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Category Archives: children’s book reviews

Children’s/Youth book reviews

Too Safe for Strangers/Too Smart for Bullies

For more information, visit http://www.bobbyandmandee.com.

Bobby and Mandee's Too Safe for Strangers: Children's Safety Book

It is a fine line between preparing a child and scaring them…You don’t want to frighten your child and cause them to withdraw. Nor can you ignore the very real threats that exist. Robert Kahn wrote this book within the parameters of that ideal zone. Bobby & Mandee, Too Safe for Strangers is an excellent tool for anyone that cares for children. Unfortunately books like this have become a necessary part of parenting and are included in school curriculum’s nationwide. The book stresses “bad” adults do Not ask children for help, they would ask another adult. (Example – finding a lost pet) “Bad strangers” may offer candy or money to entice a child away from a safe area. Never get into a car with a stranger, no matter what they say. Saying “NO” to adults, yelling at or running from an adult is the opposite of “the respect your elders” lessons most parents instill in their children from a very young age. Which makes all this very confusing for little minds. Too Safe eliminates some of that confusion. We should change ‘how’ we teach kids to interact with adults. If we start telling our children to be respectful to our adult friends and simply polite to a stranger, they can see the difference and will imitate the behavior. Too Safe also includes a test at the end of the book. This should be used to further the discussion, allowing your child to explain their answer in their own words. Thus giving parents an insight into how they are receiving the information and lets you know if they do not understand something.

It is imperative that children understand “bad strangers” can be men or women, young or old. Because there’s no way to identify the kind of strangers children must avoid, rules have to be consistent. The wording and simple illustrations used in “Too Safe”deliver this message in ways kids can understand. Their image of a “bad person” is the boogie-man type…scary, dirty, with fangs, only comes out at night, etc. This books helps them to reimagine a “bad person” realistically. Odds are your child will never encounter one of these “bad strangers,” but if they do, at least they are prepared.

It is very sad that our society has become such a dangerous place for children. But the statistics don’t lie, and we, as parents cannot afford to lie to ourselves. Parents will do anything to protect their children..this little book can help you do that. This isn’t the kind of book you read one time and forget. This is something that needs to be reinforced on a regular basis, especially with younger children. By role playing the scenes in this book and going over the questions in the back, children become more and more comfortable with appropriate responses. And that’s all a loving parent can do.

Bobby and Mandee's Too Smart for Bullies: Children's Safety Book

Bullies have been around since the beginning of time…well, I can’t speak for that far back, but I know for sure back to the 70’s, because I was bullied. Back then everyone said “ignore them and they will pick on someone else,” or “tough up,” everyone gets picked on. The general rule of thought was “bullies are just part of growing up…and it just makes you stronger.” No one took it seriously! Thank goodness times are changing. But we have a long way to go and Too Smart for Bullies is a step in the right direction. The book opens the door to a difficult subject, and gives parents a tool to help children deal with bullies. Once again Bobby & Mandee team up in various scenarios demonstrating appropriate responses if your child is confronted by a bully. Parents are encouraged to role and reverse role play the scenes, followed by the questions and trusted adult list included at the end of the book. Too Smart is a good tool to have in your arsenal against bullies. Speaking from experience, dealing with bullies is no easy task, books like this wouldn’t have stopped the bullies, I would’ve known what to do.

Reviewer’s Note:

I read these books with my 3.5 year old granddaughter several times before donating both to her preschool class . We role played and reverse role played the scenarios in the book. The questions in the back helped us make up our own skits and reassured me that she was understanding the information. We practice what we learned when we go out..if someone says “oh you’re a pretty lil girl,” she squeezes my hand tight and simply says “thank you.” When we run into friends we stop and talk with them, shake hands, give hugs, etc. At first she was uncomfortable not talking to strangers who speak to us first…but the more we do it, it’s become habit for her now. (Which is wonderful!)

4 stars – I recommend this Too Smart/Too Safe to the “Trusted Adults” children are told repeatedly in these books to confide in if they find themselves in a bad situation. (parents, grandparents, guardians, babysitters, teachers, librarians, emergency workers, etc.)


