Wednesday 31 October 2012

1, 2 at the Zoo - Sue DiCicco

1, 2 at the Zoo
Sue DiCicco
Cartwheel Books an Imprint of
ISBN 9780545432399

This book repeats counting 1, 2 through various animals as you journey through the Zoo. Penguins, monkeys, giraffes and elephants are the animals you will visit. Flaps that open to the right, to the top and even a double flap unfold. The unique flaps and wonderful illustrations will fast become family favorites. The book will work on counting, animal identification and dexterity. It is a great book that children love and will ask for many times over.

Monday 29 October 2012

The Westing Game - Ellen Raskin

The Westing Game
Ellen Raskin
ISBN 9781101157459

When I started this book, the story seemed slow and disjointed. Compared to other books by Raskin that I have read, I did not enjoy the beginning. But I am very lucky I did not give up; part way through, the story grabbed my attention and became very addictive. By the end it was towards the top of the list of the 125 books I have read in the first half of this year.

The story begins with a number of people being offered a chance to move into an exclusive condo. Some are also offered offices or business space in the building. Shortly after moving in, the tenants are informed that they are in the will of the reclusive millionaire and founder of the Westing Paper Empire, and that they are all descendants or heirs to the money. But as the will is read they are joined into teams and must work together to solve puzzles and more clues are doled out and small stipends are given to play the game.

This story is full of quirky twists and little details. As you read further into the book you might find yourself going back and rereading some sections to put together the clues yourself. The greatest strength of the book is the characters; they are so quirky and different but have all been drawn together for this game. The book does start slowly but once it picks up, it really races on. It is very well written, exciting and fun.

Books by Ellen Raskin:

The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)
Figgs & Phantoms
The Tatooed Potato & Other Clues
The Westing Game

Picture Books:
Nothing Ever Happens on My Block
Silly Songs and Sad
Ghost in a Four-Room Apartment
And It Rained. Atheneum, 1969.
A & The, or, William T. C. Baumgarten Comes to Town. Atheneum, 1970.
The World's Greatest Freak Show. Atheneum, 1971.
Franklin Stein. Atheneum, 1972.
Moe Q. McClutch, He Smoked Too Much. Parents, 1973.
Who, Said Sue, Said Whoo? Atheneum, 1973.
Moose, Goose & Little Nobody. Atheneum, 1976.
Twenty-Two, Twenty-Three. Atheneum, 1976.

Illustrated by Ellen Raskin
Happy Christmas: Tales for Boys and Girls. Edited by Claire H. Bishop
A Child's Christmas in Wales. By Dylan Thomas
Mama, I Wish I Was Snow, Child You'd Be Very Cold. By Ruth Krauss
Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. Selected by Dwight MacDonald
We Dickinsons. By Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe
The Jewish Sabbath. By Molly Cone
Paths of Poetry: Twenty-Five Poets and Their Poems. Edited by Louis Untermeyer
Songs of Innocence. (Two volumes) By William Blake. Music and illustrations by Ellen Raskin
D. H. Lawrence: Poems selected for Young People. Edited by William Cole
Ellen Grae. By Vera and Bill Cleaver
Poems of Robert Herrick. Edited by Winfield T. Scott
Probability. By Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. Watts
This Is Four: The Idea of a Number. By Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. Watts
Books: A Book to Begin on. By Susan Bartlett
Inatuk's Friend. By Suzanne Stark Morrow
Lady Ellen Grae. By Vera and Bill Cleaver
A Paper Zoo: A Collection of Animal Poems by Modern American Poets. Edited by Renee K
Piping Down the Valleys Wild: Poetry for the Young of All Ages. Edited by Nancy Larrick
Symmetry. By Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. Watts
We Alcotts. By Aileen Fisher and Olive Rabe
Circles and Curves. By Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. Watts
Come Along! By Rebecca Caudill
Shrieks at Midnight: Macabre Poems, Eerie and Humorous. Edited by Sara and John E. Brewton
Three and the Shape of Three. By Arthur G. Razzell and K. G. Watts
Elidor. By Alan Garner
Goblin Market. By Christine Rosetti

