Friday, April 29

May the Fourth Be With You - Library Display

Star Wars is just getting better and better. And thus, more and more popular! There's so many great books and such to promote. And guess what's coming up next week? Yep, May 4th!

So it only made sense to make a free printable Star Wars library display! The idea originated with this share from Ridgewood Public Library. I liked it so much, I thought I'd make my own to share.

Thursday, April 28

The Screaming Statue

Hey guess what? I have a guest-post on the Cybils blog today--a truly terrifying book list!

The Screaming Statue
(Curiosity House #2)
Lauren Oliver & H. C. Chester

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0062270849
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date of publication: May 3, 2015
Age: Grades 4 - 6
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Themes: murder, friendship, curiosities & marvels, orphans, New York City, dime museum

Pippa, Sam, Thomas, and Max are happy to be out of harm’s way now that the notorious villain Nicholas Rattigan is halfway across the country in Chicago. But unfortunately their home, Dumfreys’s Dime Museum of Freaks, Oddities, and Wonders, is in danger of closing its doors forever. But their troubles only get worse when the four friends discover that their beloved friend, famous sculptor Siegfried Eckleberger, is murdered. As they investigate, they find clues that his death may be tied to the murder of a rich and powerful New York heiress, as well as to their own pasts.

Yep, these four awesomely extraordinary kids are at it again. The second book in the series added some further depth to the characters, keeping the reader invested in the story. For instance, turns out Max does have some heart. We continue to delve into their mysterious past and Rattigan is as terrifying as ever. Which, I'm not going to lie, (spoiler alert!) I was a bit upset at the end because of him—a good upset, you know, like a I-need-the-next-book-now-please upset.

Which brings me to the story itself. This one was a bit tidier than the first—not so many murders and clues thrown at you—but I sure got depressed by the continuing tragic saga of whether or not Dumfrey's museum would have the funds to survive. Plus the drama between the all created a rather stressful subplot. A minor, personal-preference complaint, really. Overall, a fantastic follow up to book one. I'd definitely recommend the series thus far.

And guess what? I'm hosting a giveaway of both books in the series! Just check out yesterday's post, the Curiosity House Blog Tour!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Wednesday, April 27

Curiosity House Blog Tour

Welcome to this here stop of the Curiosity House Blog Tour!

Remember when I reviewed The Shrunken Head, book 1 of the Curiousity House series? Yeah, well, guess what, you guys: Curiosity House book 2, The Screaming Statue, comes out in just ONE WEEK—awesomeness! And how do we celebrate? Well, I got super lucky and was invited to not only interview the two authors, Lauren Oliver and H.C. Chester, but one of Dumfrey's Dime Museum's residents. Yep, the ever gruff and tough, but so lovable (ahem, don't tell him I said that), Danny the Dwarf.

AND (said in my best game-show-host voice) I've got another sweet giveaway! See below for details!

Okay, okay, first up, let's hear from the authors about their work...

Tuesday, April 26

Twenty Yawns

Twenty Yawns
Written by Jane Smiley, illustrated by Lauren Castillo

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-1477826355
Publisher: Two Lions
Date of publication: April 1, 2016
Age: 3 - 7 years

Themes: bedtime, family, beach, stuffed animals

Lucy and her parents spend a long, fun day at the beach. They all yawn as they head home for an early bedtime. As her mom reads a bedtime story, Lucy drifts off. But later, she awakens in a dark, still room, and everything looks mysterious. How will she ever get back to sleep?

Yes, there are actually twenty yawns to count in this book. Which, I mean, is a nice added bonus to a bedtime book—it's a counting book, too! And yes, the story will in fact make you sleepy; it's nearly impossible to read about twenty different yawns without you yourself yawning. Also, the illustrations are perfect—all soft and cuddly with Castillo's signature thick outlines and softly textured colors. Really, forget counting sheep, use this book to get your child to sleep!