Robert Kahn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert Kahn has a Master’s Degree in Education. It was during Kahn’s tenure as a sixth grade teacher that he became concerned about the safety issues that involve children and decided to become a Deputy Sheriff to help educate and protect our youth from harm. He started a Stranger Danger program in local schools and community service organizations. Local law enforcement credits this program in foiling over 40 attempted abductions by strangers. To-date, Robert has given over 20,000 presentations covering 15 different topics on children’s safety issues.

Kahn’s mission is to keep all kids safe, but he can’t be everywhere at the same time. So, with the insight and knowledge gained from his experiences, Kahn began to write a series of children’s safety books. His first book, Bobby and Mandee’s Too Safe for Strangers, is based on his program. His other safety books help children learn how to deal with today’s problems.

All of his books are told in the voice of his own children, Bobby and Mandee! Kahn’s daughter Mandee is the main character although Bobby plays a very important role in the books. As a high-functioning autistic, “If he can understand the books, anybody can!” Kahn stresses the books simplicity so that anyone can benefit from them. Using simple language, the books introduce the concepts and then provide tips on how to deal with them.

The main age when something happens to a child is second grade through young adult. As kids start doing more things alone, it is imperative that they know how to help themselves to stay safe. The goal of the Bobby and Mandee Safety Series is to provide parents, educators and other trusted adults with essential information to share with our precious children to keep them safe in today’s world.

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Bang Goes a Troll – An Awfully Beastly Business (series)

An Awfully Beastly Business

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  An Awfully Beastly Business Book 3
     Bang Goes a Troll
The Beastly Boys –
David Sinden, Matthew Morgan,
Guy Macdonald
Youth/YA Fiction/Pg 208
Ages 8+ – Grades 3+
ISBN: 1416986510
ISBN: 978-1416986515

www.beastlybusiness.com

Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s

 

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The Beastly Boys, a trio of 30 something writers otherwise known as Matthew Morgan, David Sinden and Guy Macdonald, put their heads together to create a fun, highly imaginative series that’s centered around very real issues. Bang Goes a Troll is the third book in The Awfully Beastly Business series. In the first two installments we were introduced to the main characters, each with reoccurring roles in subsequent books. The cast includes an orphaned werewolf, rescued by Dr. Fielding the RSPCB’s Vet, a fairy, a 15 foot gentle giant, a gargoyle, a twisted face villain and several others. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts (RSPCB) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the welfare and protection of rare and endangered beasts and is the center of the series.

Dragons, ogres and fairies …Oh My!

Part fantasy, but playing on reality, Bang Goes A Troll pits our favorite werewolf, Ulf against an evil, beast hunter that’s trapping trolls to use for sport hunting. The RSPCB is much like our ASPCA and numerous wildlife protection groups, with their main goal being the protection and survival of these fantastical creatures. Ulf’s heart is in the right place, but will he be able to save the trolls?

Although part of a series, you can read this book without having read the previous installments. However, the stories are quite fun, so, if you enjoy this one, by all means pick up the other books…you’ll be glad you did! * Simple storyline, interesting creatures, plus some snot and other grossities…put it all together and the result is a book that younger readers can enjoy independently – especially boys, age 8-10.


Happy Reading!

Beastly Event – Activity Pack ..CLICK HERE

Book 4 - The Jungle Vampire 
An Awfully Beastly Business Book 4
      The Jungle Vampire
The Beastly Boys –
David Sinden, Matthew Morgan,
Guy Macdonald

ISBN-10: 1416986529
ISBN-13: 9781416986522
Ages: 8 – 12  | Grades: 3 – 7

www.beastlybusiness.com

Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s

Click HereClick here to listen to a clip to listen to an audio clip

As with previous installments, Ulf and his friends at the RSPCB are forced to go toe to toe with the evil Baron Marackai. Even though the participants are the same, the situation which brings them together is different in each book. (I would liken it to many of our favorite cartoons and TV shows from yesterday – Sylvester is always after Tweety, the Coyote is forever more chasing the Roadrunner and both pursuers fall short every time and pay tremendous prices for their chase and yet, the very next episode, they are at it again!) It is this same type of simple, quick storyline, loaded with action, interesting characters and real world issues that are easy to relate too that make An Awfully Beastly Business a good solid read.