Friday 26 October 2012

The Smurfs: The Snow Giant - Peyo

The Smurfs: The Snow Giant
Simon Spotlight
ISBN 9781442428928

It's always interesting going to a book store with my children, for I never know what they will pick to read and buy. On a recent visit to the bookstore this is the first book my 5 year old son picked to read. He wanted to find out more about the Smurfs, having seen the recent live action movie at Grandma's house. It is also weird going back and seeing new books with the Smurfs. It was almost like a trip back to childhood. This short story is a Leveled reader; it is intended to help children with reading development.

In this story Papa Smurf hurts his leg, and Clumsy drops the cure in the river. So an expedition must take place to harvest a flower for the cure. While on this journey they encounter the Abominable Snowman and he takes a fancy to Smurfette. Can they get the cure for Papa? Can they rescue Smurfette? Read and find out.

This book was great fun. My son loved it and had had it read to him a number of times.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween - Megan McDonald and G. Brian Karas

Ant and Honey Bee
A Pair of Friends at Halloween
Megan McDonald (Author)
G. Brian Karas (Illustrator)
Candlewick Press
ISBN 9780763646622

This was a wonderful picture book for our children. My daughter is 5 and just finishing senior kindergarten. She loved that she could sight read so many of the words in this book. The illustrations are bright and vibrant with a great variety in colors and backgrounds. The story crafted in word and image is wonderful. Megan McDonald and Brian Karas have created a great book. I hope they create more stories with either Ant and Honey Bee or other books together. Ant and Honey Bee are best friends and they have always dressed up as pilgrims for Halloween. But Ant wants a change; they decided to go as a pair, but a pair of what. They create new costumes and no one can tell what they are. So come join Ant and Bee as they spend Halloween together.

Books by Megan McDonald and Peter H Reynolds:
Judy Moody books:
1. Judy Moody
2. Judy Moody Gets Famous!
3. Judy Moody Saves the World!
4. Judy Moody Predicts the Future
5. Judy Moody, M.D. The Doctor Is In
6. Judy Moody Declares Independence
7. Judy Moody Around the World in 8½ Days
8. Judy Moody Goes to College
9. Judy Moody: Girl Detective
10. Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer
10a. Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Movie Tie-In Edition)
11. Judy Moody and the Bad Luck Charm

Judy Moody Activity Books:
Judy Moody's Double Rare Way Not Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Way Wacky Uber Awesome Book of MORE Fun Stuff to Do
Judy Moody's Mini-Mysteries and Other Sneaky Stuff for Super-Sleuths

Stink Moody Books:
1. Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
2. Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker
3. Stink and the World's Worst Super-Stinky Sneakers
4. Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express
5. Stink: Solar System Superhero'
6. Stink and The Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown
7. Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk

Stink-O-Pedia Volume 1:
Super Stink-y Stuff from A to Z
Stink-O-Pedia Volume 2: More Stink-y Stuff from A to Z

Judy and Stink Books:
Judy Moody & Stink: The Holly Joliday
Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt

Stink and Judy Moody a Visual Bibliography

Books by Megan McDonald:
Sisters Club:

Sisters Club 1
Sisters Club 2
Rule of Three
Sisters Club 3 Cloudy With a Chance of Boys

Monday 22 October 2012

A Mother's Love - Brave - Melissa Lagonegro and Maria Elena Naggi

A Mother's Love
Melissa Lagonegro (Author)
Maria Elena Naggi (Illustrator)
and Studio IBOIX
Random House
ISBN 9780736429160

This 2nd Step reader builds upon the level one readers. It has short sentences and easy sight words. It does an amazing job of summarizing the whole movie in 29 pages. The illustrations are vibrant and fun. The story is a great adaptation. Both my older children loved the book and currently are asking for it frequently, in part, because Brave was the first movie we took both of them to see. We picked up a few of the Brave books to read. Right now they are incredibly popular in our house. This one is great for the older child to practice and work on her reading skills. A fun book and a family favorite!