Now I didn't give it quite as many stars because the story itself is not my favorite. While Smiley is a very well-respected novelist and writer, this is her first picture book, and that shows. Referring to moonlight as "a silver veil," some of the vocabulary choices, and lots of details add a bit of a too-mature voice to the story. This, of course, is personal opinion and I'm sure there will be plenty who appreciate this fact. Overall, like I said, it's still a good bedtime story and I'd recommend it.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Monday, April 25

The Key to Extraordinary

The Key to Extraordinary
Natalie Lloyd

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-0545552745
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of publication: February 23, 2016
Age: Grades 3 - 7
Genre: Mysteriously spooky fantastical historical realistic fiction (yeah)

Themes: death, family, legacy, small towns, treasure hunt/mystery, cemeteries, dreams

The women in Emma's family are special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians—every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream. For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it took to fulfill her destiny. But when her dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task—finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors...including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

Yes, I did enjoy Lloyd's other book, A Snicker of Magic. So I don't have anything against Lloyd's extra sentimental, poetic style. There's a lot of feel goods when you read Lloyd. But this book had a lot of plot jumps. Convenient gaps. Discrepancies and magical loopholes. Also, there was just plain a lot in the story (see my classification for the genre). You've got death, bullying, trauma, and then ghosts, magic, prophesying dreams, and plus treasure hunting, historical anecdotes, underlying motivational sentiments...and it adds up.

Is it a cute, fun mystery that kids can enjoy? Yep. Kids won't care as much about the jumpy plot and will simply enjoy the adventures. Plus, like I said, lots of feel-goods. Is it a Newbery contender? No. But I can still recommend it.

Good readalike for the Tupelo Landing series, especially Ghosts of Tupelo Landing.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Friday, April 22

Animal Planet: Ocean and Polar Animals Books (with Giveaway!)

Update: Congrats Amy on winning these two books!

Happy Earth Day! Today I'm celebrating Earth with two awesome new books from Animal Planetand you can celebrate with me by entering the giveaway for the books! See below...

ISBN: 978-1618931627ISBN: 978-1618931610

Animal Planet: Ocean Animals & Polar Animals
Laaren Brown

My rating: ★★★★

Publisher: Animal Planet
Date of publication: March 1, 2016
Age: Grades 1 - 4
Genre: Nonfiction

Themes: marine animals, polar animals, habitats, behavior, food, survival,

There are nearly 500 animal photos in these two books combined—of sharks, whales, clown fish, jelly fish, dolphins, and more in Ocean Animals and of penguins, polar bears, sea lions, walruses, reindeer, snowy owls (!) and more in Polar Animals. These books are designed to be a fun, habitat-by-habitat guide that provides kids in the first years of schooling with the perfect bite-sized view of their favorite ocean- or polar-dwelling animals.

These books are nonfiction at its finest—jam-packed with fun animal facts (why yes, a polar bear can smell its food up to 20 miles away!), stunning photos (including gorgeous, full two-page spreads), and interesting human tie-ins (I want to be a baby sea otter swim coach when I grow up). All of this together makes for an engaging, educational experience for all ages of readers, but especially kids.

There isn't any real sense of organization or order to the books, moving randomly from animal to animal, and different habitats and behaviors. But this does make it fun for kids to browse as they please; there's no need to go from front-to-back, page-by-page. And both books have useful glossaries and indexes to find things specifically, if needs be. There are a few facts and "Just Like Me!" captions that are a little cheesy, but hey—kids will love them. So yes, totally recommended. In fact, I'm giving a copy of these books away for free! Enter below!

Find Ocean Animals at your library or on Amazon

Find Polar Animals at your library or on Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 21

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale
Kate DiCamillo

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-0763681173
Publisher: Candlewick
Date of publication: April 12, 2016
Age: Grades 5 - 8
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: family, friendship, beauty contests, death, courage

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship—and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

I hope I not booed off of the internet for not loving this book. I mean, goodness knows I loved Flora & Ulysses, so it's nothing against DiCamillo's style. I just wasn't pulled in with this one. I wasn't invested in the characters. It's still deep and intriguing and (I'm sure) a Newbery contender, but I, myself, felt rather "meh" after the whole thing.

