Thursday, July 03, 2014

I Have a Garden


I Have a Garden
Written and illustrated by Bob Bamer
New York:  Holiday House, 2013, Ages 2-4

This story is all about different animals in a dog's garden. The writing style is simple, using action verbs and common nouns. The illustrations fill the entire page and focus in on the subject of the page.  

I recommend placing this book in a toddler or preschool room. It's an easy one for kids 2-4 years of age. It's a good book to integrate with a lesson about gardening or what animals you may find in a garden.

--review by EmKAsh

Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie

Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie
By Sophia Grace Brownlee and Rosie McClelland, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
New York:  Orchard Books, 2013, Ages 4-7

This story is about two little girls who love girly things like pink, fairies, tutus, and tea parties. The story is told by the two little girls featured in the story.

The writing style is descriptive and enthusiastic! The illustrations are colorful in pink and purple, and are very detailed. The pictures complement the text.

I recommend this book for parents with little girls who absolutely love dressing up and pretending. The book encourages pretend play which enhances the pragmatic knowledge. It supports the use of imagination and creativity. These cousins (the authors) were even featured on the Ellen Degeneres show with famous actresses like Katy Perry. However, it is a little over the top with all the girly things!

--review by EmKAsh

The Children Who Loved Books


The Children Who Loved Books
Written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas
Tulsa, Oklahoma:  Kane Miller Books, 2013, Ages 3-6



This story is about a family that loves books. The author uses simple words. There is cause for anticipation when sentences end with ellipsis. The illustrations are bright, colorful and realistic. 

It was hard to find meaning in this book besides that reading can be a fun hobby. The author's purpose is unclear. I would only recommend this for children that love books. It may be an aid to teaching why reading is important even though it doesn't directly state why reading is beneficial. The text is short making it an easy read for beginner readers.

--review by EmKAsh

Picture Book of Daniel Boone


Picture Book of Daniel Boone
By David A. Adler and Michael S. Adler, illustrated by Matt Collins
New York:  Holiday House, 2013, Age 7-12

This story depicts the life of Daniel Boone. The struggles Boone experiences are exciting and the reader wonders if he will make it or not.

The author's writing style is descriptive, accurate and uses strong verbs like "toll" and "trapped," as well as challenging vocabulary like "expedition" and "rugged."

The illustrations are very detailed in a painted medium. They are clear and complement the text.

I thought this book was informational and a great learning resource for information about Daniel Boone. The text includes an author's note, important dates, source notes, selected bibliography and websites. The book had a lot of great information and I think children would enjoy the pictures as long as the lengthy text keeps their attention. Perhaps boys will especially relate to Boone's desire for adventure.

--review by EmKAsh

The U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights


The U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights
By Maegan Schmidt
Minneapolis:  Core Library, 2013, Ages 8-11

This is a non-fiction book discussing the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and the road to their place in our nation.

The author has illustrations and pictures which complement the text. The writing is informative and summarizes a lot of information in a clear manner.

The illustrations vary from diagrams to paintings to digital pictures. All work to set the scene.

This book is lengthy making it appropriate for children in grades 3-6.  It comes from the Core Library so it contains information that supports the common core state standards. I recommend this for use in the classroom. It also provides several lesson plan ideas and additional online resources.

--reviewed by EmKAsh

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy


The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy
By Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Israel Sanchez
New York:  Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, Ages 4-7

The story is about a dinosaur tooth fairy who ventures to get a little girl's tooth. The dinosaur wants this tooth because it is much different and much smaller than a dinosaur's tooth.

The author's writing style is repetitive and confusing to follow.  The illustrations are kid-friendly and childish, but also confusing to follow.

I did not really enjoy this story because the text is not easy to follow and would be hard for a young child to understand. Readers must still believe in the tooth fairy, but understand figurative language and have a fairly stable awareness of semantic knowledge.

--review by EmKAsh

I Wish I Had...

I Wish I Had...
By Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani
Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2013, Ages 4-7

This book has many different animals in it and each animal has a specific trait. The author's writing style is repetitive, but also very descriptive. Illustrations in the book are large, great and detailed.

I would recommend this book to other children. I would recommend it to the ages of 4-7 preferably.

I enjoyed this book. It was very descriptive and it kind of gets you thinking.