Most of the dialogue takes place in the jungle, where the whole gang is equally involved in the story. (Well, almost, there’s one character we see briefly at the beginning and then again at the end.) Ulf has been invited, as part of his official training, to accompany the other members of the RSPCB, as the journey deep into the jungle in search of the elusive, mythical vampire. Of course, the teams nemesis is never far away, and this time he’s much closer than anyone realizes. Why track and search when he can simply follow the RSPCB team right to the vampire’s den?

Will Baron Marackai kill the legendary creature? Or will the team discover his presence and save the vampire?

Happy Reading!

**Book 5 – Battle of the Zombies is scheduled for 2010 release – ***

Meet the Characters –

Ulf - orphaned werewolf raised at Farraway Hall.. (The full moon causes strange changes!)  Ulf is an orphaned werewolf, raised at Farraway Hall. Dr. Fielding,
the RSPCB veteran, rescued him over ten years ago when he was a
small werecub. On the night of the full moon, Ulf undergoes a complete
physical transformation from boy to wolf. He is brave and kind, and
his best friend is Tiana the fairy. He helps care for the beasts at the
RSPCB, and even assists Orson the giant and Dr. Fielding with mucking
out the enclosures and performing beastly operations.

Tiana (the fairy)- Ulf's best friend, afraid of ghosts & seein blood grosses her out!

Tiana is a woodland fairy, the size of a dandelion, with clothes made from
petals and stitched with spiders’ silk. She lives with other fairies in the
Dark Forest just beyond the paddock at Farraway Hall. She’s mischievous
and fun and sparkles as she flies. You’ll often find her in the flower
garden at Farraway Hall, collecting nectar. She’s Ulf’s best friend, and
even though she is a little scared of ghosts and doesn’t like the sight
of blood, she’ll do anything to help him.

 

Orson - gentle giant, RSPCB's resident beast handler.

Orson is a 15-foot tall mountain giant, who came to Farraway Hall when
he was made homeless in the wild (giant habitats are shrinking). He is
strong  but gentle, and works as the RSPCB’s beast handler. He’s too
tall to live in  the house, so he sleeps in the feed store on a mound of
grain. He wears baggy trousers made from a ship’s sails and drinks his
tea from a bucket. After a hard day’s work, there’s nothing Orson
likes more than a barrel of apples followed by a snooze

Dr Helen Fielding - Vet, expert pilot, mountain climber & scuba diver!

Dr. Helen Fielding is the RSPCB veteran. She has degrees in cryptozoology
and veterinary medicine. She is an exceptional pilot, mountain climber and
scuba diver. She performs all the medical operations at Farraway Hall, as
well as monitoring beast activity in the wild and promoting conservation
campaigns worldwide. She has written scientific papers on griffin flu,
the conductive properties of electrodactyls and the causes of cavern
fever,  as well as patenting an anesthetic mask for larger-beaked beasts.

 

Druce- a gargoyle that can turn from stone to flesh.

Druce is a gargoyle and can turn from stone to flesh. He has a long yellow
tongue and feeds largely on insects. He lives on the rooftop of Farraway Hall,
and gets into mischief, scuttling down drainpipes, peering in windows,
and blowing raspberries to passers-by. He took up residence on Farraway
Hall soon after it was built, and many years ago he knew Professor Farraway.
Druce likes to scare with his ugly faces and nasty rhymes, but he is very
good-hearted and fiercely loyal to the RSPCB.