Here's some specifics: I felt that the book and the individual chapters were too brief. And yet, the story itself was rather slow—the friendship between the main characters and the move to resolve the various problems took a while. So it was left a big lacking. The ending, however, was quite fantastic and had me satisfied. The characters, as I mentioned, were not my favorite, though they were quite the characters—each with their own set of problems and individualities (I did admire Louisiana more than I thought I would). In the end, I'd recommend it to the DiCamillo fan, sure, but I'm not rushing to put it into people's hands.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Tuesday, April 19

CiCi Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker

Happy book birthday! While I'm posting just the review now, look forward to an author interview and more fun stuff to come as the CiCi Reno blog tour commences!

CiCi Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchmaker
(Yoga Girls #1)
Kristina Springer

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1454917519
Publisher: Sterling
Date of publication: April 19, 2016
Age: Grades 5 - 8
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: Twitter, dating, friendship, attraction, Cyrano de Bergerac, yoga

Middle school is a test, but Cici Reno has all the answers. She's the go-to girl for advice. She's cool, she's funny, and she's enlightened (thanks to yoga classes at her mom's studio). So when her pretty BFF, Aggie, is too shy to speak to the boy she's crushing on, Cici goes online and does the talking for her. The only problem is, Cici starts to fall for the guy herself! For the first time in her life. she doesn't have a clue what to do.

Cyrano de Bergerac is classic and I have to say: I rather enjoyed this retelling of it. It's adorable, funny in all the right places, and cleverly translated for the middle-school setting. CiCi Reno is an awesome, down-to-earth character and I enjoyed reading from her perspective. It was refreshing, actually, in the world of middle-school dating books. Her voice, at times, might be a little too mature ("Really? A seventh grader would say that?") but, seeing as she's the go-to advice-giver, I would hope she would be. Plus, it makes for a nice role model for middle-school readers. And! Every chapter starts with a yoga pose from CiCi. Love me some yoga. The other characters? They're not super in-depth developed, but help the story move along in an amusing, fun way.

As for the story, I don't know if using Twitter as CiCi's main contact point with Drew will resonate with middle-schoolers, and it might date the book pretty quickly, but it did the job. Overall, it's a light, fun read that I found really refreshing. Recommended for sure.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Monday, April 18

Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?
Written and illustrated by Dan Santat

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-0316199995
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Date of publication: April 12, 2016
Age: 4 years and up

Themes: time, road trip, family, imagination

Let's face it: everyone knows that car rides can be boring. And when things get boring, time slows down. In this book, a boy feels time slowing down so much that it starts going backward—into the time of pirates! Of princesses! Of dinosaurs! The boy was just trying to get to his grandmother's birthday party, but instead he's traveling through Ancient Egypt and rubbing shoulders with Ben Franklin. But when time flies, who knows where—or when—he'll end up.

It's no secret that I have a serious love for Dan Santat (see here, here, here, and here if you don't believe me) and so I'm, like, ridiculously excited about this book. He's an illustrating genius (I mean, obviously, Caldecott, hello) and this. This did not disappoint! The details! The layout! GAH! (*Ahem* okay, I'll tone it down). Okay, more specifically, the layout is fun and interactive, including some turning of the book upside down and a fun, QR-code-speaking robot. The many comic-style panels packs A LOT into this book and there's enough detail to keep you looking at the pictures for a good while. My favorite detail: Mom and Dad's changing wardrobe with each historical era.

