Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hooray For Hat! by: Brian Won

This is a fabulous story for your youngest of readers.  Author and Illustrator Brian Won's Hooray For Hat! will be a treasure for your home library!

Elephant wakes up grumpy he isn't happy about being woken from his sleep.  When he finds a present and opens it to find a wonderful hat he is no longer grumpy.  Elephant goes about his day cheering up all of his friends.  What will happen if he has more friends than hats?

I loved this book and look forward to giving it out at baby showers and reading it to my Kindergarten classes next school year.  A book about spreading good cheer is something we all need every day.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beach Party Surf Monkey by: Chris Grabenstein

The second book in the Welcome to Wonderland series is a great book to begin your summer reading adventure!  Beach Party Surf Monkey by:  Chris Grabenstein is humor, family, friends and loads of fun!

P.T. and his friend, Gloria, need a plan to help save their motel, Wonderland, (which is also their home), from being bought by a rich guy who owns the neighboring hotel (who wants to tear down  Wonderland in order to expand his own hotel).  P.T. and Gloria hatch their plan to save Wonderland when they hear about a movie being made in their town.  The movie people want to use a throw-back motel as the setting for their throw-back movie, "Beach Party Surf Monkey".  According to P.T.,  there is no better throw-back motel than Wonderland.  The kids find a way to make their pitch to the movie producers.  When Wonderland is chosen as the location, they are sure they have saved their home from the clutches of the greedy owner next door.

Things for P.T. don't always work out as planned.  The good news is that P.T. and a few friends get to be extras in the movie.  The bad news is that the neighboring hotel owner (and daughter) are big schemers and dreamers just like P.T. and Gloria.  The owner next door finds ways to make life difficult for P.T., Gloria, the movie people, and the co-stars of the movie.  One of the co-stars of the movie is a monkey.  When filming a movie with a monkey, anything can happen.  In fact, when the monkey goes missing from his trailer, the movie might not ever get made.  Can P.T. and Gloria's plan of making Wonderland famous from this movie really work??

This was a fast paced, fun book.  I know children will love this book, either as a read aloud or one they can read on their own.  Make sure to check out my review of book one in this series.  Search my blog for Welcome to Wonderland Motel Sweet Motel.

I suggest after reading this book, you go and spend some time at the beach.

Happy Daily Reading!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Books and Authors and Fun!

April 22 was a super Saturday for me, it was day one of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books!  This was my third year attending this annual event and I strongly encourage you to mark your calendar now for the April 2018 event.

I spent my time shopping a variety of vendors and loved that so many had authors visiting to sign their books.  Meeting a couple of new authors that had their own booths was also a highlight.  I visited the Children's Stage in order to hear from a few of my favorite children's authors.   This is really one of my favorite weekends of the year.  It's taken me a few weeks to try to put into words how much I enjoyed this event.  I hope you will enjoy my review.

David Shannon read his newest book Bizzy MizzLizzie which comes out this fall.  This is an adorable story about a bee that is just a bit too busy and just might miss out on something big she really wants to do.

David Shannon also talked about the sequel to his book Duck on a Bike which is Duck on a Tractor.  This book is available now and I was able to get my copy signed by him.  Duck was successful when he rode a bike so he confident that he could also drive a tractor.  He
David Shannon Signing My Book
drives around the farm and soon all the animals are on the tractor enjoying the ride.  When they drive down the main road people cannot believe what they are seeing.   The animals see an "E" on one of the tractor controls they are sure it means "end of the ride".  The "end" of the book is coming and your children will enjoy this story and a few giggles as well.

Dragons Love Tacos 2 The Sequel was available for sale in early May.  I was hoping to get an early
copy and have it signed at the festival, but no such luck.  However the book's author, Adam Rubin, did read the sequel to all in attendance at the Reading By 9 Children's Stage.  It was fun hearing him read the story and to see Dragon join him on the stage.  I had the opportunity to share this book with my second and third graders before summer vacation and they loved it as much as I do.  Dragons and their young friend find that the world's supply of tacos is completely gone!?  Imagine a world without tacos?!!  Can the Dragons and their friend restore the world's taco supply?  Share this book and Dragons Love Tacos with your child as soon as possible.  After reading enjoy a few tacos together!

At a vender's booth I was able to meet Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.  They have done a few books together, Sam and Dave Dig A Hole is probably the one you have heard of the most.  They signed Extra Yarn for me and shared their newest book Triangle at the Children's Stage. You will also enjoy books that they have written on their own.  Be sure to look them up at your local library.