--review by M. B.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Jasper & Joop

Jasper & Joop a Perfect Pair: One Tidy, One Messy

Written and illustrated by Olivier Dunrea
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

Jasper & Joop will appeal to toddlers and young children. It follows two ducks, both completely different in character and personality. Jasper is a small, white duck who is very neat and tidy and doesn't take risks. Joop, on the other hand, is a small grey duck who is very messy and doesn't seem to take life too seriously-always getting himself into all sorts of trouble. Soon, they come across a bee hive and this event tests their friendship.In the end, both shift a little so that the friendship grows stronger than ever before.

Readers will love this sweet and easy to read book. Dunrea's writing is laid out in a way that each page belongs to one of the ducks, making it easy to compare Jasper and Joop, and to see how they come together by the end of the story. The illustrations are fun-filled and you see the duck's expressions and personality through them. The illustrations even show the journey the ducks take to get away from the bees in great detail. The scenes are simple to go perfectly with the short, yet fun text. I loved this book! It was a fun read and I think toddlers and young children would love to see the friendship between Jasper and Joop. It can bring wonderful discussion about how even though we are all different, we can still work together and get along with each other.

Reviewed by Katie Shearer

Nat the Cat's Sunny Smile

Nat the Cat's Sunny Smile
By Jez Alborough
Tulsa, OK : Kane Miller, 2013, Ages 3-7

Nat the Cat wanted to go on a picnic with her friends Billy Goat and Hugo Hare.  Nat the Cat arrived at each of his friend's home with a huge smile and a picnic basket in his hand. But one by one his friends declined her invitation to join him. Will Nat the Cat have a picnic alone?

The author uses a lot of rhyming in this book which makes it an easy read. The bright colored and descriptive illustrations add to this delightful story.

I would recommend this book to other kids.  It was an enjoyable easy read. The song music and lyrics are included so after you read the story, you can sing the song.

Reviewed by MB


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Volcano Rising

Volcano Rising
By Elizabeth Rusch, Illustrated by Susan Swan
Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2013

In this book, the author provides information about volcanoes such as where volcanoes may be found, how they form, and what happens when they erupt. The writing style used by Rusch is very entertaining. She adds sounds to keep readers entertained. Large words are not used so this title may work well for all grade levels. The illustrations are well drawn and very colorful. They capture the eye and also serve to entertain. Volcano Rising is informative and would be a good read for students doing research on volcanoes. The title would work best for 5th through 8th graders.

Reviewed by B.A.



Gorgeous

Gorgeous
By Paul Rudnick
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages 10 to 14

Gorgeous is about an 18 year old girl named Becky, living a seemingly average life in a small town. Her life was normal until her mother suddenly  died and left her a mysterious message that would change everything she thought she knew. With the help of the billionaire Tom Kelly, Becky will transform her entire life.

Paul Rudnick has a very humorous and mysterious writing style. He gives just enough information to keep you informed and interested but leaves out enough to keep you wanting more to read.

There are no illustration aside from the cover. The cover is simply black with a girl in a red dress running off the page. It is very intriguing and even a little dangerous. 

I loved reading this book! It has a great mix of mystery, romance, and humor. I would recommend it for middle school students who are looking for a twist on a typical story about a girl trying to find herself.

Reviewed J.S.

Whitney Houston: Recording Artist and Actress

Whitney Houston: Recording Artist and Actress
By Christine Heppermann
Minneapolis, MN : ABDO Pub. Co., 2013, Ages 10 to adult 

This book explored the life of Whitney Houston. The author tell the reader about the good and the bad of her life. She even gave details about the people who Whitney was close to during her life.

The author's style is very graceful. The book flows together connecting the major accomplishments of her life.

I really loved the pictures. It was nice to see pictures of her from childhood rather than the ones of her singing. The pictures gave me a good sense of what happened. 

I would recommend this book to kids around the ages of about fifth grade and up. The author mentions Whitney's drug usage, and I feel students below fifth grade level may not understand what was going on.

Reviewed by B.A. 


Happy Cat

Happy Cat
By Steve Henry
New York : Holiday House, c2013, Ages 4-7

A cat finds shelter in a building on a very cold winter day.  As the cat climbs the stairs, he receives a gift from those living on each floor.The cat reaches the top and is not the only one living happily in the building.