So why not a full five stars? It's a small complaint really, but with so many panels of illustration, the often.....broken up....and....all over.....the page. Which makes it slightly tougher to read. The story is really told through the pictures—I didn't feel like the text added to it. So yes, it could be read aloud, but it is just as fun for non-reading kids to pore over the pictures and enjoy. Overall, I'd read this in storytime and recommend it in a heartbeat. A wonderful follow-up to Beekle.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Friday, April 15

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions
Written by Tracey Hecht, illustrated by Kate Liebman

My rating: ★★½

ISBN: 978-1944020002
Publisher: Fabled Films Press
Date of publication: April 19, 2016
Age: Grades 2 - 6
Genre: Mystery

Themes: nocturnal animals, abductions, friendship, sports

Dawn, a serious fox, Tobin, a sweet pangolin, and Bismark, a loud-mouthed, pint-sized sugar glider—three unlikely friends who form a brigade of the night after a random encounter with a blood-thirsty snake. It's just in time because something is threatening their night realm. Animals are disappearing without a trace. Together with the help of a wombat, a band of coyotes and many others, Dawn, Tobin and Bismark journey to the depths of the earth in a wacky, high stakes game that will determine all of their survival. (see the book trailer here)

Points for creativity, that's for sure. I will say that I have never read a book where the main characters include a pangolin and sugar glider. Actually, there's all sorts of fascinating creatures that the reader is introduced to and little tidbits of actual animal facts. It's quite informational, actually...up to a point. The food chain seems to be a bit ignored, among several other fictional elements created to make the story work. I wouldn't normally mind a kiwi bird being used as a hockey stick in a story, but the juxtaposition with actual facts make the whole story come off a bit farfetched. This is furthered by a lot of convenient plot points to make the story work. For instance, the way the three main animals become friends in the first place happens all in about one page with little concern for depth or believability. The characters themselves are quite flat, but characters indeed. Tobin is delightfully sweet, which is a nice balance to the rather annoying Bismark (I wish he'd stick with the random vocabulary just one foreign language). Altogether, it's just...cute.

So while there are a lot of liberties taken, I was still engrossed with the climax (even though it was not at all what I would've expected). The mystery itself was fun and unpredictable. It's definitely targeted towards the juvenile audience because it is, itself, rather juvenile. It's cutesy. Which, I don't mind recommending, but I don't know that I'll be anxious to read the sequels. If you are interested in a fun, random story featuring animals that don't usually get the spotlight, give this a try.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

(I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review)

Wednesday, April 13

Flannel Friday: Ice Cream Colors

No matter the time of year or season or—let's be honest—the time of day, it's ALWAYS a good time for ice cream! So I made this flannel (loosely inspired by this rhyme from Pre-K Fun) to not only practice colors and rhymes, but celebrate the most delicious of frozen treats.

Tuesday, April 12

Horrible Bear!

Congratulations Bethany N., the winner of the Sports Illustrated Kids book giveaway!

Horrible Bear!
Written by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0316282833
Publisher: Little, Brown
Date of publication: April 5, 2016
Age: 3 - 6 years

Themes: anger, apologies, bears, friendship

Bear didn't mean to break a little girl's kite, but she's upset anyway—upset enough to shout "HORRIBLE BEAR!" Bear is indignant. He doesn't think he's horrible! Then Bear gets a truly Horrible Bear idea. What will he do next? As Bear prepares to live up to his formerly undeserved reputation, the girl makes a mistake of her own, and realizes that maybe—just maybe—Bear isn't as horrible as she had thought.

Another great book to address anger and how to deal with it. Plus, Dyckman even uses the word "indignant." I mean, not only are kids learning one way to deal with their anger, but getting a vocabulary lesson, too! The story (and the rest of the text) is pretty simple, but I appreciated the use of speech bubbles and varied typography to express the strong emotions of the story. Kids will have fun reading this, or having it be read to them. And OHora's illustrations are adorable, and I am a fan once again. It's childlike in its simplicity, but still captures emotions and textures. I don't know that this is an award winning, ground-breaking sort of book, but it's another good one to add to your read pile. Great for storytime, too (I'm adding it to my kite storytime repertoire).

