Wednesday, August 20, 2014

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Rashin Kheiriyeh, A Review


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Publication Date: September 1, 2014

Book Description


We all remember the old lady who swallowed a fly, a spider, a cat, a dog, a cow, and a horse. Now we know how she did it! Rashin's colorful and comedic illustrations take you mid-gulp to mid-belly as the animals are swallowed whole. Her devoted cat tries to help: Stop! Don t eat it. Try this! But when the old lady grabs the cat it s every beast for itself: Eat the dog! And when the old lady cheers: Catch it! the critters leap into action to catch the one that was swallowed before.

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



The story of the Old Lady is always a hit with preschoolers, I think it's the repetition and the silliness.  Kheiriyeh's rendition is incredibly well done.  There are speech bubbles for many of the animals which make it great for readalouds and getting students involved in the storytelling.   What makes it stand out is the bright and bold colors.  There is a page depicting the animals in the Old Lady's stomach --- yet it is done in a cheery way that is not gross at all.  

As a teacher, I would definitely buy this edition to pair with other copies that I own.  I think it would be great fun to do a unit study on art and how illustrators use different techniques and mediums to portray the same story.  This story in general is terrific for sequencing as well. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

I will be linking this up for Waiting on Wednesday as it is definitely a book to add to our library!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Day 1 Update

Bout of Books

I ended up working much later than I had anticipated yesterday and while I accomplished a lot (at work), I also had quite a few distractions that slowed me down.  I even missed American Ninja Warrior which bummed me out when I realized it! 
A March Bride (A Year of Weddings, #4)
I read a little Sunday night, which was technically Monday, before turning out my light. I began A March Bride by Rachel Hauck.  I did not realize that this book was a novella in her Royal Wedding Series so that was a sweet little surprise! 
Then after work and before bed on Monday, I finished the book. I enjoyed it and will rate it with 4 stars. I find it's hard for any novella to rate 5 stars because I always want more! 

I also started Accidents of Marriage Monday evening.  It was really hard to read - in that "emotions are being torn" way....I am looking forward to reading a bit more tonight. I am estimating that I am about 30% - my Kindle is back in the bedroom and I'm too tired to get up and walk back there to check. And my house isn't larger than normal so it's a pretty lame excuse. 
How has your progress been?  I checked out the Monday challenges today and they both sounded super cool! I had no chance to even remember to look, let alone participate; it is nice to see all the creative ideas out there.

Jasper John Dooley: NOT in Love by Caroline Adderson, A Review


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Book Description


Isabel loves Jasper, and it's making life complicated.  He just wants to play knights and dragons with Ori and Leon, but Isabel makes him play babies and tries to set up their wedding.  The only good thing about Isabel is the trampoline at her house.  But will the highs of their trampoline playdates be enough to cure Jasper's girl-itis?  Jasper John Dooley: NOT in Love is the third in a series of chapter books featuring a charismatic and funny central character.  An only child with active, loving parents (and a most impressive lint collection), Jasper John Dooley is a true original.

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



I read this aloud with my 7 year old and we both enjoyed it.  There were several times that he laughed out loud and I have to admit a chuckle escaped me once or twice as well.  The characters are pretty realistic and well developed.  I appreciated Jasper's parents care, yet taking a step back approach.  I'd probably be all over a situation like this if it happened in real life at our house.  The other books are on our radar to read as well. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Monday, August 18, 2014

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo, A Review ★★★★★

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Publication Date: August 24, 2014

Book Description

Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series starring favorite characters from Kate DiCamillo’s New York Timesbest-selling Mercy Watson books.

Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse — until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters — Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy — for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.


Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Here is my honest review.

I was expecting a picture book but this is actually a chapter book with great illustrations. Leroy Ninker is charming.  DiCamillo created charming characters and a setting that has a very vintage vibe - making this a winner for me!  I see this book as a great read for young readers - perhaps advanced first grade readers and second grade readers.   This would also be a fun book to read aloud to students; DiCamillo uses great vocabulary and portrays how there are many words that can be used to describe one thing.  I could definitely see using this book to illustrate the power of descriptive words with young writers. 
This book is listed with a Volume One distinction which makes me believe that there are additional stories to come. 