Friday 19 October 2012

Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Louis Sachar and Adam McCauley

Sideways Stories from Wayside School 
Louis Sachar (Author) 
Adam McCauley (Illustrator) 
ISBN 9780380731480 

 I need to be completely honest; this was the first of Sachar's books I have read that I did not love. I was really looking forward to the Wayside School books but after reading this one have not bothered with the others yet and they dropped way down in my pile of to-be-read books. Maybe I came in expecting too much, maybe the absurd does not ring for me in children's literature? But for whatever reason this book is towards the bottom of my list of the 120 I have read the first half of this year. The book contains 30 chapters and each chapter is a different story about Wayside school. Each chapter is also named after the teacher, student or students that are the focus of the story. In the introduction it states: "Wayside School was accidentally built sideways. It was supposed to be only one story high, with thirty classrooms all in a row. Instead it is thirty stories high, with one classroom on each story. The builder said he was very sorry. The children at Wayside like having a sideways school. They have an extra-large playground." They may like the building and the playground but I did not like the stories. In fact when I went to write my review not a single story stood out enough to comment upon it. And that is my sideways review of the stories from wayside school! 

Books by Louis Sachar:
Sideways Stories From Wayside School:
Wayside School is Falling Down (1989)
Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School (1989)
More Sideways Arithmetic From Wayside School (1994)
Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger (1995)
Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom (2020)

Marvin Redpost:
Kidnapped at Birth? (1992)
Why Pick on Me? (1993)
Is He a Girl? (1993)
Alone In His Teacher's House (1994)
Class President(1999)
A Flying Birthday Cake? (1999)
Super Fast Out of Control! (2000)
A Magic Crystal? (2000)

Holes (1998)
Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake (2003)
Small Steps (2006)

Other Books:
Johnny's in the Basement (1981)
Someday Angeline (1983)
Sixth Grade Secrets (1987)
There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom (1988)
The Boy Who Lost His Face (1989)
Dogs Don't Tell Jokes (1991)
Monkey Soup (1992) (illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith)
The Cardturner (May 11, 2010)
Fuzzy Mud (2015)

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Barbie and the Diamond Castle - Mary Man-Kong

Barbie and the Diamond Castle
Mary Man-Kong
Golden Books an imprint of
Random House
ISBN 9780375875052

I find that the Barbie books are either very good or very bad. Unfortunately this was one that disappointed, and this time both my daughter and I found it lacking and usually she is much more forgiving than I. First, Slider the dragon- like creature is much more viscious and mean looking in the books than in the movie. Lydia is much harsher and even darker. And to be honest trying to do a full length movie in 24 pages is ludicrous. The story is somewhat fragmented and a little disjointed. My daughter and I were both left wanting with this book.

Monday 15 October 2012

Buddy Loses a Tooth - Dinosaur Train

Buddy Loses a Tooth
Jim Henson's Dinosaur Train
Craig Bartlett
Grosset & Dunlap an imprint of
Penguin Group
ISBN 9780448456928

This is the first companion book to the TV series that my son has gotten. It is a great story. The illustrations are bright and vibrant. The main picture is at the top of the page with text below and train on tracks border down the side of the pages. The characters from the TV series come to life in these books. Buddy has been adopted and even though he is a Tyrannosaurus Rex, his siblings and parents are not. They are Pteranodons. Because of that difference, when Buddy loses a tooth they do not know what is happening, so they take the Dinosaur train to visit the Doctor another T.Rex. Soon they find out some of the differences between the species, and also that what you eat can affect your breath. It's a great fun story that children will enjoy often.

