are members of your family that love to paint, or just love art in general.  After reading this book take the family to an art gallery or to see the movie The Monuments Men.

Happy Daily Reading

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Year of Billy Miller by: Kevin Henkes

Author Kevin Henkes won a 2014 Newbery Honor Book Award for his book The Year of Billy Miller.  This was a charming beginning chapter book about a second grader, Billy Miller.

Billy is nervous to begin the second grade.  But with his best friend Ned by his side, he makes it through the first day of school.  With the support of his family, he manages to make it through the entire school year.  Billy's sister, Sal, manages to help him as well.  Of course, Billy believes his sister is a pest, but he comes to realize that she loves him and just wants to help.  At the end of the year, each student is asked to write and read a poem to all the parents at a special night event at the school.  Billy is very nervous, but manages to surprise everyone with his poem. Billy is a very kind and very likable young child.  I am sure he will be a book character you will never forget.

After reading this story, take some time to create some poetry for yourself.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, July 7, 2014

City Dog, Country Frog by: Mo Willems

I am a very big fan of Mo Willems. I believe this is the first book I have read that is written by him but not illustrated by him.  This book is wonderfully illustrated by Jon J. Muth.  City Dog, Country Frog will be added to the books written by Mo Willems that I love and I'm excited to share it with everyone.  

When city dog visits the country he is happy to run about without his leash.  He finds a frog near a pond and a friendship is formed.  They play frog games and dog games and spend time remembering the fun they have together.  Dog is sad when frog hibernates during the winter and hopes they will meet again in the spring.  When that doesn't happen, will dog find another new friend?

This is a great story of friendship.  After reading this book, go and spend sometime with your best friend.

Happy Daily Reading

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Great Greene Heist by: Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson has written a great book for readers who love a fast paced, keep-you-guessing story.  The Great Greene Heist is the story of Jackson Greene, a middle school student who is trying to make good choices in order to avoid getting into any more trouble at school.  The problem is, he is very good at staging cons and usually the outcome is in his favor.

It is the beginning of the school year and Jackson is dealing with no longer having his best friend, Gaby.  Gaby stopped being his friend after a con gone bad.  He soon finds himself planning how to redeem himself in the eyes of his best friend.  If he succeeds, the entire school will benefit.   It is school election time and Keith may just beat Gaby.  If Keith wins, Jackson and all of his friends lose.  Keith wants everything for himself while Gaby just wants to help the entire school.  Jackson has to learn to trust new friends and has to stay on top of his game in order to avoid trouble.  Gaby doesn't want anything to do with Jackson and is worried that if she accepts Jackson's "help", she will lose the election.  There are many plot twists and turns, leaving the reader never sure how the story will end.  If you are a fan of the movie The Italian Job, you will love this book.  I couldn't put this book down and I'm sure you will enjoy it as well.

After reading this book enjoy a good action movie, like The Italian Job.

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is a fun story written and illustrated by Peter Brown.

All the animals are very proper and polite.  Mr. Tiger is bored with everything always being so proper, he wants to go just a little wild.  He wants some fun!  As he begins to make some changes he really goes wild.  Will the other animals follow his example?

Your child or early reader will enjoy the story as well as the pictures in this book.  Peter Brown really captures the feel for the story with his simple and beautiful illustrations.

After reading this story you may want to visit your local zoo.

Happy Daily Reading

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Treasure Chest-Clara Barton:Angel of the Battlefield by: Ann Hood

This is the first of the Time-Traveling Adventures of the Robbins Twins series and it was such a fun story to read.  I believe that author, Ann Hood, has started a wonderful historical fiction series with this book  The Treasure Chest-Clara Barton:Angel of the Battlefield.

Felix and Maisie Robbins are twins whose lives are turned upside down when their parents divorce.  They leave New York City to live with their mother in Newport, Rhode Island.  They live in the servants quarters of a 70 room mansion that is named Elm Medona.  Their great aunt Maisie previously lived in the servants quarters, but turned ill and had to move to a nursing home.  This made it possible for them to stay there and start their "new life" as their mother calls it.  The twins are not excited to be in Rhode Island.  They want to be back in New York with both parents and with their friends.

Although they are not allowed to leave the servants quarters and go into the mansion whenever they choose, they do get a VIP tour of the mansion.  It is on this tour that they learn about the treasure chest room.  Maisie really wants a closer look at this room, as it seems as if it is filled with treasures and secrets.

When Maisie talks Felix into sneaking out to visit the treasure chest room their lives become very interesting.  While they are fighting over a piece of paper with hundreds of names written on it they are whisked away to September 5, 1836 to the Barton farm where they meet a young girl named Clara.  They are able to spend sometime with Clara, learning about life in 1836.  They even teach her how to play baseball.  From what they have learned in school, they figure out that she plays a roll in the upcoming Civil War and when they realize she plays an important roll that might pertain to the list of names they have, so they give it to Clara.  Immediately they are whisked back to Newport, Rhode Island where no time at all has passed.

The first day of school is hard because for the first time in their lives they cannot be in the same classroom.  However, Maisie is excited about her first school assignment.  She has to give an oral report about someone in history that isn't very well known and she can only use books, no Internet.  Of course, she chooses Clara Barton and is excited to find many books her in the school library.  In a couple of the books, she finds the list of names that they discovered in the treasure chest room.  The list is comprised of names of men who had died during battles and the list is the only document that tells what happened to these men.  Felix is looking forward to investigating the treasure chest room again, to see what else they may find.

I cannot wait for book #2 in this series.  I enjoyed reading about Clara Barton as a child and it made me feel good to know that she had such an impact for good.  One never knows what we may become, but we should always look for ways to be of service to others just like Clara.  As a librarian, I love that this book encourages readers to go to the library and read more about the person that Felix and Maisie met when they traveled back in time.  I really hope many of you will enjoy this book and share your feelings about it here.

After reading this book I hope you'll go out and do a good deed.

Happy Daily Reading