Monday, August 28, 2017

*Henry Whiskers* Blog Tour

I am delighted to be sharing with you a new series, perfect for our younger readers!


Henry Whiskers is a new mouse character for kids to go on adventures with. Though we have fallen in love with other small rodents, we have never hung out with one in such a cool setting!

Henry and his family live in Queen Mary's dollhouse in Windsor Castle. Here, take a peek:

This setting reminds me of the Thorne Rooms which exist in Chicago and also in the fictional pages The Sixty-Eight Rooms.

The mouse and the setting will be enough to hook your readers, then pacing of these little adventures and the cast of characters will surely keep them hooked.



It gets better, I have the chance to give away a set of the first two books!
Good luck, and share the love! You sharing this post spreads awareness of this new series. As a 3rd and 4th grade teacher I have always been on the lookout for books that are not only accessible to kids, but exciting and engaging for them to experience.
Good Luck! 
Winner will be chosen randomly on Friday, September 8th.



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

*Duck and Hippo Lost and Found* Blog Tour


My thoughts:

What fun I had reading this book aloud to my son! For a three year old the book is amusing and eye catching. For slightly older readers there is room for a bit of wondering and questioning. Such as, Did Hippo make a wise and thoughtful decision to go looking for berries? The right intentions were certainly there, but how did his actions effect his friends? Would it have been a nicer day if he had not gone looking for something to contribute to the picnic? 

The illustrations are delightfully old-timey and silly and fun, I think you'll like them!

Have some fun:

Check out some free downloadable pages at https://www.andrewjoyner.com.au/activities/ 

And win the books!

Giveaway sponsored by Two Lions: Duck and Hippo Lost and Found and Duck and Hippo in the Rainstorm (U.S. addresses)

Winner will be randomly selected on Friday, September 1st. (Bah, September already?!)


Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Mighty Jack and the Goblin King Blog Tour!


Jack is back, finally! If you read, and obviously loved, Mighty Jack, then you have probably been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book!

But let's back up a moment. There is the off chance you missed Mighty Jack, and I don't want to lose anyone...

How awesome is that cover? I remember book talking this to my 4th graders last year, hands shooting in the air for a chance to be the first to read it! We were delighted to find that this fantastic story of action, heart, doubt and triumph, was placed on the 2017-18 Maine Student Book Award list.

Mighty Jack takes good old Jack and the Beanstalk to a whole new level of awesome. Jack unleashes much more than a beanstalk in this new tale. Instead, a dangerous garden, creatures, a link to a different world, is unleashed! It would be a major spoiler if I mentioned how that book ends. So I won't. But I will say that Mighty Jack and the Goblin King open up right where that one leaves off. Hence the opening line to this post.


I recommend this book for grades 4-7, though I will have it in my 3rd grade classroom library later in the year. And since classroom teachers can take heat for the content of the books in their care, I will let you know that there is violence and death, though nothing over the top. And one little swear. So, know your audience. And know that it's ok for kids to think about why an author chooses for a character to use certain words. That's a solid discussion to have.

Ben Hatke's artwork is alive. The coloring is awesome, the action is awesome, and the creatures and characters are awesome. And the storyline? You guessed it: awesome.

I adore the goblins. How they look, how they talk, how they act, I love it all. And those weird little pipe creatures? So cool. 

And the ending?! The ending!! Fans of Hatke's work are going to LOVE the final pages!

Kids are going to eat this up. And we want them to. We want kids to have wild and fantastic adventures. We want kids to meet strong young female characters, and characters that have special needs, and characters that show loyalty and bravery and love.

To know Ben and his work, is to know that whatever he creates, it's going to be worthy of your attention. I'm not saying that you should love books just because they are written by a guy with major heart, humor and adventuring skills. No, you should not love books just because the author can do flips, run on stilts, breathe fire or use a bow and arrows. But if you do find yourself thinking Ben's work is extra appealing because of all those things, well, I'd say that's ok.



Follow First Second's blog tour for Mighty Jack and the Goblin King!



I'd love to give away one copy, since I have 2 shiny new copies, and feel like the love should be shared! Want to enter? I'm making it extra simple this time. Simply leave a comment on this post about...anything! Have you met Ben? Tell about that! Have you read Mighty Jack? What are your thoughts? Looking forward to the sequel? Say so! 

Then, share the Mighty Jack love by spreading this post on twitter, facebook, with your colleagues, whatever and wherever.

Winner will be chosen Friday, August 18th. Sometime before I go to be ;)


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Comics Extravaganza Week!



Welcome to Day 2 of the Comics Extravaganza Blog Tour! This tour is being put on by First Second. If, for some strange reason, you don't know about this publisher, thank goodness you found this post! I have been a huge, HUGE fan of the books they publish for years. When I began teaching about a *ahem* decade ago, graphic novels were still a hard sell for some teachers, librarians and parents. Is it a "real" book? Does it actually count as reading? Yes, and so deeply yes. First Second publishes the biggest range of quality literature in the graphic novel format. Seriously. From fantasy to nonfiction to sci-fi. Speaking of sci-fi, let's see who we have here today!
It's none other than Mike Lawrence, the author of Star Scouts!




About the book:

About the author:

Interview with Mike Lawrence:


Tell us your first memory of reading a comic or graphic novel.

What's your favorite comic or graphic novel, and what do you love about it?


Tell us a little about your current/upcoming graphic novel.


What comic or graphic novel are you reading now?


A huge thanks to First Second and Mike Lawrence! 

Be sure to visit the other stops in the tour!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

*Two Truths and a Lie* Blog Tour and Giveaway!


You know how I sometimes get really excited about a book? Well, I hate to disappoint with more of the same, but I'm not even going to attempt to hold back on my fangirl love for this book!