The Late -Professor Farraway

Professor Farraway was the world’s first cryptozoologist and founder of
the RSPCB. He dedicated his life to the protection of rare and endangered
beasts, studying them in their natural habitats, pioneering veterinary
procedures, and campaigning for beasts to be protected by law. Farraway
Hall was once his family home, and although he has been dead for many
years, his portrait still hangs in the library. When Professor Farraway
died, he left everything he owned to the RSPCB, but there are dark
secrets that prevented him from resting in peace!

 

 

Baron Marackai - villainous beast hunter!
Baron Marackai is the most villainous beast hunter in the world.
He is evil, with a face as twisted as a rotten apple core, and he’s
out to get revenge! He has a vendetta against the RSPCB and a
deep dark secret that he holds in his cold heart. He hates beasts,
and would rather exploit them through acts of cruelty than
protect them from harm. Together with his henchmen Blud
and Bone, his plan is to send the RSPCB to their doom!

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Wordsworth Dances the Waltz by Frances H. Kakugawa

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz by Frances Kakugawa

Wordsworth Dances the Waltz
Frances H. Kakugawa

ISBN 10: 0979064732
ISBN 13: 978-0979064739

Children 9+

Hardcover, 32pages

Watermark Publishing

Wordsworth Dances The Waltz features a family of mice, living much as any family – enjoying their day to day lives, when time creeps up on a them…

Wordsworth first love is poetry – for a long while now it has been his source of comfort and understanding…writing is this little mouse’s way of dealing with life. And so when his beloved Grandma comes to stay with the family Wordsworth is shocked and a bit frightened by the changes that have taken place. The once vibrant, boisterous home, filled with the sounds of music and laughter has fallen quiet and his parents talk in hushed voices…whispering about how Grandma is losing her memory and things just aren’t the same. 

Wordsworth is saddened and very disappointed when his father tells him Grandma can’t attend the special Grandparent’s program at school. Before class that morning Wordsworth sits beside his Grandma’s bed and writes a poem, expressing his feelings – ending with – “She’s still my Grandma, isn’t she?”

What follows is a touching reunion of family, with a new found understanding of how they will interact from this day forward. This is a beautifully written, heartfelt story that addresses dementia, Alzheimer’s and loss of independence, subjects families are dealing with everyday. Seniors are an integral part of the family tree and it’s important to maintain close bonds and continue to interact with and allow children to enjoy the time they have with them…it is precious! 

I highly recommend this story to all families – there should be a copy in every elementary school, library and nursing home. Especially senior care facilities – this book would be an excellent tool to ease youngsters fears, answer questions they may not be able to express and reassure them Grandma or Grandpa may be different, but they love you and they’re still an important part of the family!
If you or someone you know is facing any of these situations, pick up a copy of this book!

Happy Reading!BIGsmily
RJ McGill
3Rs Den

WriterTweeter 

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Tales from Outer Suburbia (YA)

tales-by-shaun-tan-0545055873

Tales from Outer Suburbia
Shaun Tan
Young Adult, 96 pages
ISBN: 0545055873
ISBN 13: 978-0545055871
Arthur A. Levine Books
http://www.arthuralevinebooks.com

http://www.shauntan.net

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Shaun Tan would have won the lottery with his new book! Following the success of Tan’s 2007 hit, The Arrival, he is sure to awe fan with “Tales from Outer Suburbia.” And all without a single wizard, no spells or incantations and very few words. This collection of fifteen seemingly random illustrations, doodles and extravagant collages is something beautiful, emotionally riveting and morally uplifting…for those who take a moment, slow down and genuinely peruse the pages. With stories like “Grandpa’s Journey,“ “missiles in the backyard” and “the buffalo sitting in a vacant lot,“ the images express what at first appears erratic and silly, but looking deeper reveals that there is a great deal hidden in plain sight. The true genius is how the book conveys something different to each individual that reads it. What the person takes away from this reading experience may well depend on what they brought with them when they opened the book. Images, both alluring and hauntingly serious combine to create a stunning, incredibly unique book.