Extra Yarn is the story of Annabelle who lives in a little cold town that is covered in black in white.  White snow and black soot from chimneys.  She finds a box of yarn of every color and quickly knits herself and her dog sweaters.  Soon she is creating sweaters for everyone in town.  Except for Mr. Crabtree who doesn't wear sweaters or even pants!  She never runs out of yarn no matter how many sweaters she knits.  An archduke who is very fond of clothes wants Annabelle's yarn.  Will she give it to him?  I enjoyed this story, it seems the more she gave the more she received.  A good reminder that we should be giving to others acts of service each day.

I attended a panel of authors/illustrators that shared the art of children's books.  The authors/illustrators were Barbara Bottner, Karen Winnick, and Brian Won with Denise Doyen as moderator.  I was surprised to learn that most of the time the author and illustrator do not pick each other or even work together on a book.  An editor is the go between the two and sometimes the author and illustrator never even meet each other!  One might think that working on the words and the pictures of a book would be easier, but that isn't always the case.  They also discussed that animals are used a lot in children's books because it lets children see themselves in the story.  Sometimes if they see another child that doesn't look like them they might not be able to relate to the
story.  The trend that these authors are seeing right now is kindness, humor and science books.

Advice was also given to encourage life long readers in our own families.  Find subjects that your child enjoys and read fiction and non-fiction books about that subject.  You can encourage creativity by sharing wordless books with children.  With a wordless book the story will change each time you "read" it, encourage your child to tell "read" the story to you.  Continue to read together even when your child can read on their own.

 I love all things Disney.  When I saw this booth I had to stop.  I have not had a chance to read the books yet so keep a lookout for my upcoming review.  If you love searching for Hidden Mickeys around Disney Parks you will love the two Games Quests Challenges books by author Nancy Temple Rodrigue.  Her books are about people who take place in the quests at the various Disney Parks.

Another author I met was C. Taylor-Butler and I'm anxious to read her book The Lost Tribes.  Five friends come together when their parents go missing.  There are puzzles to solve as you read the story so it should be a fun book.  Look for my upcoming review.

This was such a fun day for me....I cannot put into words how fun this was for me.  I will plan on seeing you at the April 2018 LA Times Festival of Books.

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Compass South FOUR POINTS by: Hope Larson

 Another wonderful graphic novel!  I never thought I would enjoy this type of book as much as I do.  Hope Larson's first book in the Compass South series Four Points is one great adventure.  The illustrations by Rebecca Mock are great as well.

Twins, Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge, have an amazing adventure when their father goes missing.  They try to make it on the streets but are soon in trouble with the sheriff.  When they rat out a local gang leader in order to save themselves they need to leave quickly.  Cleopatra disguises herself as "Patrick" so that they can travel to San Francisco and claim to be the lost twins of a very wealthy man.   They encounter another set of twins also claiming to be the sons of the wealthy man, and they get mixed up.  Alex is now with one of the other twins and so is "Patrick".  As they both try to make it to San Francisco they  face dangers on the sea and on the land.

I couldn't put this book down because of the exciting experiences these two encounter.  I just had to know if they would ever find each other and if they can find their father.  This is a very exciting adventure that you won't forget.  I cannot wait to see book 2 in this series.

Happy Daily Reading

Friday, April 14, 2017

Grandpa's Great Escape by: David Walliams

Here is another laugh-out-loud story that you and your children will love.  In fact I'm sure that David Walliams' book Grandpa's Great Escape will be enjoyed by many family generations!

Jack loves being with his grandpa even though his grandpa doesn't know his name.  Jack is called "Squadron Leader" and grandpa is "Wing Commander".  You see Grandpa thinks believes he is still a fighter pilot fighting for England in WWII.  Jack goes along with it and the two have many flying adventures together.

Grandpa goes missing from his apartment and when he moves into Jack's home he is missing once again.  Jack knows to look up when looking for grandpa because he is always going up flying his Spitfire on missions for the war.  When he is found sleeping inside a museum inside a Spitfire which is hanging from the ceiling the decision is made to send Grandpa to Twilight Towers.  Twilight Towers is the newest "old people" home in the city.  Jack isn't happy that grandpa has to go to the Towers and he really isn't happy when he learns that visiting time is only allowed on Sundays for just 15 short minutes.  Jack decides to sneak into the Towers one night and soon he is helping his "Wing Commander" escape the enemy's prison where he is being held.  The problem with the escape is that grandpa won't leave anyone behind so all the old residents "prisoner's of war" are soon escaping.  It is a grand leaving from Twilight Towers and in the middle of the escape it is discovered that the owner of Twilight Towers is stealing wills from the residents and taking all their money upon their death.