The author's writing style allows young readers to follow along easily. The three to four word sentences and repetition makes it an easy reader.

The illustrations are very detailed and colorful which gives the younger reader lots to look at on each page.

I think young readers would enjoy this story.

Reviewed by L.I.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bug Patrol

Who Stole the Veggies from the Veggie Patch?
By Precious McKenzie, Illustrated by Jenny Snape
Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Educational Media, 2013

In this title, veggies go missing from the patch and the animals keep asking each other about it. In the end, the culprit is found out. The author uses repetitive phrases such as: "who, me? yes, you!" The illustrator uses quite cheerful and light colors such as green and light blue. Also, most of the pages are double spreads which help children see the full scene. The book is an easy read and would be best suited for introduction in a Kindergarten or first grade classroom.

A Smidgen of Sky

A Smidgen of Sky
By Dianna Dorisi Winget
Boston : Harcourt Children's Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Ages 9 to 13

Piper Lee's father disappeared in a plane that could not be found, and after five years, her mom is engaged to be married again. Feeling that her mother is being disloyal, she tries to stop the wedding as she deals with the loss of her father.

The author's style is very appealing to the intermediate level students. Winget used the idea of death of a loved and embraced it. She was able to turn a serious topic into something enjoyable to read.

The only illustrations of the book is the front cover. The cover is sky blue with sunflowers and a yellow plane to resemble her father.

I would recommend this book to not only kids who are dealing with the loss of a  loved one. I would recommend it to everyone because it gives incite to how to deal with losing a loved one in an appealing way. Although it is more of a girly book, I would recommend it to all third through sixth graders.

Reviewed by E.S.

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
By Margarita Engle
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 10 to 13

The story is about a girl named Tula who loves stories, but her family is coming out of slavery in Cuba, where girls are not allowed to be educated. Tula is conflicted with mixed feeling as she is to be married off to the highest bidder, and he mother will use the money to buy slaves. She finds herself in a banned book of a rebel poet, and she begins to see the injustice around her.

The author's writing style is poetic. Each poems in the voice of a different character, telling what they have to say.

The book does not have very much art except for the cover. The cover looks of water and there is a hand with a black bird perched upon it.

This book was very confusing for me; therefore, I don't feel it would be a good book for some kids. It could be a book a teacher might use for an exceptional student with a high reading level. 

Reviewed by E.S.

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy
By Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Israel Sanchez
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, Ages 4-8

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy lives in the museum, where she polishes her giant tooth collection and reminisces about the past.  She is in desperate need for a new tooth.  A little girl with a loose tooth walks through the museum with her class.  The dinosaur Tooth Fairy spots her from afar and goes on a wild adventure to get the tooth.

Brockenbrough's writing style is fun and energetic.  The illustrations done by Israel Sanchez are bright, whimsical, and playful.

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy is a must for parents of young children. Martha Brockenbrough teaches a lesson in friendship and sharing.

Reviewed by KP

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weather

Weather
By Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris
New York: Scholastic, 2013

This book is about various elements of weather. The authors discuss some rare and interesting aspects of the weather, as well as every day forms of weather. Causes, observable aspects, and interesting facts about weather are all included. In addition, there is a page featuring a man who was struck by lightening seven times! The writing style is engaging. The tone shows excitement and energy about the material, while also conveying the information in an accessible way. The illustrations are some photographs and some computer-generated images. They contain a lot of detail and are engaging. Some are breathtaking and others convey much information. A few students may find some of the pages very busy, however, others may appreciate the wealth of information shown. My favorite page had a large picture of Aurora Borealis. I enjoyed this book and believe many kids would also find it interesting and enjoyable, particularly those fascinated by science or weather.

Reviewed by Mikayla Batt

It Wasn't My Fault

It Wasn't My Fault
By Helen Lester, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 7 to 10


Nothing went right for Murdley Gurdson, a very odd young boy. One day he went for a walk in his too big of shoes, and he stepped right out of one of his shoes, which seemed to cause a whole dilemma with the animals, including a bird laying an egg on Murdley Gurdson's head.