I would definitely reserve this particular selection for those 12+, as younger kids may be confused by the imagery. This is a wonderful book to share with your child – the added guidance and opportunity to explain various points, not to mention the quality time together, are priceless. And hearing your child’s interpretation of the scenes is often humorous, revealing and quite touching. As always parents should utilize their own judgment, when choosing material, because you know your child better than anyone.

Happy Reading!
-RJ
3Rs Reading Den

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Crash by Mayra Calvani (children’s)

 Crash! is a celebration of the special relationship between a child and his/her first pet, in storybook form.

Cover Image

 Crash!
by Mayra Calvani
artist, Anna Pylypchuk
24 pp/Children’s
Guardian Angel Publishing
ISBN 10: 1933090545
ISBN 13: 978-1933090542
Guardian Angel Publishing

VISIT* Author, Mayra Calvani’s Website

*50% of author Mayra Calvani’s royalties will be donated to “Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary” *

Most parents are all too familiar with the wailing sobs and endless begging that children can muster when they have their heart set on a pet. And many remember shamelessly doing the same thing when they were young. Mayra Calvani has captured the bond between children and animals with an easy to read narrative that touches the heart and tickles the funny bone. Ann Pylypchuk’s illustrations compliment the dialogue and bring the characters, as well as, the emotion of each page to life.

The story is about a young boy named Marcelo, who receives a golden retriever puppy for his fifth birthday. He takes excellent care of the puppy; feeding, bathing, brushing and walking him, but he can’t decide on a name for his furry four-legged friend. Mom and Dad offer a few suggestions, however, Marcelo doesn’t like any of them. So he waited and watched, enjoying time with his puppy and then it happened…he would call the puppy….

Oh, you have to read the story – I wouldn’t dare ruin it for you!

This is a wonderful children’s book that would be a welcomed addition to the bedside table, preschool library or the sitter’s bag of goodies. Also, if your child wants a pet this is a good book to share with your pet-parent-to-be. Crash! is a soft cover children’s book that’s fun to read, with adorable pictures that hold your attention and move the story a long. And with 50% of the writer’s royalties being donated to the non-profit organization, Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue & Sanctuary, you get a good book and help a good cause!

Happy Reading!
    -RJ

*Note:
The soft, family-friendly illustrations were created by 16 year old, Ann Pylypchuk, a Ukrainian native.

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Curse of the Bayou by Mary Cunningham (YA)

Cynthia’s Attic series – book #3 – from author, Mary Cunningham
Cover Image

Cynthia’s Attic, Book#3: Curse of the Bayou
by Mary Cunningham
ISBN 10: 1590805755
ISBN 13: 978-1590805756
Echelon Press Publishing

www.marycunninghambooks.com

Curse of the Bayou, Cynthia’s Attic series book #3

The third time really is the charm for author Mary Cunningham, as her latest installment in the Cynthia’s Attic series is the best of the trio. While books one and two are delightfully entertaining, within a few pages of book three, it is apparent that the writer has grown right a long side her two main characters. Blending parallel universes with very real human issues while allowing the reader to suspend the need for reason is a huge undertaking, and one that Cunningham has met and far exceeded with Curse of the Bayou.

On the edge of thirteen, in the year 1964, best friends and time traveling companions, Cynthia and Gus are at it again, drawn to the old trunk in the attic that magically melts the seams of time. The girls land in the year 1914, deep in the Louisiana swamp and quickly find they aren’t swimming with dolphins…it’s alligators! But, this is to be only the first of many heart stopping thrills as they search for Cynthia’s great-grandfather, Beau Connor, who was last seen traveling down the Mississippi River to sell produce.

The girls receive helpful hints from old friends and stern warnings from new ones. It seems the Mississippi River is home to the meanest, most orneriest pirate ever…one Buzzard Jack LaBuse. A long the way our gutsy tweenies find themselves facing off with shifting plants, scheming baddies and a thieving parrot, just to name a few. Traveling back and forth in time, the girls land in Southern Indiana, on the old Connor farm, where they discover a link between Beau Connor and pirate Jack. Could a family curse be the cause of Great Grandpa’s sudden and mysterious disappearance?

