Monday, March 27

Dragonwatch (Blog Tour and Review)


"A Fablehaven Adventure"!? I mean really, you could just stop now and know that you need to get yourself a copy of this book. The Fablehaven books are Brandon Mull's first series and honestly, one of my favorites. This sequel series, Dragonwatch, is just about the most exciting news ever. And so we're celebrating with a blog tour all over the interwebs all month long! So here's my review of this newest foray into the Fablehaven universe...

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure
Brandon Mull

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-1629722566
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Date of publication: March 14, 2017
Age: Grades 4 and up
Genre: Fantasy
Format: ARC provided by publisher

Themes: dragons, magic, mythical creatures, uprisings, sibling relationships

"In the hidden dragon sanctuary of Wyrmroost, Celebrant the Just, King of the Dragons, plots his revenge. He has long seen the sanctuaries as prisons, and he wants nothing more than to overthrow his captors and return the world to the Age of Dragons, when he and his kind ruled and reigned without borders. The time has come to break free and reclaim his power.

"No one person is capable of stopping Celebrant and his dragon horde. It will take the ancient order of Dragonwatch to gather again if there is any chance of saving the world from destruction. In ancient times, Dragonwatch was a group of wizards, enchantresses, dragon slayers, and others who originally confined the majority of dragons into sanctuaries. But nearly all of the original Dragonwatch members are gone, and so the wizard Agad reaches out to Grandpa Sorenson for help.

"As Kendra and Seth confront this new danger, they must draw upon all their skills, talents, and knowledge as only they have the ability to function together as a powerful dragon tamer. Together they must battle against forces with superior supernatural powers and breathtaking magical abilities.

"How will the epic dragon showdown end? Will dragons overthrow humans and change the world as we know it?"

Oh, Kendra and Seth, you are exactly as I remembered you. Despite the last book of the Fablehaven series being released seven years ago (seven years??? holy cow), this continued where that story left off with hardly a hop, skip, or jump. It was seamless. In fact, that may be my only (small, very small) criticism. A lot of the character development and histories are dependent on the fact that you have read Fablehaven. That is not to say that this isn't a fantastic story by itself, but that the characters and setting are somewhat flat unless you've read the other books. I had trouble remembering where Kendra and Seth's parents were, who many of their old friends were, and many other small details in their history.

By depending on Fablehaven to provide the character depth, however, Mull is allowed to jump into the action of the series right away. Which he does. This new plot is very exciting and a definite success when it comes to the dreaded realm of "sequels." It doesn't feel like it's trying to rewrite what happened in Fablehaven, nor does to fall flat in relation to it; the new problem that has arisen with the dragons feels justified. The characters (while they do have quite the history in the other books) do still get the chance to grow and develop some more in this one. New characters are introduced and easy to love. And man, it's all so exciting. Hint: the cover gives one scene particular justice. It's just that epic.

In the end, it's pretty easy for me to recommend this book. Mull's writing is to the point and very much action-driven; basically, kids will love it. Kids who loved the Fablehaven books will love it even more. This is, no question, a must have. And if you haven't read the Fablehaven books and are hesitant to read this? Easy, just read the Fablehaven books because they're freakin' amazing, too, okay??

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Thursday, March 23

National Poetry Month Library Display

Ages ago, when working at my old library, I found this image on Pinterest:


As far as I can tell, the image came from Greenville County Library. So I'm giving them the credit, though I will admit that it could've come from anywhere (oh the joys of Pinterest).

But the point is: I got out a poster board and copied it exactly to hang as a display in my library. Because I think it is hilarious. And it worked so well to promote our (somewhat rarely used) poetry section. In fact, I've got a list of some of my favorite poetry books below.

Monday, March 20

Reviews of the Week 3/20: Picture Book Edition

There's a lot of great picture books being published of late--it's hard to keep up! But here are another three that were pretty impressive in their illustrations and ideas, even though each of them are very different. See for yourself!


Friday, March 17

Donuts Storytime

Donut? Doughnut? Donut. In case you're wondering, National Donut Day is the first Friday in June. You know, in case you need a storytime idea or some donut activity ideas. This storytime is designed for preschool-aged kids.

Tuesday, March 14

Reviews of the Week 3/13

Anyone else celebrate Pi Day? I've got pi on the brain. Okay, mostly pie. Especially with pie making a repeated appearance in a reviewed book this week: The Warden's Daughter. Unfortunately, the pie references might've been the only part I really like in that book...


Friday, March 10

11 Nonfiction Picture Book Biographies About Amazing Women

Did you know March is National Women's History Month? And that we celebrated International Women's Day just two short days ago? So it only made sense to start gathering a list of some of my favorite women's biographies. In this case, I picked picture book biographies. I love this format because it makes biographies so much more fun for kids (okay, and for me, too). While I realize you're not always going to get every last fact about a person's life, picture book biographies do allow the sharing of inspiring messages—and, of course, gorgeous illustrations that really drive the emotional aspects of a person's story.


Here's my eleven favorite women's biographies for kids. Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below!

Monday, March 6

Reviews of the Week 3/6

Hello and happy Monday! My reviews this week have quite the spread between topic and rating. That's all I have to say, really, because...it's Monday. 


Friday, March 3

Flannel Friday: Seashells!

After coming up with an underwater-themed storytime this week, I wanted to share the (free) printable flannel I made for Flannel Friday!


Okay, you're right, since it's printable, it's not really flannel (or felt for that matter). But hey! It works. Just stick a bit of Velcro or flannel on the back of the paper. The shells (vector images) can be found here: red seashell, yellow seashell, green seashell, orange seashell, white seashell. And of course, the crab is printable, too. 

So with this flannel, we played the ever favorite hide-and-seek game (a Little Mouse variation) with the crab hiding behind one of the shells. Then I let the kids guess which color shell we should look under and then we say this rhyme:

Little crab, little crab, where do you hide?
Are you in the red* seashell? Let's peek inside!

*Or whichever color. This is also a fun rhyme to practice sign language! You can do signs for the colors, "crab," and "seashell." The kids get ridiculously excited about finding the little guy. Hope you have fun with it, too!
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Kathryn at Fun with Friends at Storytime is hosting the Flannel Friday roundup today. You can also check out the FF website, Pinterest, or Facebook! Or use #flannelstorytime on Twitter!

Wednesday, March 1

Underwater Storytime

This storytime is targeted at preschool-aged kids at the library (but works for school and at-home activities, too!)

Monday, February 27

Reviews of the Week 2/27

Ah, Monday again. How was your weekend? I'm gonna brag about mine for a bit because, first of all, I got a new t-shirt (courtesy of GiftedShirts--thanks!) that is not only so incredibly comfy that I literally wore it all weekend...but it's book-themed, too. The "My Weekend is All Booked" is basically my new favorite, I'm not even kidding. And it just makes so much sense because I did, in fact, spend all weekend reading the most amazing book. Like, I'm still reeling from it. Yep, I've got a new 5-star review today. So. Good.