Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Mean Girl Who Never Speaks by Zuni Blue

The Mean Girl Who Never Speaks stars Mya Dove, a practicing detective. In this episode, Mya is given a case to figure out whether the new girl at school is "mean" or not. And what the other children should do about it. Mya currently gets paid in grapes (when she does get paid), but she hopes to one day be a true detective.

It was fun reading the little police facts that Mya would pop off. Mya is adorable and spunky, though she occasionally sounds older than six. She seems to be a "wise beyond her years" character. She didn't feel right about writing off the new girl as "mean" and it was a good thing she followed her gut. I don't want to spoil the book, but I feel like it's really important to point out that one of the topics in this book is Social Anxiety. There are so few books that cover that issue that I almost shouted when I read the words. Go Zuni Blue for using a fun story to talk about real issues! And thank you for the police facts.

Set in London, England, this book is written in British English. That was another thing I liked about the book. I think it would be cool if the book had illustrations, but it was still good without them. The book could be pretty funny at times too.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about social anxiety.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Birdplane by Tonya Coffey

Birdplane by Tonya Coffey is the story about a little ant that has dreams of flying. Tiny Tom wants to fly and soar in the air more than anything. And he's willing to do almost anything to take flight. We follow Tiny Tom on his adventure as he tries a series of plans to get himself launched into the air.

My favorite thing about Birdplane (aside from the illustrations) is the determination shown by Tiny Tom to get into the air. Not does Tiny Tom show the determination to do the thing he wants, but he also shows the ingenuity to try several methods and to keep trying until he succeeds.

The illustrations are very nice. They are done on a canvas. They look great, and I think they fit the story well.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Speranza's Sweater by Marcy Pusey

Speranza's Sweater is written by Marcy Pusey and illustrated by Beatriz Mello.

Speranza lived in a troubled home until one day social workers took her and placed her in foster care. It wasn't that her parents didn't love her, (her mom comes and visits her), they just weren't able to give her and her brothers the care she needed.

Speranza wears her sweater until it becomes old and raggedy because it reminds her of the home she once had.

But will she find a forever family?

Speranza's Sweater is great introduction to adoption through foster care. It has a likeable main character and is written in simple enough terms that most children should be able to understand it. I would have liked to see more detail personally. I would have liked to delve deeper into Speranza's emotions. I feel like we only got a glimpse of her. However, it's still a great story and if you have foster children or adopted foster children, then this book belongs in your collection.

(Btw, sorry I'm a little late with this review. It's been a hectic week!)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Daniel The Draw-er by S.J Henderson

Daniel The Draw-er by S.J. Henderson

I've had this in my Kindle forever, but I've always put off actually reading it. I didn't expect much, because the title is kind of odd, and I'm just used to being disappointed by books I picked up at random. 
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's about a kid named Daniel. In this book, he has a fight with his best friend, because he doesn't want to share his magic pencil. His pencil allows him to draw himself out of bad situations. But what will happen when he is confronted by a bully and doesn't have his pencil or his best friend by his side.

This book was a great read with a main male character and a co-main female character who is the best friend of the main character. Daniel's mom is also a character and is supportive of Daniel while still letting him make his own decisions.

The characters were interesting and realistic. I would have liked to see more of Daniel's best friend, and I would have also liked to see more scenes with the magic pencil. Overall, the story was good, but the book was way too short.

Please write more (and longer) books, S. J Henderson!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dana Also Deserves a Playground by Yael Manor

Today, I'm reviewing Dana Also Deserves a Playground by Yael Manor. This book is available in English, Hebrew, and a bilingual (English/Japanese) version.

Dana is a little girl in a wheelchair. When she goes to the playground, she is sad because she can't play with the other kids. The other kids, along with their parents, all conspire to help Dana. Will they all get a happy ending with a playground that Dana and other disabled kids can enjoy?

It was kind of hard to read this without tearing up a little, because it was so nice how all the kids wanted to help Dana and make sure that she was able to play with them and have a good time. The pictures by Biljana Mihajlovic added to the story with lots of joyful images of children playing.

The book only has a few small typos, but other than that, it's easy to read and the story line flows well.

I recommend reading this to children who might be wondering about how disabled children play, or to disabled children who will soon be getting a playground like the one in the story. 

It's a good story with a good message. I am glad to have it in my collection.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Little Blue Digger and the Very Muddy Day by Harriet Tuppen

The Little Blue Digger and the Very Muddy Day was written by Harriet Tuppen and illustrated by Branislav Gapic.

In this book, there is a red vehicle who is very attached to his red color. He doesn't want to get his red exterior messed up, but when some little sheep need rescuing, will he run away or save the day?

This is a great read for early readers who are starting to read by themselves. The story flows nicely, and it teaches a good underlying message.

I really enjoyed the soft illustrations. The sheep were so cute!