Curse of the Bayou is the ultimate stage for Cunningham’s cooky cast of characters to act out their story. Just as the most intricate web begins with a single strand, so it is with a good series…there’s a basic idea upon which each individual story is built. And while each must stand alone, it must be linked to the original. With three complete books in the series, the supporting cast and their respective back stories can get quite confusing, especially for the target audience, for this reason I would love to see a character list included with future installments.

There are so many directions the author can take with these characters and an endless list of issues, both real and imagined that can be filtered in, that not even the sky can limit this series…Kudos to author Mary Cunningham for delivering a good old fashioned family story, with all the sci-fi perks and jigs to light the imagination of today’s young reader.

Happy Reading!

– RJ

 

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Paddington Here & Now

Cover Image

Paddington Here and Now
by Michael Bond
Hardcover: ISBN: 0061473642 ISBN-13: 9780061473647
ISBN Library: 978-0061473654
ISBN Trade: 978-0061473647
176 Pages
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
HarperCollins Childrens
www.harpercollinschildrens.com

Paddington Here & Now by Michael Bond

Official Paddington Bear Website


Review
Paddington Bear is celebrating his 50th birthday the only way this lovable, adventurous little bear would…with a delicious marmalade sandwich…and his first new book in 30 years, Paddington Here and Now! For those of us who have enjoyed reading the stories of Paddington’s escapades, this book is a welcomed return to good ol’ fashioned literature.

The book opens as the eternally optimistic and oh so innocent little Peruvian bear returns to the curb to find his shopping cart has been towed away. Confused and in a state of dismay, nearby stall owners offer their support, as well as, a few gruff opinions. Paddington had been shopping at Portobello for the Brown family for years and nothing like that had ever happened before. Dealing with grumpy neighbors and the always eager tabloids, Paddington has his little paws full, but this is just the beginning of his misadventures. Later, Paddington is arrested and taken to the police station where he is questioned about his citizenship and exclaims, “I’m not an immigrant.” Thus moving us to the crux of the story…is home still where the heart is?

The foundation for this particular story line was laid many years ago when Paddington’s Aunt Lucy decided to move into the Retirement Home for Bears in Lima and helped the little bear stow-away on a ship bound for England. And although the Brown’s adopted the homeless bear after discovering him among stacks of mailbags at Paddington Station, he doesn’t have the proper paperwork, therefore, technically, Paddington is an immigrant…or even an illegal immigrant. Author Michael Bond infuses the story with Paddington’s trademark sense of humor and naivete and in doing so addresses such serious personal questions as how do you define home? And how does one decide where they belong?

Paddington Bear stories transcend the page…dealing with contemporary issues, yet delivered with that special bump and bungling comical narrative, that fans immediately recognize as the classic Paddington style and new readers will undoubtedly find irresistible. The story is well written, entertaining and filled with many “ahh’s and oohs.”

Reliable, family friendly and a true original, Paddington Bear Books are as sure as a PB & J sandwich to illicit smiles from youngsters. And parents that utilize a combination of the two are pretty much assured a few minutes of free time! I can easily and without reservation recommend Michael Bond’s new book, Paddington Here and Now and not just for the kids, even the adults that grew up reading these stories will enjoy spending some time with this old furry friend.

Happy Reading!
-RJ

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PADDINGTON BEAR!!!

Paddington Here & Now by Michael Bond

 

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The Trouble Begins at 8 by Sid Fleischman (youth)


The Trouble Begins at 8:
A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

ISBN: 978-0061344312
Ages 9-12
Grades 4+
224 pp
http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/

http://www.sidfleischman.com/

A thorough, detailed, beautifully written book about one of the most beloved authors of all time, Samuel Clemens, but we know him as the master-writer of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer… Mark Twain. Sid Fleischman has once again taken a topic that causes most kids to run screaming in the opposite direction – and made it interesting, intriguing and most importantly – Fun! You will thoroughly enjoy the wisecrack for which the book is named…”The Trouble Begins At 8.”