Friday 12 October 2012

Fashion Fairytale - Barbie - Mary Man-Kong

Fashion Fairytale
Mary Man-Kong
Random House
ISBN 9780375860300

My daughter is now almost 6 and she is becoming fascinated with the Barbie books. She often brings them home from the school library. And recently on our trip to the book store she picked a number of Barbie books to get to read. This was the first one we read. She loved it because it is very close to the movie. But the story is a little weak, trying to do an hour and a half movie in such few pages. The illustrations are also a little weak. The movie has such strong vibrant colours and yet the illustrations are, to a great extent, plain, especially for what is supposed to be dresses glamorized by fairies. Not the best of the Barbie books!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

I Can be A Rock Star - Barbie

I Can be A Rock Star
Golden Books an imprint of
Random House
ISBN 9780375865459

This was another recent pick by my daughter for a book to get and read. It was better than some of the other Barbie books, in part I think, because it does not try to do a whole movie in a single book. This is a fun story with a great lesson. My daughter loved the fact that different friends helped Barbie with different things and that through the help of others she was able to succeed, and also the fact that Raquelle came around a bit. The illustrations were fun and the story excellent.

Monday 8 October 2012

Green Lantern vs The Meteor Monster! - DC Super Friends - Billy Wrecks

Green Lantern vs The Meteor Monster!
DC Super Friends
Billy Wrecks
Random House
ISBN 9780375872976

My son recently picked this book as the one he wanted. His only experience with the Green Lantern was toys from kids' meals. But he loves the idea of a ring that can create what you think of. This book was a little weird; I find the depictions of the super heros way too childish. Their proportions and ratios compared to each other and to the things around them is way off. It made it hard for me to enjoy. Now on the other hand, my son loved it. He loved seeing the green lantern, batman, superman and hawkman deal with the latest trouble. The story was geared for a younger audience. As stated my son loved it, but I really did not enjoy it.

Friday 5 October 2012

Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva - Eric Sammons

Holiness for Everyone:
The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Eric Sammons
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9781592769445

Eric Sammons and Our Sunday Visitor have provided us with an amazing book and excellent resource for spiritual growth. The book walks us through the life and ministry of St. Jose Maria Escriva but does so in a way to emphasize his teachings, and the practical implications we can implement in our own day-to-day lives. The sections in the book are:

1. Called To Be Saints
2. A Modern-Day Saint

Part I - Laying The Foundation

3. Abba! Father!
Our Father God
Heirs to a King
Sons in the Son
4. Free to love
Created Free
Limits Lead to Freedom
Many Paths to Holiness
"The Truth Will Make You Free"
Free to Surrender
Free to Start Anew
5. Ambitious for Holiness
"Zeal for Your House Consumes Me"
Excellence in All Things
Fighting Lukewarmness
Hating Sin

Part II - Building a Saintly Life

6. Be a Contemplative in the Midst of the World
Live a Life of Prayer
Recognize the presence of God
Making a Plan of Life
7. Making Your Work a Way to heaven
Offer Your Work To God
Make the Secular Sacred
Take Flight from Fantasy
Work Out Your Salvation
8. Live in the Family of God
Follow the Pope
Love Mary
Honor St. Joseph
9. Proclaim Christ To The World
Be a Faithful Friend
Be an Apostle, Not an Activist
Be Transformed

The reason I include such an extensive table of contents in the review is it shows you the road map that Eric will walk us through. He does an amazing job of encapsulating the teaching of St. Jose Maria and making them easily applicable to day-to-day life. This book was so incredible that after I finished it the first time I went back and read it right away a second time. I tried to read a chapter a night and apply what I had read the next day. When I began reading the next night I would go back through the sections from the ends of the last few chapters to review and see how I was doing at applying the lessons. Each chapter ends with the following:

Read - either church document or Escriva

For the Escriva readings it directs to the online version of his complete works. There is no way you could read this book with an open mind and heart and not come away a better person. This book will change lives and draw readers closer to God, and through that, service to others. This is one of the best spiritual books I have read in the last few years. I have already put it in the hands of a number of friends and that is the highest recommendation I can give. I cannot stop sharing how great it is.