Will "Wing Commander" and "Squadron Leader" really get everyone to safety?  Have they just stumbled upon a big crime ring?  You will have to read this outstanding book to find out.  I promise that you won't be able to put this book down and Jack and Grandpa's adventure just might lead to some adventures of your own.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, April 10, 2017

Welcome to Wonderland Home Sweet Motel by: Chris Grabenstein

Author Chris Grabenstein has written another funny middle grade novel in his book Welcome To Wonderland Home Sweet Motel.  This is the first in a new series that I'm sure even the most reluctant reader will enjoy.  Chris Grabenstein is one of my favorite authors, after you read this book he will become one of your favorites as well.

P.T. Wilkie lives at a hotel with his mother and grandfather in Florida.  He loves living in a place with all you can eat ice cream machine near the pool, a frog slide and so much history  The Hotel is losing money so P.T. thinks of ways to help bring customers to the Hotel.  To bring the Hotel back to its former glory he enlists the help of Gloria, a new resident to the Hotel.  Gloria knows business and between he two of them they create some fun events to bring in the Spring Break crowd.  The activities that they plan will have you wanting to book a visit to the Hotel.

Two older men come to the Hotel and they are acting a bit strange.  Soon, P.T. and Gloria are on a search for missing jewels from a very old robbery.  Using clues and trying to go back to the time of the robbery the kids just may solve this crime and save the Hotel.

This is a great story.  So many laughs, adventure and some crazy characters.  You will love P.T. and his family.  The second book in this series comes out in May 2017 so read this book soon so that you will be ready for book 2.

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, April 6, 2017

One Proud Penny by: Randy Siegel

As an elementary school librarian I'm always searching for non-fiction read aloud picture books.  I've discovered a great one written by Randy Siegel and illustrated by Serge Bloch in the book One Proud Penny.

This penny was born in 1983 beginning his life just like all the other pennies in Philadelphia.  He gives the reader facts on how he was made and fills us in on his United States travels and troubles.  He spent one winter on the floor in Wisconsin, I cannot even imagine how cold he must have been!  We learn that you can buy things with him as well as spin and flip him.  When he gets placed in a jar filled with other pennies he doesn't get depressed he thinks of his favorite President.  I will let you read the book to find out who his favorite President is and if he ever gets out of that jar!

I enjoyed sharing this with my students and it now has a long list of students wanting their own turn reading it.  I am sure you and your children will enjoy this wonderful picture book.

After reading this book search your pennies for one that was born in 1983.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Squirrel Meets World by: Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

The world needs Squirrel Girl as its newest super hero!  Authors Shannon Hale and Dean Hale have written a fun book that anyone who loves super heroes will enjoy The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Squirrel Meets World.

Doreen Green is the new girl at her school in New Jersey.  It is always hard being the new kid at school but when you have to hide your big bushy squirrel tale in your pants all day it can be very difficult.  She also has all the super skills of squirrels which she tries to hide from the world.  Doreen tries to make friends at school but her first friend is a squirrel named Tippy-Toe.  Ana Sofia becomes her first friend at school and together they have an amazing first adventure.

The city is experiencing a crime spree along with traps being set all over town to catch squirrels.  Strange microphones emit a sound that drives all the dogs crazy.  Just what is going on in this new town?

Doreen has always kept her "squirrel" side a secret but when she sees that someone needs saving she just cannot help herself.  Soon she is getting a super hero reputation as Squirrel Girl.  Her parents don't think she is ready to be a hero and they try to stop her but that doesn't work.  She is soon facing Micro-Manager a new villain.  Will she be able to stop him and his evil plan?  Nobody, not even super heroes, can always do hard things alone.  Squirrel Girl is lucky she has the Squirrels and Ana Sofia to help her.

I loved this book and I will now be looking for the Squirrel Girl Comic Books to read more about this amazing girl.

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pax by: Sara Pennypacker

This book has been talked about and reviewed by many.  It sat on my "to be read" pile for awhile.  I just wasn't convinced that everyone loved it.  I was afraid I would be the one who just wouldn't get into a book about a boy and his pet.  Especially a pet fox?  Who has a pet fox??