Two Truths and a Lie is like that "getting to know you" game you've either made your students play, have played with colleagues, or have avoided because you don't have cool enough truths...the last one is not me...
Anyway, the book is like the game in that the authors had to find the perfect balance of hard to believe truth with a well told and believable lie. And the result is 100% awesome!

First off, the cover. I think it's safe to say it would grab anyone's attention! Oh! And is that a subtitle I see? "It's Alive!" Does that mean there are going to be more to come?! Fingers crossed.

The book is separated into chapters that contain 3 stories. With chapter titles like:
"Crazy Plants"
"Creepy Plants"
"Cool Plants"
"Humans-Yes!"
"Humans-Noooo"
"Humans-Maybe?"

Readers will be hooked.

The text is easy to navigate, has great photos to accompany, and has more tricky-fun fact boxes to test your skills on narrowing in on the hoax.

The back of the book contains a section broken down by section that elaborates on the lie from each chapter. Reading this section is just as fun as reading the stories.

At 176 pages you might be craving more, but think of your readers that will find that a just-right amount of text to work through. (And remember my theory about more to come...)

So, I leave you with this:

Here is a nonfiction book that adults and children will LOVE.
In the off chance that someone is not reading your copy, it will look awesome sitting face-out on your shelf because the cover rocks.
Accessible text with plenty of those nonfiction features you love to teach about.
Stories that you will want to read aloud. And not just to prove that you are crazy smart and can spot all the lies, because you might be surprised...

There you have it. Go buy this book. You're welcome.




Check out the other stops on the tour:

Contest closes Wednesday, June 21st.


Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 6-7-17


Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
I noticed years back that my classroom library was heavy on fiction. Since noticing the imbalance of fiction to nonfiction, I've remained on the lookout for engaging and diverse nonfiction titles. Here are some recent finds!

John Deere, That's Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer
Illustrated by Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt & Co., 2017
Biography
38 pages

You probably already know all about John Deere. How he invented the tractor, painted it bright green, signed his name in yellow, and called it a day. You probably can't walk into a Home Depot or a Lowe's without letting your kid detour the family over the the eye-catching riding lawn mowers in that same signature green and yellow paint. You know all about John Deere. If you have a young kid in the house you probably don't have to look far to find the name John Deere.


You can find John Deere equipment for your farm or yard, you can find toys, clothing, cups, hats, eating utensils, anything you can think of, you can probably buy one with a John Deere logo. Because about the only true thing I've said about John Deere so far is that the company is incredibly well known, which makes sense, since it's one of America's oldest manufacturing companies.

So how about this for a mind twister: John Deere never so much as touched a tractor in his life. Mainly because he lived long before tractors were out doing the hard work of tilling the soil. John Deere did work his tail off making improvements to the plows of his time (think blade pulled by horse), and went on to begin his company, the one still thriving today. It's quite amazing, though not at all what I was expecting to learn from this biography.

Ask your kids what they know about John Deere before reading, and then delight in how wrong they are ;) 

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin
Roaring Brook Press, 2017
General Nonfiction
48ish pages

If you've ever read a Jason Chin book before you know how stunning they are. This book is an absolute visual masterpiece. The pages have so much detail that you would need to read it multiple times to take it all in. I kind of feel bad reviewing it after only one reading. It's that kind of book. The text takes readers on an exploration of the canyon today, while flashing back to the stages of formation. This is one to add to your collection!

Friday, May 26, 2017

*Shattered Warrior* Blog Tour & Giveaway!


Welcome to the final stop on the Shattered Warrior blog tour!

First Second is giving away a copy of Shattered Warrior to one reader of this blog! 
Please enter below for your chance.

(Recommended for middle school and up)

I have been reading and reviewing children's lit for so many years with a focus on books for readers in grades 3-8. Shattered Warrior is on the higher end of my typical range, so for regular readers, know that I wouldn't put this one in my fourth grade classroom.

I would, however, recommend you read it.

The oppression, sadness, fear, anger and strength that the characters feel in this story come through loud and clear. The expressions, colors, clothing and body language, all send the same strong message: this is a story of people that will not crumble. The fierceness in the eyes of Colleen in the cover image should make that clear.

And amidst the anguish, there is a gentleness and love. Will there be more to this story? I hope so!

************

About the book (from the publisher):


It is eight years after Colleen Cavanaugh's home world was invaded by the Derichets, a tyrannical alien race bent on exploiting the planet's mineral resources.

Most of her family died in the war, and she now lives alone in the city. Aside from her acquaintances at the factory where she toils for the Derichets, Colleen makes a single friend in Jann, a member of a violent group of rebels known as the Chromatti. One day Colleen receives shocking news: her niece Lucy is alive and in need of her help. Together, Colleen, Jann, and Lucy create their own tenuous family.

But Colleen must decide if it's worth risking all of their survival to join a growing underground revolution against the Derichets...in Sharon Shinn and Molly Knox Ostertag's Shattered Warrior.






Blog Tour:
May 15th -- The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia http://hauntedorchid.blogspot.com/
May 16th -- Writing My Own Fairytale http://www.writingmyownfairytale.com/
May 17th -- The Novel Hermit http://www.thenovelhermit.com/
May 18th -- Ageless Pages Review http://agelesspagesreviews.blogspot.com/
May 19th --  Here's To Happy Endings http://www.herestohappyendings.com/
May 22nd -- The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia http://ceceliabedelia.blogspot.com/
May 23rd -- School Library Journal http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/
May 24th -- The Hollow Cupboards http://thehollowcupboards.blogspot.com/
May 26th -- Bluestocking Thinking https://bluestockingthinking.blogspot.com/
Giveaway closes 6/2/17