The life of Mark Twain has been written about by some of the brightest minds, however, knowing these texts are written with a dialogue that will never reach children, Fleischman targets the young minds with his books. Not an easy task and yet he has been able to deliver the absolute perfect mix of educational information and entertainment to keep youngsters turning pages and parents happily observing. Sid Fleischman writes with an elegant, well informed simplicity that immerses the reader, breathing life into the pages of the book, so much so that at the conclusion it feels more like you have spent time with these people as opposed to having read a book about them. Every character, as well as, each stage of Clemens’ journey contributes depth and richness to the story and has been beautifully captured in this unique, highly entertaining biographical book that reveals the creation of Mark Twain. From his early days in Missouri, through his quite interesting personal adventures; as a steamboat pilot, mining for gold, dancing the ‘kangaroo’ in San Francisco, just to name a few.

While you may think you know all there is to know about Mark Twain you have never had the pleasure of reading anything quite like this. Complimenting the narrative are numerous black and white photographs that truly bring the legend to life.

Often referred to as a ‘gentlemen of leisure,’ Mark Twain’s life was above all, interesting. Sid Fleischman has captured the essence of this free spirited writer that today is one of only a handful of authors counted as true masters of the pen. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in literature, regardless of age. Sid Fleischman is a talented writer and his ability to continually breath new life into old stories is unparalleled. This is an exceptionally well written and highly enjoyable read – Don’t Miss it!

In today’s high-tech, highly competitive market, I commend Harper Collins for delivering such unique, educational, fun titles!

*The Entertainer & the Dybbuk – also by Sid Fleischman

Happy Reading!
   -RJ

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CYOA – Volume One

golden-path-book-1.jpg
Golden Path Volume 1
Into the Hollow Earth

by Anson Montgomery
Youth Adventure/Fiction
ISBN 10: 1933390816
ISBN 13: 978-1933390819
Chooseco *(CYOA)

Some may find it hard to imagine how, with a printed book, the reader can actively participate in the adventure…but it’s true. The popular Choose Your Own Adventure has been revamped, re-energized and relaunched, to the utter delight of parents and young adults everywhere. With this ingenious series, the reader has the opportunity to make multiple choices throughout the novel, which changes the plot twists, the characters that you will meet and at what stage you will interact with each. The right choices will lead you, as one of the main characters, into a secret world that exists beneath the Earth’s crust.

As one of the main characters, you (the reader) are, quite literally caught up in the action and your choices effect the other characters and the progression of the story. The Golden Path: Volume One opens with an interesting, scientific prologue, which sets the tone for the scenery, ideologies and difficulties that the people in author Anson Montgomery’s future face on a daily basis. The first chapter opens with a scene every student can relate too…three friends, in the library, studying for a big exam. And through the creative imagination of CYOA, you (the reader), are one of the three. The heart of the story revolves around your parents archaeological dig at Carlsbad, New Mexico and a very odd shard of pottery your friend Peter found outside the dig site. Convinced the artifact once belonged to a culture that predates the American Indians and utilizing the individual talents of each of your friends, the three of you receive special permission from your teacher to work together on the AP History project. It’s true that history effects the future, but you and your friends had no idea how that piece of pottery would devastate your present and put your future in jeopardy.

When you receive a frightening, cryptic email from your Mom, sent from a dead letter drop, you are given the first of many choices…do you follow the instructions from your Mom or go to New York City? Of course your selection will alter the story’s progression, as will each of the decisions you make throughout the adventure. What began as a quest to find your missing parents, quickly spins into a web of questions, that has government officials hot on your trail and could well be the difference between life and death for you all.