Well, I finished this book last week and I enjoyed it.  Author Sara Pennypacker's PAX is a book you won't forget and you will want to share it with your friends.

Pax is found as a fox pup by a young boy named Peter.  They are together all the time.  After the death of Peter's mother his dad decides to sign up to go to war.  Peter is to live with his grandfather and Pax will be set free into the wild.  Peter is very upset when his dad makes him trick Pax just outside a forest on their way to Peter's grandfather's home.

Pax was never a fox who lived in the wild.  He anxiously waits for Peter to return but when Peter doesn't return Pax tries to find his way in the wild.  He needs to learn how to hunt, eat, etc...  He befriends other foxes that have a hard time trusting him since he likes humans.  Wild foxes do not trust humans.  Through Pax's eyes we learn what he is learning on how to be on his own as a fox.  When the war comes close to the foxes will they survive?

Peter runs away from his grandfather's home to try to find Pax.  When he injures his foot he finds a farm in the middle of nowhere with a quirky farm woman (Vola) living there.  Vola befriends Peter making him stay with her until his foot heals.  Peter is also learning how to live on his own.  He finds new interests and skills living with Vola.  As we watch Peter grow we also see changes in Vola and how she adapts to her new housemate.  When Peter finally leaves the farm and looks for Pax he is sad to see the war so close to the forest where Pax now lives.  Will they find each other?

Each chapter is told from either Peter's or Pax's viewpoint.  I found this such a great way to get to know both of these characters as well as Vola.  I feel as though I've made three new friends and as they each go their own way I know they are forever changed because they know each other.  This is how we all go through life.  Influencing and helping those we meet along the way.

After reading this book go and try something you've never tried before.

Happy Daily Reading

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by: Michelle Edwards

Michelle Edwards has written a great story about kindness in her book A Hat for Mrs. Goldman.

Sophia has been friends with her neighbor Mrs. Goldman since birth.  As a baby Sophia wore a hat knitted by Mrs Goldman so her head could stay warm.  Mrs. Goldman makes hats for everyone.  Sophia helps by making poms for the hats.  When they go for a walk one cold day Sophia realizes that Mrs. Goldman needs a hat too.  She tries to knit her a hat but knitting is hard for Sophia.  Sophia gets creative to create a one-of-a-kind hat for her special friend, Mrs. Goldman.  Sophia teaches us all to do our best and to think of ways to make the world better by being kind.

After reading this book write a letter to thanks to someone who has done something kind for you.

Happy Daily Reading

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Life On Mars by: Jon Agee

Once again, Jon Agee has written a great picture book that adults and children will enjoy.  Life on Mars will be a treasured book for many years to come.

A small astronaut decides he will explore Mars looking for life on the planet.  He sees most of the planet and even has a gift to give to anyone he might meet.  When he finds that he cannot find his rocket he begins to panic.  He gets help, that he doesn't realize, and when he returns to Earth he still wonders if there is life on Mars.

Surprise ending that your children and you will love.  Be ready to read this story many times.

Happy Daily Reading

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Unwanteds Quests DRAGON CAPTIVES by: Lisa McMann

Lisa McMann continues the adventures of the land of Artime in her new series The Unwanteds Quests Dragon Captives.  Thisbe and Fifer, twin younger sisters of Alex, are now 12 and are looking for adventures of their own.  They have grown up in Artime hearing about their brother's adventures that have shaped the world in which they now live.  Alex has tried to keep them from learning too much magic because he sees such natural magical abilities in his sisters he is worried they have more power than they know what to do with.

When one young dragon returns to Artime stating that the other dragons are being held prisoners and used as slaves the girls want to help.  Alex, who has had life changing injuries, isn't sure that help is available.  Alex decides that the dragons need new bigger wings and he is able to make some but how to get to Dragon Island is the problem.  The twins, along with their friend Seth, set out one night to help the captured dragons.  They are able to fly to Dragon Island by riding on the back of the dragon and once they arrive at the island they are also captured.  They believe they have found friends but that isn't the case.  Now that they are captured can they ever help the dragons or even return back home.  Of course, Alex has discovered that the twins are gone and a rescue party is sent.  However, when the rescue party is also captured the situation really becomes serious.  Will anyone make it back to Artime?

I loved this story and I'm excited for the next book.  These characters feel like family to me and I look forward to more exciting adventures as the girls continue to grow and learn how to control and use their magic appropriately.

Happy Daily Reading