If you love vehicles or sheep or both, you are sure to enjoy The Little Blue Digger and the Very Muddy Day.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Release! Tiramisu Tuesday by Penny LeClair

About Tiramisu Tuesday

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the Juniper CafĂ© is buzzing with excitement. Rosa, however, is not impressed. It’s her least favourite day of the year. To make things worse, her big sister Margaret just got a boyfriend and doesn’t spend any time with her anymore. With a story from the past, a cheesy greetings card and a delicious serving of tiramisu, Rosa might just change her mind about Valentine’s Day!

You can buy the book here. 

About Penny LeClair

Penny LeClair is a composer and writer from Ireland. She loves to read and write stories about friendship, family, music and magic. Among her favourite books are the Chronicles of Narnia, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Harry Potter.

Her first book, ‘Star Syrup’, was partly inspired by her years singing in a school choir, and she likes to put musical and theatre references into her books too. Penny now lives in Brisbane, Australia, but likes to keep in touch with writers and readers all over the world.

You can find Penny on Twitter. @Pennystarsyrup

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Sophie Washington: The Snitch by Tonya Ellis

So, I just read Sophie Washington: The Snitch, and I have to say. It was a fantastic read. Sophie is just too freaking adorable! OMG. Not just the way she dresses. From the illustrations you can see she typically wears tunic style dress with a pair of capris. But her personality is also so adorable and loveable.

Except when she is around her brother, who she cannot stand. She thinks she is trying to help him stop sucking his thumb, but she just ends up making him feel bad. Oops! Turns out, his friends are more understanding than she thought they would be.

Unfortunately, Sophie has to deal with a bully at school. The bully, Lanie, is SUPER mean. She takes other kids money. But what will happen when she physically injures another kid?

This book had a lot of fun imagery and has great messages for kids. Sophie is part of a happy, normal family who cares about her, which is nice to read about. She even starts to get on with her brother during the book. She learns that sometimes keeping secrets can be harmful. She learns that her friends are supportive and will stand by her when she needs them too. I really liked that Sophie had a friend who was an exchange student from Africa. (One of my awesome classmates last year was an exchange student from Africa. I adore her!)

Tonya Ellis is on my "authors to watch" list. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books by her!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Reading Promise

The Reading Promise is a beautiful story about a mother who doesn't have a lot, but is determined to share her love of reading, books, and knowledge with her son. 

She makes sure that her son never misses an opportunity to learn.

The illustrations by Elisa Moriconi add a really nice soft touch to this book, which makes a great bedtime story.

Although there are a sad moments in this book, it is still a great book. 







His mom gets sick and dies when he is a young adult. I feel it is important to mention this as someone who is not ready to talk about this with their young children might want to skip this page for now. They can return to it when they are ready.

Overall, despite the sad moments, I would still give this book

5 Shovels

Teddy with the Book

Jean-Luc, snuggled up and ready to read!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Book No One Wants to Read by Beth Bacon

I hate to admit that the cover almost stopped me from picking up this book. I know the title alone is meant to be enticing, but I didn't open this book until I saw an author friend post a glowing review about it on Goodreads.

I gave the book a chance and opened it up. It has nice big text in small doses. The book makes a bargain with you. You pretend to read it, and it gets some well-deserved time off the shelf.

You play games with the book, which are fun and keep the reader occupied.

I've never been a reluctant reader myself, but I think this book will help a lot of reluctant readers out there with its wit an humor. They just have to take it off the shelf for a few minutes.

The illustrations were simple and bold. I liked them a lot. They added to the book and fit the theme well.

5 Shovels

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Star Syrup by Penny LeClair

Star Syrup is a cozy middle grade read about a girl named Lena who can't quite sing. Lena has a tendency to fly under the radar. There isn't really anything about her that stands out. Until one day, when her nemesis ruins a meet and greet with a star, and Lena ends up with a potion and a little more attention than she bargained for. But will her newfound fame help or hurt her?

Lena was an appealing character. She is one that you will find yourself cheering for throughout the whole book. All of the characters in this book are, in fact, appealing characters. Even Lena's nemesis, Xara, and the pop star with issues, Janet, have redeeming qualities.

The thing I liked most about this book is that you can really see Lena's growth in character. And she learns that talent is something that you aren't always blessed with, but certainly can earn with time.

I'm happy to have this book in my collection.

5 Shovels!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Glasses by Marlene W. Potts

Glasses by Marlene W. Potts

I was gonna go to bed, but I couldn't because this book was just way too good. I had to know what happened with the old lady and all the kids who disappeared from Swan Quarter. This book had me on edge, and I loved every minute of it. I literally could not put it down. I loved the characters. They were all so kind to each other. Tammy (one of the main characters) says that's a thing in Swan Quarter.

The illustrations were a charming anime/manga style that I adored.

Overall, I was disappointed when the book was over because I loved the characters so much. 

Please write more about Swan Quarter and Tammy and Kasey, Ms. Potts. I liked Detective Clark a lot too.

5 Shovels