The author wrote this book with a cause and effect theme that appears on every page. Each animal the young boy met in the book said that what happened wan't their fault, blaming another for the actions that took place. 

The illustration look like cartoon-like drawings made with a pen and watercolors, which are very colorful.

I would recommend this book to children because it helps teach taking responsibility for your actions. Teachers can also use this book to teach cause and effect and order of events. All together it is a fun and interesting book. It is great for kids.

Reviewed by B.A.  


Hiding Phil

Hiding Phil
By Eric Barclay
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages 5-8

The story follows three children who find an elephant and the fun they have together.  They have to try to find a way to hide Phil, the elephant, before their parents see him.

The authors writing style has lots of humor and rhyme.  It is easy to read and goes at a fast pace.  My favorite line is when the little girl says, "mom and dad will LOVE Phil!" then on the next page she says, "Uh oh...." because he had some gas while in the bath tub.

The illustrations are free hand with pencils.  They do a great job at showing Phil, the kids, and their parents expressions.

Reviewed by Laura Gould

Diva Duck Dreams

Diva Duck Dreams
By Janice Levy, Illustrated by Colleen Madden
Minneapolis, Minn. : Magic Wagon, 2013, Ages 6 to 9

This book is about a duck that is a diva that dreams of being famous. All she wants is a life outside the farm, though all the other farm animals give her a hard time. Will she become a star and prove them wrong?

The author uses a lot of verbs, highlighting the verbs and other important words in the book.

The illustrations look almost like paint. They are colorful and cartoon-like.

I would recommend this book. I thought it was a cute story, and it could teach kids to never give up on their dreams. 

Reviewed by A.S. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Buff Ducks

Buff Ducks
By Precious McKenzie, illustrated by John Reasoner
Vero Beach, Florida:  Rourke Educational Media, 2013, Ages 6-9

Buff Ducks is a brief story about ducks doing a variety of physical activities. The book starts off by saying, "Ducks get in shape," and ends with, "Buff ducks!"

This is a repetitive book with lots of two word sentences. Examples are:

  • "Ducks run."
  • "Ducks walk."
  • "Ducks waddle."
The illustrations are cartoon-like and colorful.

This book may be interesting for young kids or beginning readers. The illustrations are captivating and kids would probably like them. I would recommend this book for struggling readers because the text is large and there are only a couple of sentences per page.


--Reviewed by A. S.

The Year of the Baby

The Year of the Baby
By Andrea Cheng, Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 9 to 12


This story is about three young girls who create a science fair project based on one of their adopted sisters/ The girls are trying to find out why the adopted baby sister from China is not eating. They create a project that actually helps the baby start eating, and they record their findings.

The author's writing style is that of a chapter book format. The writing is very straight forward and easy to follow.

There are brief illustrations throughout the book that are drawn in pencil. The pictures are used randomly in the story, and they help bring the story to life. Pictures are placed to help show what was written on the pages.

This book offers a great story about family and love while also exhibiting some struggles. Children are able to relate to these characters because it is an ordinary story about family, friends, and school. 

Reviewed by K.T.

Good Manners with Your Teachers

Good Manners with Your Teachers
by Rebecca Felix, illustrated by Gary Lacoste
Minneapolis:  Magic Wagon, 2014

The story follows Mia and Nate throughout their day in school. It shows the two making decisions on how to show good manners towards their teachers. Throughout the story, they give tips to students about manners.

The author's writing style is very professional and uses verbs to show how the students should behave. On certain pages there are helpful tips for the reader.

There are illustrations on every page. They are computer generated cartoons that students will like because they resemble shows they watch on television.

As a future special education teacher, I would recommend it for students in my class. It would be a great social story for students who may be having trouble behaving in class.

--Reviewed by L. G.

Helen Keller's Best Friend Belle

Helen Keller's Best Friend Belle
By Holly Barry, Illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
Chicago, Illinois : Albert Whitman & Company, 2013, Ages 8 to 11

This is a nonfiction book. The author's purpose is to educate people on how Helen Keller's life changed suddenly, but it didn't stop her from achieving her dreams. The author also is educating people on how Helen Keller didn't let a disability hinder her potential. I thought the topic was very entertaining by incorporating the love Helen had for dogs and how their friendship was important.