I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff, A Review

The Grudge Keeper

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Book Description


No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. 

No one, that is, except old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper.

Ruffled feathers, petty snits, minor tiffs and major huffs, insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios--the Grudge Keeper received them all, large and small, tucking each one carefully away in his ramshackle cottage.

But when a storm flings the people together and their grudges to the wind, will the Grudge Keeper be out of a job?

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.


Preschoolers don't typically tend to hold on to grudges for very long.  They are amazingly adept at forgiving and moving on.  This would be a terrific text for older elementary students (and some teenagers and adults too).  It seems the older we get, the more we can hold on to a grudge (I know that I have held on to some.  Truth be told, I think I still have some).  Rockliff does a great job of showing that letting things go can lead to wonderful friendships.  This past week, a lady I was speaking with shared a great insight; she doesn't get angry about things because she can't change it -- what needs to be done is figuring out how to fix it.  That's a great lesson to learn and this book will help young children learn it early.

Since this is a children's book, the grudges are nothing serious so it will be easy for students to relate.  For older students (teens) I could see this text being open a discussion on grudges and how they can impact our life and those around us. 

This book was a great reminder to me ~ don't sweat the small stuff!

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bout of Books 11

Bout of Books

It's hard to believe that it is time for another Bout of Books readathon!  School is starting soon so I have been working more and more each day in preparation.  Despite my busy schedule, I can't imagine not reading along with everyone; I am keeping my goals pretty simple for this week.  

You can sign up to join in at the link above.  See the schedule here.

It is fun to see some of my favorite bloggers & youTubers hosting challenges this week.  I'd love to participate in every challenge if I'm being honest but I just don't see it happening this week.  

I am going to focus on getting some books read that are in my review pile.  Here's what I've got lined up for the week.

The Headmistress of Rosemere (Whispers on the Moors, #2)
I picked up The Headmistress of Rosemere on audiobook at my local library for a car trip that I took last week. I am about half-way through and hope to finish listening to it this week during another car trip.  I tried to listen earlier this week while working around the house but I couldn't concentrate on the story.  I found that I kept missing key elements and so will keep audiobooks for those times when I can more attention to listening than to other tasks. 

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Image Source: http://www.vectorstock.com/royalty-free-vector/question-mark-vector-899320

It's a Mystery Read!  I will stop by the library to pick up another audiobook to take on my car trip in case I finish the audiobook above.  But I'm not sure what it will be.  Any suggestions? 

A March Bride (A Year of Weddings, #4)

Rachel Hauck is an author that I have discovered this year and she quickly became a favorite.  I have read a few other books in this series and when I saw A March Bride I quickly requested it for review! 


Earlier this year I read The Good Wife which at the time was a step away from my typical books.  I love romance stories but hadn't read really read any contemporary fiction that looked at a marriage years down the road.  I really enjoyed it and I think Accidents of Marriage will be very similar in looking at a marriage after the first blush of love.  

Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics

As my son gets older, he is more observant of the world around him and asking more complicated and in-depth answers.  I admit that I am often stumped at what to say. Not really what the answer is but what is the appropriate level of information for his age.  Any other moms struggle with this as well?  It will be interesting to see what Answering Your Kids' Toughest Questions has to say.  I will start this book but I don't believe that I will finish it as I take much longer to read non-fiction - I like to ponder and really absorb the information.

I'll be posting short updates this week; I hope you'll come back and check out my progress.
Are you reading along?  Leave a comment if you are ~ I'd love to stop by and see your progress! 

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm, A Review

The Fourteenth Goldfish

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Publication Date:  August 26, 2014

Book Description


Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?
 
Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



This was such a great middle-grade book!  The opening grabbed me and pulled me in immediately.  I'd love to know Starlily - I bet her preschool class is a fun place!  The book is written in first person which is not my favorite - and this book reminds me why.  Don't get me wrong - the writing is really good, I finished this book in one evening.  You get one perspective - that's it. 