Books by Eric Sammons:
Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva
Who Is Jesus the Christ?: Unlocking the Mystery in the Gospel of Matthew
The Old Evangelization: How to Spread the Faith Like Jesus Did
Be Watchful: Resist the Adversary, Firm in Your Faith
The Jesse Tree: An Advent Devotion
Bitcoin Basics: 101 Questions and Answers

The Profession

Contributed to:
Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue
The Passion of St. Edward, King and Martyr

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Jack and Jill - Salina Yoon

Jack and Jill
Salina Yoon
Little Simon
ISBN 9781442414105

Wow, this is the thickest board book I have ever read, and heavy. My one and a half year old dropped it three times while carrying it to me to have me read it. I checked the shipping weight and compared it with many of Yoon's other books - most range between 5 and 12 ounces - and this one comes in at a whopping 1.2lbs. Every page is a traditional cardboard board book, bright glossy colors but then it seems to be laminated onto an actual piece of wood board. For 18 pages to be almost an inch and a half thick, the book is huge for little hands. The story is great. It starts off as a traditional Jack and Jill, but the story continues on from where it normally ends, with a great twist. The story is wonderful and very entertaining. The illustrations are a lot of fun and capture a Hallowe'en night feel. I just worry about it being dropped on little toes and about the durability in little hands with the construction. A great read but maybe one to keep out of reach of younger children. Only time will tell.

Monday 1 October 2012

Top 10 Fiction Books of the 3rd Quarter 2012

Top 10 Fiction Books of the 3rd Quarter 2012

1. Son - The Worlds Book 4 - Lois Lowry 
2. Such Wicked Intent - Kenneth Oppel
3. (you) set me on fire - Mariko Tamaki
4. Unspoken - Henry Cole
5. Picture A Tree - Barbara Reid
6. Nightmare at the Book Fair - Dan Gutman
7. The Homework Machine and Return of the Homework Machine - Dan Gutman
8. The Destiny of Sunshine Ranch - T.M. Gaouette
9. Split! Splat! - Amy Gibson and Steve Bjorkman
10. Ghost Buddy - Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
 #1 Zero to Hero and #2 Mind If I Read Your Mind?

Relates Posts: 
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2010
Top 10 Reading Goals for 2010
Top 10 Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2010

Top 10 Fiction Books 4th Quarter 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2010 - Recap

Top 10 Fiction Books 2010
Top 10 Picture Books of 2010
Top 10 Non-Fiction Books of 2010

Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2010
Top Ten Reading Goals For 2011

Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals for 2011 Update
Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2011 
Top Ten Fictions Books 4th Quarter 2011
Top Ten Fiction Books 2011
Top Ten Reading Goals 2011 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2012

Top Ten Fiction Books 3rd Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books  4th Quarter 2012
Top Ten Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2012
Top Ten Reading Goals 2012 - Recap
Top Ten Reading Goals 2013
Top 10 Fiction Books 1st Quarter 2013

Top 10 Fiction Books 2nd Quarter 2013
Top 10 Books Second Half 2013
Top Ten Fiction Books 2013
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2013 
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2014
Top Ten Books Fourth Quarter 2014
Top Ten Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Non-Fiction Books 2014
Top Ten Books First Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Second Quarter 2015
Top Ten Books Third Quarter 2015

All Top Ten Lists on Book Reviews and More

Statistics Books Read By Year: 

151- 2012 January to September
163 - 2011
302 - 2010
142 - 2009
98 - 2008
83 - 2007
191 - 2006
151 - 2005
60 - 2004
52 - 2003
97 - 2002
50 - 2001
41 - 2000
71 - 1999
73 - 1998
131 - 1997
101 - 1996