The author's writing style in this book is very straight forward. It is easy to understand and doesn't offer any confusion to readers. Some strong verbs in the story are flowing and squirm.

The illustrations in this book are in great detail and offer a great image of Helen Keller. The images are very stimulating and bring the words o life and give the words meaning.

I feel like this books is great for young children in 3rd and 4th grade. Children are able to relate to Helen Keller based on a love for dogs, as well as children with disabilities can relate to Helen. The long passage at the end that offers more information about Helen Keller would appeal to older children. I really enjoyed this book!

Reviewed by K.T., BGSU Student

Horrors of History: City of the Dead

Horrors of History:City of the Dead
By T. Neill Anderson, illustrated by Richard Garratt
Watertown, Mass. : MTM Publishing, Charlesbridge, 2013, Ages 9-13

This is a historical fiction about a hurricane that destroyed much of Galveston, Texas, in 1900.  This focuses on kids in an orphanage and also others that lived in Galveston and the struggles that they faced during the storm.

This story was written in a very serious manner and shows the perspectives of a few different people.  Narrative first hand accounts are used throughout the story and it makes it very interesting to read.

The illustrations are mainly historical pictures that have to with the storm itself.  Also there is a map that shows the path of the storm.  The pictures really do help the reader make connections with the story.

I thought that this was a very well written book and it really grabbed my attention.  The way that the characters are portrayed in the book really makes it exciting.  I would recommend it to any middle childhood student that is interested in the subject.  This is a great example of a historical fiction.

Reviewed by Ryan Pivcevich

Buff Ducks

Buff Ducks
By Precious McKenzie, illustrated by John Reasoner
Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Educational Media, 2013

This book is about a variety of activities that the ducks do in order to keep in shape. The writing style is very simple with only a few words per page. The words are also repetitive. When you look at the illustrations you can see that the ducks are having a lot of fun doing their activities. The pictures are very cute and fun-loving and the ducks all have smiles on their faces. I thought this book was lighthearted and enjoyable. I would recommend this to young kids with the goal of encouraging them to be more active. This would be a good book for any child regardless of what they might be interested in.

Reviewed by Gretta McMillen

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beyoncé

Beyoncé
By Sarah Dann
New York: Crabtree, 2014

This is a biography about Beyoncé from her youth and early career to her stardom and the present. The author talks about all of the great things Beyoncé has done, such as founding charities. She explains Beyoncé's depth as a singer, actress, entrepreneur, wife, and mother. Each topic has its own section so the reader can easily understand what each part is about. The pictures are photographs of Beyoncé and her family which fans will enjoy! I recommend this book to kids who want to learn about pop culture. The book would be enjoyed by students in grades 3 and up. The student should be interested in pop culture, music, and Beyoncé in particular.

Reviewed by Gretta McMillen

The Very Beary Tooth Fairy

The Very Beary Tooth Fairy
By Arthur A. Levine; Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages 7 to 10

The story is about Zach the bear and his journey on losing this tooth and finding out who the tooth fairy is. He wonders if the toothy fairy is just for bears.

"Well, the only one of those guys I know is the Easter Bunny: definitely a rabbit." The author is very basic in explanation but creative.

The art in this book was done with water color and graphite. This pictures in this story are what would keep the audience interested in the story. 

I would recommend this story for students to read on free-time. It would allow them to use their imagination. I would say ages 7 to 10 because of the words used.

Reviewed by S.S., BGSU Student


The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter
By Allen Say
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, Ages 6 to 11


The main characters are Yuriko and her father. Yuriko's name is unique and one of a kind. A teacher calls her by the wrong name, and it bring Yuriko down. After this, her father shows her how special she really is.

"A lovely name, The child of the Lily ..." The author is very down to earth and caring with his writing style.

The pictures are the most effective in developing the story as a whole. The art for this book was done using water colors, pen and ink, and two real photos. 

Yes, I would recommend this story for students. This story can teach them to believe in themselves and not to let others tear you down. I would say 4th through 6th grade level.

Reviewed by S.S., BGSU Student



Fly Guy and the Frankenfly

Fly Guy and the Frankenfly
By Tedd Arnold
New York, N.Y. : Cartwheel Books, 2013, Age 7-11

This story is about a boy named buzz who becomes friends with a fly named Fly Guy.  Buzz has a dream that Fly Guy creates a monster named "Frankenfly" but will it become a reality?

