Monday, November 20, 2017

Kid Lit: When a Wolf Is Hungry

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

When a Wolf Is Hungry by Christine Naumann-Villemin

Published August 7, 2017.

Goodreads Summary:
A darkly humorous tale with a twist ending

Edmond Bigsnout, lone wolf that he is, loves his solitary cabin in the woods. But lately he's been craving urban rabbit for dinner, so he travels into the city to catch one. Unfortunately, the rabbit has a lot of neighbors—who mistake Edmond for a kind and helpful resident! Perhaps Edmond can become a good neighbor, despite his bad intentions.

Readers of all ages will devour this story about a wolf who decides that if you can't eat them, join them.

My Thoughts:
This book is rather strange - dark humor I guess. Edmund the wolf is determined to find a city rabbit to eat. He starts out with a knife, but he forgets it in the elevator. Then he goes home for a chainsaw and someone borrows that from him. With each new weapon, someone in the apartment building interrupts his plans. They all think he's a new neighbor, and they plan a rather nice surprise for him.

Maybe kids would find this book funny. I don't know. I found it rather morbid, which usually doesn't bother me, but this book rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps because of the weapons? I'm not big on violence or weapons meant to cause violence.

My Rating: 2 Stars

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Great Reads - October 2017

I only have three books to share this month. I've read a couple of other good ones lately, but I'm a little behind on posting reviews.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates.

I loved this feminist, girl-power story. Viv and her friends are decide it's time to fight back against sexism in their school. It's powerful and super fun.

4 Stars

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

John Green gives us an honest portrayal of OCD, a disease he himself struggles with. This story is a quite far-fetched, but the characters are good.

4 Stars

Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms.

This suspense novel is so different. A mass shooting within a zoo vs. a young female being pursued by a man. I couldn't put this book down. It was intense.

4 Stars

What great books have you read lately?

Today's post will be linked up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for her Quick Lit series.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Kid Lit: Priscilla Pack Rat

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Priscilla Pack Rat: Making Room for Friendship by Claudine Crangle

Published on March 13, 2017.

Goodreads Summary:
Priscilla has a knack for finding the best and prettiest things. But when tasked with choosing a birthday gift for her friends, she finds it hard to part with her collection. Priscilla eventually learns that searching for happiness through the accumulation of "stuff" leads to disappointment and loneliness. This story encourages kids to focus on the party rather than the presents! 

My Thoughts:
Wow. Books about mental illness or issues are always eye-opening. I read a lot of YA and adult books dealing with tough issues, but I don't often encounter them in children's books. That's why Magination Press books are so important. They put mental issues into terms that children (and parents) can understand.

In this book, Priscilla the Rat is a packrat. She loves collecting things and stores them all in her small house. When she's invited to a couple of birthday parties, she cannot decide what to give her friends. And she even takes gifts back when she realizes how much people like them. Eventually she skips out on a party because she cannot stand to part with her things.

Priscilla makes a difficult decision at the end of the book, which will surely give parents and children plenty to talk about. This book is suited for ages 5-10. And it includes a parent information section at the end to help answers parent's questions and help them understand whether their child has a problem with hoarding.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!

So I kind of forgot that it was Halloween today because we had trick or treating on Sunday. I thought it would be fun to share Halloween pictures from the last 7 years.

2017 - Charizard (Pokemon)

2016 - Squirtle (Pokemon)

2015 - Donatello (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

2014 - Michelangelo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

2013 - Leonardo (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

2012 - Link (The Legend of Zelda)

Jim made this costume.

You may or may not know that Christopher's middle name is Link.

2011 - Rooster

I made this costume.

2010 - Monkey

What was your favorite Halloween costume? Yours or your child's.

Kid Lit: Max and Bird

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Max and Bird by Ed Vere

Published on June 2, 2016.

Goodreads Summary:
Meet Max - the mighty kitten and New York Times bestseller.

When Max meets Bird, Max thinks he'd like to be friends with Bird. He would also like to chase Bird and maybe eat him as a tasty snack.

But that's not what friendship is all about . . . Is it?