Great characters - Melvin made me smile all the time.  My favorite part of the book is the way Holm champions science and Ellie is encouraged to explore science.  Certainly there is a push for more science education (have you heard of STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) in the past decade that has been expanding into other domains as well.  In addition to being able to discuss women in science, this book also broaches two other subjects that are also very weighty and relevant. First, there is the exploration of friendships that change and fade and the emergence of new friendships.  Ellie handles the loss of her best friend so well: she recognizes it, she is happy for the chances for her friend, but she isn't despondent.  Science is certainly about discovery - but this book explores whether there are some discoveries that shouldn't be pursued (remember Dolly, the clones sheep?) and what would the reasons be for either argument.  As a teacher, I would partner with the science teacher for an interdisciplinary unit woven around this book. 

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding #2) by Rachel Hauck, A Review


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Book Description


Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop.

But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more.

Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever.

As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves.

However, when a royal opponent nearly destroys Regina’s future, she must lean into God and trust He has sovereignly brought her to her true and final destiny.

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



Rachel Hauck has officially become one of my favorite authors with the second book in this series.  I read the first book, Once Upon a Prince, and looked forward to the next book.  (There is a third book too - yea!)

The idea of finding out that you are a long-lost princess sounds very romantic; Hauck did keep the romance but also did a great job exploring the emotions of having a life-altering decision before you.  At the core, this book is about identity and how we define ourselves.  It's so often in our family or our jobs when ultimately, it should be in who we are in the Lord.  

Reggie was a a great modern-day strong princess and Tanner was sweet.  His character reaffirms that we all have moments, decisions that were questionable, but the Father still loves us. 

Read this book! Only after you've read the first book.  It could be a standalone read, but the experience will be much richer if you read in order.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Want to Know More?

You can find the author here:
Rachel Hauck

Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding, #1)How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding, #3)

Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding #1)
How to Catch a Prince (Royal Wedding #3)

A March Bride (A Year of Weddings, #4)

I'll be reviewing A March Bride soon!

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur by Linda Bailey, A Review

If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur

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Book Description


A tongue-in-cheek look at the practical uses of dinosaurs by a dynamic author/illustrator team. 
     If you happen to have a dinosaur, lying around your living room, and you don't know what to do with it ... why don't you use it as a can opener? It will make a terrific nutcracker too! There are oodles of uses for a dinosaur -- from a fine umbrella to an excellent kite and a dandy pillow, not to mention a reliable burglar alarm and the perfect excuse to forget your homework. This delightfully absurd exploration of the domestic uses of dinosaurs -- and the things dinos just aren't good for at all -- is guaranteed to tickle funny bones and spark imaginations. If you read carefully, you'll learn how to make your dinosaur last a very long time.

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



This book was pretty cute and for a child who loves dinosaurs, it will be especially engaging. The imagination and supporting pictures make this a fun read with lots of detail to support looking deeper into the text of the book.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Inn at Last Chance (Last Chance #7) by Hope Ramsay, A Review


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Book Description


Jenny Carpenter is the unrivaled pie-baking champion of Last Chance, South Carolina's annual Watermelon Festival and the town's unofficial spinster. With her dream of marriage and children on hold, she focuses on another dream, turning the local haunted house into a charming bed-and-breakfast. But her plans go off course when the home's former owner shows up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night . . .

Mega-bestselling horror writer Gabriel Raintree is as mysterious and tortured as his heroes. His family's long-deserted mansion is just the inspiration he needs to finish his latest twisted tale, or so he thinks until he learns it's been sold. The new innkeeper proves to be as determined as she is kind, and soon Gabriel finds himself a paying guest in his own home. As Jenny and Gabe bring new passion to the old house, can she convince him to leave the ghosts of his past behind-and make Last Chance their first choice for a future together?

Review

I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher. Here is my honest review.



I finished this book in mid-July and forgot to write a review quickly for it which means some of the details are pretty fuzzy.  I did enjoy the book.  Jenny and Gabe were great characters and I enjoyed some of the supporting cast as well.  It's a romance book and a pretty standard one.  I liked it and will be looking into books in the rest of the series as I enjoyed Ramsay's writing.  I almost always enjoy a romance series set within a small community.

I gave this book: 

★ = I did not like it     ★ = It was okay     ★ = I liked it    
★ = I really liked it     ★ = I loved it