The author uses a very simplistic writing style that would be great for kids anywhere from second to fifth graders.  It also incorporates chapters in it as well.

The illustrations in this story are all drawn by hand.  They are cartoon drawings but really go along with the book.  The illustrations that I thought were most effective was the one when his is shown falling asleep and dreaming.

I thought that this story was very interesting.  It was a very simple story but written very well.  I would recommend this story to kids that are just starting to read chapter books.

Reviewed by Ryan Pivcevich







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee
By George Shannon, Illustrated by Mark Fearing
New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

Cordelia, a young witch, is entering her first spelling bee. She must use her knowledge of spelling and similar words to defeat the fiendish witch Beulah Divine and win the spelling bee. The author uses simple language with an emphasis on the key spelling words in a story. He also uses a lot of rhyming text to show connections between words and how they are spelled. The illustrations are vibrant depictions of the scene described in the story. They provide a great visual to help beginning readers follow along. This is a fun story that can help students become engaged in reading and spelling. I would recommend this book for beginning readers and spellers to help them learn about language and to spark their curiosity about patterns between words. Due to the low level word usage I would recommend this for younger readers. Older readers could breeze through this story rather quickly and it may not engage them as much

The Wendigo

The Wendigo
By Vincent Goodwin, illustrated by Rod Espinosa
Minneapolis:  Magic Wagon, 2014
Mr. Simpson joins a seasoned hunter named Joseph Defago for his first moose hunt. While in the forest, Defago goes missing and Simpson must track him. However, the tracks mysteriously change and begin to resemble the tracks of a creature from native folklore--the Wendigo. Simpson and company must try to find Defago, hoping it is not too late.

The author writes this story as a comic book. All the writing is short. There is simple dialogue.

The illustrations are colorful, detailed, comic-like depictions of the setting of the story. They help the reader follow along with the scene.

This story was difficult to follow along. It was challenging to distinguish which character was which. The story was also very broken and there felt like there was a lot of information missing. I would not recommend this book to many readers unless they really wished to read a comic book, for it is a tough storyline to follow.

--Reviewed by A. G.

The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge
By Natalie Standiford
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages: 8th grade to High School age

In this book, Laura, an American college student, decides to spend a semester aboard, studying Russian in the Soviet Union. She is faced with many unique obstacles and meeting Alyosha, a native who changes her experience.

The writing style was definitely for older students because there are bigger words. Some knowledge about Would War II and the Soviet Russia is also assumed to be known.

There are no illustrations in the book aside from the front cover, which shows an accurate scene from the book.

I liked the book a lot. It kelp me on my toes, curiously anticipating what would happen next. I wouldn't recommend it for younger middle school students though because of the love interest and the rule breaking in the book.

Reviewer: N.W., BGSU Student   


Psych-out!

Psych-out!
By Kenny Abdo, illustrated by Bob Doucet
Edina, Minn. : Magic Wagon, c2014

In Edwin West Elementary fourth grader Jon Gummyshoes is the main detective.  If anyone can solve mysteries, it is Jon!  Jon does not seem like he has a clue of what he is doing until it clicks with him solving cheating and stealing mysteries.

The author used an interesting writing style that kept me engaged.  It was mysterious, so I did not always see what was coming.  It was also quite adventurous for me to read.

I thought the illustrations were great.  They were exactly what I pictured while reading the text.  It was nice getting a visual every so often.

I thought this was a great book to read and I enjoyed it.  It was engaging, but some parts got boring.  I do recommend this book, but more specifically to 7-8 graders who are interested in crime and solving problems.

Reviewed by Billy Fial

Monday, June 23, 2014

43 Old Cemetery Road: Book Five- Hollywood, Dead Ahead

Hollywood, Dead Ahead
By Kate Klise
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

This story is about a trio leaving Ghastly for Hollywood in California for an opportunity at stardom. Once these three get there, they realize how quickly the big world changes them. One person, Olive, has been kicked out of a script. So Olive comes up with a way to scare the director badly! The author's writing style is suspenseful and compelling. She did a wonderful job making me want to read more. The suspenseful way she left things, just made me want to read more! The illustrations were actually awesome! It was like I was reading and looking at a newspaper at times. This book had a unique layout which I had never seen before. I even loved the text font! I really enjoyed this book and did not experience any boredom while reading it. I wanted to flip to the next page quickly to see what would happen next. I recommend this book to any student, grades 5 through 7 who are interested in anything! Every student will love to get their hands on this book, particularly theater students!

