Monday, April 24

Reviews of the Week 4/24

This week, I'm excited to share a new middle-grade book that's really unlike anything I've ever read. It's timely and well-written for our country today. So definitely give that a look-see. And the other two? Well, they're almost a given due to their fantastic authors/illustrators...

Thursday, April 20

Happy Dreamer (Review and Giveaway!)

Continuing with awesome book giveaways here on the blog, I'm lucky enough to share Peter H. Reynolds' newest book! Here's my review and don't forget: enter to win the book and a Doodle Pillowcase below! (Thank you Scholastic for sending me a copy and providing the prize pack!)

Happy Dreamer
Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0545865012
Publisher: Orchard Books
Date of publication: March 28, 2017
Age: 4 - 8 years
Format: ARC from publisher

Themes: imagination, dreaming, individuality

"While the world tells us to sit still, to follow the rules, and to color inside the lines, Happy Dreamer celebrates all those moments in between when the mind and spirit soar and we are free to become our own true dreamer maximus! This empowering picture book reminds children of how much their dreams matter, and while life will have ups and downs, readers should stay true to who they are, to tap into their most creative inner selves, and to never ever forget to dream big!"

Tuesday, April 18

Reviews of the Week 4/17: Earth Day Reads!

Earth Day is coming up! And books are a great way to celebrate, of course (books are always a great way to celebrate). I have a BUNCH of new reads that celebrate all things Earth and wanted to share three reviews here. Lot's of nonfiction/animal/earth-science love today!

Friday, April 14

Reviews of the Week 4/10

This month is full of new books to review and giveaways to share! my schedule is a little in flux. But! There's still plenty to see and get excited about. This week's picks are quite the range—a big contrast between city living and the great outdoors. 

Wednesday, April 12

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea (Review and Giveaway!)

Yes, another giveaway! I'm pleased to share a review and giveaway for quite a special book, a unique story that's perfect for your next tea party. But what's more important? In the spirit of the book's message, the author, Kate Hosford will donate $1 (up to $500) for every retweet (be sure to include @khosford_author!) of a review or interview from her blog tour to First Book. Established in 1992, First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to children in need. So pass along this review!

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea
Written by Kate Hosford, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-1467739047
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Date of publication: March 1, 2017
Age: 5 - 9 years
Format: ARC from publisher

Themes: tea, friendship, internationality, royalty, journey

"Each day when the Queen wakes up, three maids dress her, two more style her hair, and her butler James makes her tea. But when she grows dissatisfied with her brew, the Queen and James set out in search of the perfect cup. With each stop on their hot-air balloon journey, the Queen encounters new friends who expand her horizons—in the kitchen and beyond." (Check out the fun book trailer here!)

Friday, April 7

"First Stories" Board Books Review

While I may not have a regular "reviews of the week" this week, I do want to share a review of three special board books. This series has a particularly timely recent release, what with the success of Disney's new Beauty and the Beast movie...

Tuesday, April 4

Author AND Illustrator Interview: Anna Kang & Christopher Weyant (with a GIVEAWAY!)

Guess what?? I got to interview the amazing creators behind I Am (Not) Scared (which I raved about a couple weeks ago), the third book from Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant featuring the antics of two fuzzy (if contradictory) friends. Basically, this awesome husband-and-wife, author-and-illustrator team are super talented, brilliant, and hilarious. Just check out some of their responses! And, of course, stick around because, at the end, there's a HUGE giveaway to enter that includes their newest book and more!

Friday, March 31

More Funny Book Covers for April Fools

Happy April Fools! I decided to expand on my April Fools display from last year (which was originally inspired by Hafuboti) with five more popular picture book covers that have been specially photoshopped...April Fools style. I love me some funny books!

I've included the Google Drive pdfs in the caption of each of the photos below, so you can download these copies whichever way you please (for free!) and print them off for your own hilarious book display. Kids are sure to love them. Try setting it up where kids have to write down the correct titles, if they know it. Or have them design their own April Fools picture book cover!

Wednesday, March 29

Reviews of the Week 3/27

Extra! Extra! (Hey why did newsboys call out "extra?") Anyway, the point is, I've got extra reviews this week, what with all the extra great stuff being released (oh my gosh, the more I say "extra" the weirder it soundswhat a weird word). After my special spotlight on Dragonwatch on Monday, I've still got three more books to share with you this week. 

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