My Thoughts:
This book is super cute. Max wants to eat Bird, but that's not what friends do, so instead Bird asks Max to help him learn to fly. The research it at the library (my favorite part!), and after A LOT of flapping, Bird finally flies. Then Max no longer wants to eat him.

It's a pretty simple story, but it's got a sweet message about encouraging and helping out a friend. This book is perfect for ages 3-6.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Juvenile Pile: Back to School, Back to Chapter Books

Christopher started 2nd grade on September 5th, and like past years, he's supposed to be reading 15-20 minutes every day. As you know, we were struggling to get him to read over the summer, so we were allowing a lot of picture books. Now that school has started, I want him to be reading things that are more on grade level, i.e. chapter books, but he was still reluctant, at least at the start.

We're trying to get back into our school year routines, which has been challenging with all of my traveling for work and Isagenix eating schedule. I'm trying to commit to eating a family dinner each night. And we typically do homework immediately following dinner - sometimes Christopher does his homework while Jim and I finish eating. We're trying to do the required reading time as part of homework time, so he's more awake than at bedtime.

For nights that he has drum lessons (he started in September) or soccer practice that doesn't always work out. What I'm finding works well lately is alternating pages with chapter books. It helps to have me start the book to hook his attention. Or else for longer books, alternating, with me reading more than one page at a time, is helping us get through the books quicker.

Here are some books we have been reading lately.

The Fenway Foul-Up (Ballpark Mysteries #1) by David A. Kelly

I can't remember where I heard about this series, but I thought it might be of interest to Christopher since he's pretty into baseball right now. The story is about two cousins - Kate and Mike - and their trip to Fenway park. The star Red Sox player's bat has been stolen during batting practice, and the kids are determined to solve the mystery. The clues were pretty obvious to me, but Christopher didn't figure it out. I loved the suspense. It helped hold his attention.

4 Stars

Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2) by Jeff Kinney

We watched these movies recently because I was hoping they'd spark Christopher's interest in the books, and it worked. He brought this book home from the school library, and he was determined to finish the whole book. I love the mix of text and pictures. But I don't love Greg's attitude. He's not the nicest kid - even to his friends. Christopher enjoyed reading this book, but I may let him read the others in the series on his own.

3 Stars

Junie B., First Grader: Toothless Wonder (Junie B. Jones #20) by Barbara Park

I read this book to Christopher over the course of a few nights. Junie B. loses her first tooth, and she is afraid to leave it for the Tooth Fairy because she doesn't understand what the Tooth Fairy does with all of the teeth. It made me a little nervous because I thought it would prompt questions about the Tooth Fairy (which we do, but I hate because of the lying), but it didn't. We both found this book fun and funny like others in the series.

4 Stars

Into the Wild (Warriors #1) by Erin Hunter

Christopher picked this book out at Powell's on our vacation in Portland. It's a graphic novel about a cat who used to live in the wild among a warrior clan of cats, but he's since been captured by humans and semi-domesticated. He's trying to find his way back to his clan. He read most of this first book (our book has the first 3 books in it), but I read a couple chapters. He seems to be enjoying the series, and I found it to be a decent read, but not amazing. I like how the humans are called "two-legs." And I like that he's fairly interested in reading this book. We're struggling to find books that hold his attention.

3 Stars

What are your children reading?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Kid Lit: You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

You Can't Win Them All, Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Published on June 6, 2017.

Goodreads Summary:
Everyone loses once in a while. But being a good sport when you lose isn’t always easy—not even for Rainbow Fish. A lighthearted look at accepting loss without losing your sparkle!

My Thoughts:
This picture book deals with a very tough issue for kids: losing gracefully. Rainbow Fish and his friends are playing Hide-and-Seek, but Rainbow Fish cannot find anyone. And then he doesn't hide himself very well. He gets frustrated and quits the game, spoiling everyone's fun. Hi best friend, Red Fin, helps him see the error of his ways, and gets the game back on track.

I could really relate to this book. Losing is hard for my son, and none of us really handle it very well when he gets upset while playing games. I think reading this book together will help open up the dialog about how he handles losing.

This book is relatively short, but it's pretty wordy on each page, so it's best suited for ages 4-8. It deals with a difficult subject in a way that isn't too preachy. I really enjoyed it.

My Rating: 4 Stars