Reviewed by Billy Fial



Wyatt Burp Rides Again

Wyatt Burp Rides Again
By Greg Trine, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Ages 6-9

This is a story about a girl detective who is bored because there are no crimes to fight. To fix this problem, Jo builds a time traveling machine to go back and catch Wyatt Burp. Wyatt is a strange character who can blow bank doors off with his burps.

The story had great voice and is easily understandable.

 The illustrations support the text very well. The primary medium is pencil. Although they are simple, they help to tell the story.

I really liked the book. I think other kids would enjoy it especially the ones who like numerous stories. I definitely think this book is more designed for boys who like adventure and humor. But definitely a good read for all.

--Reviewed by A. Baker

Adele: Grammy-Winning Singer & Songwriter

Adele:  Grammy-Winning Singer & Songwriter
By Lisa Owings
Minneapolis:  ABDO, 2013, Ages 10-14

This story is a biography about the challenges faced by a young singer/songwriter, the accomplishments and relationships she had. The book also identifies significant life events of Adele during her career and lifetime up until 2012.

The verbs "extensive," "crushed" and "cultivating her own unique sound" are words and phrases that grabbed my attention while reading this book. The style in particular is more straight forward, using some forms of metaphors and humor to entertain the reader.

There were pictures illustrating the text that portrayed the progression of Adele's life. The primary medium is pictures with vibrant colors. The illustration that I believe is the most effective was of her singing on page 72. This describes the emotion and passion Adele displays and wants others to see.

The book meets my expectations. I only wish the book had more failures of Adele in her music career, this would add more validity to the author's argument of Adele being so successful. I would recommend this to other kids because it is enjoyable and not too in-depth reading. Kids or young adults from about 10-14 would be interested in this biography.

--Reviewed by S. F.

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year
By Bill Harley, illustrator by Adam Gustavson
Atlanta, Ga. : Peachtree Publishers, 2013, Age 8-11

Charlie is the main character who causes a lot of mischief at home and at school.  His is going into the fourth grade and gets the teacher Mrs. Burke, who he doesn't want. Throughout the book, he gets to know his teacher and decides that he likes her.  Charlie has a lot of mishaps throughout the book, which makes it very comical.

The book is written through Charlie's point of view. which adds to the silliness of the book because we hear his internal dialogue.  Most of the book is dialogue that Charlie has with other characters which engages the reader.

The illustrations are black and white and are prevalent throughout the story, not pictures on every page, but they are there when important things happen in the story.  I really enjoy the illustrations because they are well done and give the reader something to look at while reading.

I think that this a fun book that many students would enjoy.  I would say that is directed towards middle school age students, and maybe younger because it is a pretty easy read.

Reviewer: M.L.

Radio Girl

Brendler, Carol. Radio Girl. Holiday House: New York, 2013.


This book is about Cece Maloney, a young girl with dreams of being a radio star. When she breaks the rules and gets a radio job, she realizes there is a lot more to it than she thought. Taking the job also left her with more problems to solve the she started with.

This book is written in the style of a middle school student, which I think would make it enjoyable from them to read. The book is easy to follow along with and there are not too many big words.

There were no illustrations inside the book, but the front cover is a perfect resemblance of the books inside content. The photo on the cover looks like it was taken in the 30s, but it fits the story.

I liked the book a lot! It had issues that many young kids deal with such as boys and relationships, arguments with parents, and many more. I would definitely recommend this book to school kids in 5th or 6th grade. 

Reviewer: NW, BGSU student

Hiding Phil

Barclay, Eric. Hiding Phil. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.

This story is about a two children who meet an elephant named Phil. They become friends and want to keep Phil. The children decide to hide Phil from their parents. When the parents find the elephant, they want to make him leave, but after getting to know him, they decide to let their children keep Phil.