Choose Your Own Adventure is an entertaining adventure series that engages reader, however, flipping back and forth, skipping numerous chapters only to go back to them later may be confusing for younger readers. A mix of ancient history, futuristic adventure, scientific learning and creative imagination, woven around three best friends who must use their individual strengths to solve problems together. Utilizing age appropriate narrative, the book deals with family issues, friendships, loss, jealousy, grief and ultimately survival, understanding and healing. I would recommend this book (*& the series) to children who enjoy a book that doesn’t fit the normal definition of “book.” The characters are believable, with just enough futuristic karma to grab the attention of today’s high-tech kids. With four story lines developed to move from Volume One to Volume Two, your individual choices play-out before your eyes. I think parents should be made aware that it is necessary to purchase both volumes, because without the second volume some “choices” are not available, thus changing the outcome. With the website, more information should be available and it allows the kids to participate in activities related to the stories. Definitely worth reading, a solid 3.5 and destined to get better with each new installment.

Happy Reading!
-RJ

 

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Play & Learn: 1001 fun activities for your baby & child

1001 Fun Activities For Your Baby and Child
Play & Learn
1001 fun activities for your baby and child
Dr. Roni Cohen Leiderman
Dr. Wendy Masi
ISBN 10: 1554700337
ISBN 13: 978-1554700332
Key Porter Books
www.keyporter.com

“Learn through play with Gymboree books”

Play & Learn concentrates on key areas of development through age appropriate activities which enhance motor skills, problem solving, coordination, language skills and encourage individual creativity and imagination. 1001 activities for children from birth to age five provides ideas for parents to connect with their children at every stage, helps build a strong sense of self and fosters a positive attitude towards learning.

The first thing I noticed was the sturdy cover, the colorful tab-style layout, with the age clearly marked on the center tab, which makes finding the exact section you’re looking for a breeze. The book is filled with gorgeous pictures of children at every stage, brilliant art work and lots and lots of color. At the beginning of each age change (0+, 3mo+, 6mo+, etc.) the authors have written an introduction page that includes a set of four milestones, displayed in color-coded boxes, giving parents a heads-up on what to expect as your little one reaches important and life-changing milestones.

Some of the activities include, recording your child’s favorite book on tape, making and decorating gingerbread cookies to enjoy while reading the story, playing footsie and the time tested trick to stop restaurant melt-downs, Mr. Fork and Ms. Spoon. The book is jam-packed with simple but ingenious ideas that help parents amuse and entertain even the fussiest child. With no preparation needed, using everyday household items, or sometimes just the sound of your own voice, these activities will enrich your relationship with your children and provide years of priceless memories.

This is an excellent tool for parents and caregivers, that I highly recommend. Loaded with fun activities that make life a little bit easier for tired parents and lots of fun for curious, energetic little ones.

Happy Reading!
-RJ
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2 Board Books (Shapes…Colors) review

Cover Image
Shapes
by Christine Coirault
Children’s Board Book/24 Pages
ISBN 10: 155470040X
ISBN 13: 978-1554700400

Cover Image
Colors
by Christine Coirault
Children’s Board Book/24 Pages
ISBN 10: 1554700396
ISBN 13: 978-1554700394
Key Porter Books
www.keyporter.com

“Learn through play with Gymboree books for life’s best start”

Remember those chunky, easy to wipe off, durable board books, that introduced us to colors and shapes? Well, author Christine Coirault, together with child development experts at Gymboree have delivered a set of early learning books that will bring back memories for parents and lay a strong foundation for their little ones.

From the sturdy pages that are perfect for little hands, to the brilliantly simple artwork, these books are must haves for parents with young children. The Shapes book contains ten shapes, each is displayed on both sides of the open book, making it easy for parents to hold and for the child to concentrate on one thing at a time. The Colors book contains ten colors, displayed in the same easy to read format. Both books utilize familiar illustrations, for example; a school bus, pig, fire truck, barn, etc. But what makes these books different from all those that came before, is what you will find at the bottom of each page- the specific color or shape is translated into four languages French, German, Italian and Spanish and even includes a pronunciation key.

These books provide wonderful learning opportunities and open the door for parents to talk with and teach their children about other countries and cultures. Bright, colorful, easy to read and oh so durable, these books will amuse, delight and educate! Two-thumbs way up!

Happy Reading!
-RJ
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