Sunday, August 10, 2014

Iron Fey Series

by Julia Kagawa
for ages 12+

Iron King
Iron Daughter
Iron Queen
Meghan Chase has a secret destiny--one she could never have imagined... Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school...or at home. On her 16th birthday, weird things began happening and her prankster best friend becomes very protective. But she could never have guessed the truth-- that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face...and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I enjoyed this series overall.  Mythical world vs. real world story.  One young girl gets pulled into a realm and love triangle is created with her best friend and new prince.  Of course there are .5 books called summer's and winter's passage that have been added to the series for in between the books written.  It is a cute story.  I think series need to end at book 3, then it seems like the story will never end. 

In book 3, the main character and prince become intimate before marriage.   There are no details of their intimacy and it is very similar to the "Fault of Our Stars."  If you are a parent, be prepared to have this discussion with your child. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quick and Fun Ways to (Get) and Keep Kids Reading This Summer

Summer always seems especially perfect for lazy afternoons reading. With a month left before kids go back to school, it's a great time to add something new to your summer fun.

Here are some great ideas from The Reluctant Reader: How To Get and Keep Kids Reading on how to get kids to enjoy reading!

1. Take kids to the library often and show them how to use its resources.

2. Be seen reading and enjoying it!

3. Read detective stories out loud together and have the kids guess whodunit.

4. Have a book scavenger hunt. Read something together and then create a scavenger hunt.

5. Give rewards for reading. Consider this more incentive and less bribery if necessary. Incentives (okay, bribes!) could include stickers, small toys, more books, a trip to a museum or zoo, or an opportunity to stay up late and read.

6. Keep a list at home of reading progress. Make this list visible to show progress.

7. Let kids read short stories instead of longer books-they'll get a greater sense of gratification and completion.

8. Encourage kids to write their own plays, poems, and stories.

9. Start a book club.

10. Collect books on a theme that will get your kids excited about reading-think dinosaurs, space travel, or fascinating places and animals.

11. Have your kids read the newspaper. Anything goes-comics, horoscope, or world news.

12. Sign up for story time at the library.

13. Take a library tour with your kids.

14. Make a special area for your kids to read in your home. A special reading fort sounds like great summer fun.

15. Head to a museum or zoo and then find books on what your kids found most interesting.

16. Have kids make a map of their favorite place.

17. Have your kids find recipes that sounds yummy, read them, and then make them together.

Happy summer and happy reading!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs
Age: 10+

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must travel to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.  Jacob and the peculiar children discover new allies, peculiar animals, fight and escape those that are chasing them, and many unexpected surprises. 

I was super excited about reading the second book in this series.  I love the first one.  I don't think it was the same level as the first book.  The story continues and new interesting people are discovered and met.  I love the old vintage photographs of the peculiars.  Some of the unexpected turns/surprises did catch me off guard ( I didn't see them coming). 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Summer Reading....Skippy Jon Jones!

Hola dudes! Reading out loud to kids-any kids-is one of my all-time favorite things to do. And no one writes books that are more fun to read out loud than Judy Schachner. Her Skippy Jon Jones series is wonderful: hysterical and fun with delightful illustrations. Skippy is one of the most imaginative and creative Siamese cats to ever grace the pages of a children's book.

Skippy Jon Jones is a Siamese cat who thinks he is a dog. He is always off on an adventure after a jump on his big boy bed.  He has an imagination that is wild and wonderful and so appealing to kids. Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Skippy Jon Jones with one of eight titles including: Skippy Jon Jones, Lost in Spice, Cirque de Ole, Presto Chango, and Skippy Jon Jones and the Big Bones. Coming this fall: Skippy Jon Jones Snow What.
Skippyjon Jones

Learn more about this fun author at You can check these books out at your local library or take a look at Skippy Jon Jones books are also especially wonderful when read by the author; the books on CD make for fun road trip listening and are worth checking out!

Happy summer reading!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summertime Reading Series

It's almost summertime and with that, extra reading time and (hopefully) lazy afternoons. A series of summertime reads begins today with a different author and their amazing books each week. 

One of my favorite authors growing up was William Steig, particularly Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. I have always loved his books with their magical illustrations. 

William Steig began his career as a cartoonist and sculptor and only late in life began illustrating and writing children's books. He is best known for creating Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, the Dr. DeSoto series and Shrek! 

Here are a few of my favorites:

Sylvester & The Magic Pebble

When Sylvester accidentally turns himself into a rock to escape a hungry lion, Sylvester's family is distraught. This classic children's story has magic and excitement.

Doctor De Soto

Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa

Doctor De Soto is a mouse dentist cares for animals both large and small with the help of his very able assistant, Mrs. De Soto. 


You must check out Shrek! about an ordinary ogre who leaves the home he has always known to explore the world and search for a bride. 

Happy Reading!

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Dewitt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
ages: well, everyone. I laughed out loud and might have had to put the book down to regain my composure. Total picture book success in my opinion. 

All Duncan wants to do is color, but his crayons have gone on strike. A series of letters written by the crayons to Duncan let him know that things are not copasetic in his crayon box. Red crayon is feeling overused, yellow and orange crayon are not speaking, purple demands neatness, green is actually feeling jolly, but poor, poor peach crayon is-gasp-naked! What can Duncan do to make things right?

First time author Drew Dewitt has written a clever and fun book along with NY Times bestselling illustrator Oliver Jeffers. Witty and well illustrated, The Day the Crayons Quit shows that even crayons have feelings! 

A Best Book of 2013 at Barnes and Noble and Goodreads. 