The author's writing style is fun and short. The author's tell the story through think bubbles, which makes it easy to tell who is talking throughout the story.

I think the illustrations are great. They are very cute, and I think you can almost tell the story just through the illustrations.

I would recommend this book for young readers or for a preschool story time. It has great pictures and has a fun story young students could relate to about wanting pets.

Age range to which this book would appeal Pre-K to K

Reviewer: Stephanie, BGSU Student

Friday, June 20, 2014

Danny, Who fell in a Hole

Danny, Who Fell in a Hole
By Cary Fagan, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic
Toronto : Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2013, Age 7-10


Danny was going through some tough times when his parents decide to split. Hearing the news about getting rid of their dog, Danny decides to run away. Danny falls into a construction site hole where he meets a delightful mole who helps him with the changes that are taking place in his life.

Short and sweet. The author really got to the point while being successful.

The primary medium is detailed pencil. There is not a lot of illustration, but enough to help tell the story.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I not only recommend it to kids, but also adults. Even though being so simple, it shows that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel...or hole. Definitely a GREAT read!

--Reviewed by A. Baker

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying
By Lisa Mullarkey, Illustrated by Gary LaCoste
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2013

A young boy who is eagerly waiting for his old friend to move back to town is shocked that the friend has changed! Upon moving to town, the friend emerges as a bully. The author's writing style relies heavily on quotes and did not use many colorful words for describing things. There was one line used frequently throughout the text, which was" of course he did." The illustrations were done in black and white and appeared to be done in pencil. They were a bit cartoony but did a good job capturing movement and actions. I would recommend this book to students starting middle school. Not only is it an entertaining read, but also teaches a good lesson throughout.

Reviewed by Steven Brooks

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

Horender, Philip M, and Guy Wolek. A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant. Minneapolis, Minn: Magic Wagon, 2014.

This book told the story of a time traveling mouse, named Maximilian, who is trying to get back home. On his journey, he meets a new friend, Ashling, who is traveling from her home in Ireland to the great country of America.
The author uses detailed sentences and colorful language to grab the attention of the readers.

The illustrations are detailed and portray the story well.

I enjoyed reading this book.  I would recommend it for social studies classes and for students who are interested in history books that have extra excitement in them.

This book would appeal to ages 8-12 year olds

Publisher: Magic Wagon

Reviewer: Lyndsey Jones

Surfing Safari

McKenzie, Precious, and Marc Mones. Surfing Safari. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Educational Media, 2013. 

In this story the children go on a surfing adventure.  When they start paddling out to sea, they notice what look to be fins.  As they paddle closer they make a surprising discovery.
The author has a lot of commentary between the camp advisor and the children.
The illustrations are very bright and colorful.  They are also cartoon-like and children love them.
I do recommend it to kids because it was funny and seemed like a real-life situation so kids will love it.  The illustrations grab your attention so that will attract the children.  The text is very easy to read so first - fourth grade would be perfect.
This book would appeal to ages 6-9

Reviewer: BA

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

By Philip Horender, Illustrated by Guy Wolek
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2014

A time-traveling mouse, who is trying to locate a new home for his family, finds himself aboard a ship heading for America. On this ship he meets a little girl whose family is looking for a new home as well. The author uses lots of descriptive and colorful adjectives to really add feeling and meaning to the story. This comes into play primarily when the author is describing the mouse and the little girl's emotions. The illustrations in the book were all done with what appeared to be black and white. They were all fairly realistic looking and added more meaning to the story, especially the Statue of Liberty. I was not a huge fan of this book, although it was written very well. It just wasn't for me. I would recommend it to 6th or 7th grade students who want something to read.

Reviewed by Steven Brooks


TJ Zaps the One-Upper...

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying
By Lisa Mullarkey, Illustrated by Gary LaCoste
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2013

This is a story about a 4th grade boy named TJ who is bullied by someone who he believed to be his friend- Danny. The story is all about what TJ does to stop Danny from one-upping and cell phone bullying. The author uses simple terminology and easy to understand phrasing to make the story fun and enjoyable for everyone. The illustrations are simple yet eye-catching and tell the story well. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for children who are entering into the middle grades. It would be a good tool to use to help them understand bullying, its effects, and how to take action against bullying.

Reviewed by Lyndsey Jones