The Day the Crayons Quit

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cows to the Rescue

Cows to the Rescue
written and illustrated by John Himmelman
ages: 4-8

What could be more fun than a day at the county fair? Until Farmer Greenstalk's truck won't start. Never fear-it's cows to the rescue! Whether it's riding the ferris wheel, helping Ernie the duck win the handsomest duck contest, or giving lessons for the pigs to win the smartest pig contest, the Greenstalk's cows are always willing to help out.

Cleverly written with hilarious illustrations, Cows to the Rescue is sure to become a favorite with your preschooler or early elementary aged child. Cows to the Rescue follows the hilarious Chickens to the Rescue and Pigs to the Rescue. Also look for Duck to the Rescue chronicling Ernie the duck and his antics.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and (more than a) Bit of a Rant....

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath writes Simon Snow fan fiction; spending her time writing, rewriting, and hanging out in Simon Snow forums. She and her twin sister Wren have always done things together-dressed the same, written together, and had the same friends. But now the twins are headed to college and entering a whole new world. Fangirl is a wonderfully written coming of age tale complete with fan fiction, first loves, and family heartbreaks.

Let me begin by saying brava to Ms. Rowell for a book well crafted. Themes of betrayal, rivalry, abandonment, and independence flow throughout the book. Rowell even deals with mental illness in a very honest way. Beautifully written and poignant, I could not put this book down.  

I'd love to rally behind this book and recommend it highly to each and every reader, but this being a children's book blog I have to be honest when I say that I can't. I love, love, love this book-it's amazing and I'm all for kids having access to all kinds of books. No book bans here! But I'm not for kids having access to books with themes and ideas that are just flat out inappropriate for their age. Fangirl has alcohol, sex, and mature themes. Children don't need to be sheltered, but they need to have some understanding of what they're reading. Parents: if you choose to let your child read this book, be sensible and read it before them or read it together.

And here's the rant - or my two cents about finding books that are a good fit for your reader.

The Young Adult genre in literature is relatively new. When I was growing up (yes, in the dark ages) "Young Adult" wasn't the booming genre that it is today. There were books for children and then there were books for adults. Anything in the middle usually ranged from classics to the Sweet Valley High series that my mom forbade me to read. Sometimes I wish that publishers would determine a book to be "Young Young Adult" or "Older Young Adult." I would imagine that they can come up with a more creative title, but the idea is there. Please use caution when choosing what to allow your tween or young teen to read. Just because it's at the library or a friend is reading it, doesn't mean that it's appropriate for your child. Read together or choose to preview their books. Be available to talk about these very mature themes and questions that they kids might have. Give this book a try, but please carefully consider your child's ability to handle adult subjects and language.

Finding books that are appropriate and provide kids well crafted, challenging material can be frustrating and feel impossible as a parent or teacher. It is our responsibility as adults to help our kids find "good fit books" or books that are on par with our children's abilities, personalities, and disposition.

Now get out there and read on!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guest Post: Three Times Lucky

Three Times Lucky
by: Sheila Turnage

This guess post is courtesy of my book-hungry 4th grade daughter, Regan. She finished this beauty in one day....

Here is her review:

Moses's hometown will never be the same. As a baby, Mo was sent during a hurricane on a raft to North Carolina. Nobody knows where Mo is from. She got her name because of how she arrived in town-like the prophet Moses. Colonel and Ms. Lana adopted her and she grew up in a cafe. Her best friend Dale helps her save Ms. Lana, Colonel, and the whole town. When murderers and cops come to town, it is up to Moses to save the day! 

I would recommend this book to others because this story tells you how to accept and enjoy your life.You may think that Mo is a normal girl, but you are wrong. This book has lots of suspense and surprises. Three Times Lucky is a book best read by ages nine and up.


Three Times Lucky

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

A told B and B told C, "I'll meet you at the top of the coconut tree." "Whee!" said D to E F G, "I'll beat you to the top of the coconut tree." Chicka chicka boom boom! Will there be enough room?

In our house, there are few books that all of my kids have loved and asked for again and again. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault is one of them. Could it be the clever alphabet rhyme or the fact that the whole book sounds like one lively song that attracts them? Or the clear, simple illustrations with letters that they can easily recognize? I have always though that my kids all loved this book because, believe it or not, they can relate to all of those poor letters with their skinned knees and stubbed toes! Whatever the reason, this is a classic and a winner.

We finally bought a copy of this book and the ragged cover that is getting soft with repeated bedtime readings was worth every penny. Tried and true, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a book to enjoy with your preschooler or early elementary aged child. My reluctant 6 year old reader says that he loves this book because, "I can read it and it's just so fun!" A truly glowing recommendation!

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Thursday, March 13, 2014


by Elys Dolan


What exactly do weasels do all day? Do they frolic in the leaves, collect nuts and berries, play, hide, or....plot world domination?

This clever and fun book, complete with coffee drinking, tool wielding, madcap weasels is silliness at it finest. Mayhem and mischief surround these clever critters as they plot to take over the world. Will they be successful?

Elys Dolan's illustrations are detailed, intelligent, and fun!  It's enough to keep any keen eye and clever brain very busy looking- and laughing. Enjoy this book with your favorite fan of all things silly.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Divergent Series

by Veronica Ruth
For-12 years and older.

Beatrice Prior's lives in a dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions.  On an appointed day, 16 year olds must select a faction to devote the rest of their lives- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  She makes a choice that surprises herself. 

During initiation, she renames herself Tris and struggles to live out the choice she made.  She and other initiatives undergo extreme physical and psychological tests and simulations.  Tris must determine who her friends really are-and where a romance fits into the life she's chosen.  Tris also has secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  She begins to learn of unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, her secret might help her save those she loves or might destroy her. 

 My thoughts-  Great stories and another dystopian series.  Of course, they are making a movie.  The twists and turns are crazy.  I personally hated the ending, but I haven't enjoyed many endings of the dystopians series.  It is a good read, but for older children.