It's a good readalike to OHora's other book No Fits, Nilson! (actually, I'd just add it to my temper tantrum book list) and goes well with the many bear books being released of late.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Monday, April 11

Some Kind of Courage

Some Kind of Courage
Dan Gemeinhart

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-0545665773
Publisher: Scholastic
Date of publication: January 26, 2016
Age: Grades 4 - 8
Genre: Historical Fiction

Themes: horses, friendship, race, family, home, Old West, journey

Joseph Johnson has lost just about everyone he's ever loved. He lost his pa in an accident. He lost his ma and his little sister to sickness. And now, he's lost his pony-fast, fierce, beautiful Sarah, taken away by a man who had no right to take her. Joseph can sure enough get her back, though. The odds are stacked against him, but he isn't about to give up. He will face down deadly animals, dangerous men, and the fury of nature itself on his quest to be reunited with the only family he has left. Because Joseph Johnson may have lost just about everything. But he hasn't lost hope. And he hasn't lost the fire in his belly that says he's getting his Sarah back-no matter what.

So I enjoyed The Honest Truth well enough, and this here was another action-packed adventure filled with emotion—Joseph's connection to his horse is truly heart-wrenching, and that's not coming from an animal person. Each chapter was packed with pitfalls and scares, yet Joseph never loses hope. It's rather beautiful.

But. (Yes, there's a "but.") The story just went from disaster to disaster where Joseph, the I've-never-had-a-selfish-thought, too-altruistic kid saves the day again and again. It's a fine juvenile chapter book because it is just that: rather juvenile. Happiness prevails. Friends show up when they're supposed to. The (spoiler alerts!) bear-ravaged leg heals without a second thought, the baby is born without a trouble, the canoe survives the waterfall (end spoiler) and each trial is met with success again and again. I'm starting to sound a bit cynical (my apologies, really) but the story came off a bit too repetitive in its plot points and lacked needed depth. That was a long paragraph for a small complaint because, really, it is exciting and fun to read!

The point is, I don't find it on the level of Newbery. But I do find it a perfectly enjoyable read that I'll recommend to young readers who are looking for some fun Wild West adventure. Or who enjoyed The Honest Truth. They're very similar, after all. See for yourself!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Friday, April 8

100 Quotes from 100-Year-Old Author Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is quite literally a living legend. The author of more than 40 books (starting with Henry Huggins all the way back in 1950 and continuing to Ramona's World in 1999) and having sold more than 90 million copies (they're still in print!), she's a pioneer in children's literature. And do you know what next week is?? Her 100th birthday! YAY!!

Yamhill Valley News Register

Yep, April 12, 2016, Beverly Cleary will turn 100. And, to celebrate, I thought I'd collect 100 quotes from her various interviews over the years and post them here. I've included the links back to the original interviews (which I recommend reading/watching!) and, if you don't have time to read them all, highlighted a few of my favorite. Basically, I've found her to be remarkably funny, witty, and humble. Happy Birthday, Ms. Cleary!! (Oh, and don't forget about D.E.A.R.!)

Thursday, April 7

Ling & Ting Share a Birthday

Ling & Ting Share a Birthday
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-0316184045
Publisher: LB Kids
Date of publication: September 10, 2013
Age: Grades K - 3
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Themes: twins, sibling relationships, birthday, sharing

Ling & Ting are twins. They share a birthday. They bake cakes, and they make birthday wishes. But if one cake comes out wrong or a candle is missed during the wish, they also help each other out. They tell stories and wrap gifts that they picked out for each other. But what's more, they also share a birthday secret!

So I'll admit I was curious to read more Ling & Ting books after selecting one as the winner in the Cybils this year. But I think that one may have been Lin's best because this one didn't quite kick out the giggles or build my appreciation nearly as much.

The format of the books in the series remains the same: The text is simple and straightforward, with some good use of phonetics (Ling & Ting and Ming & Sing and more). The book is broken up into different chapters, or stories, to make for easier reading as well. The story is relatively engaging with cute little mishaps and adorable sibling behavior. So while it's still great for the beginning reader, I didn't love it. I missed the clever punny humor in Twice as Silly and thought this book didn't wrap up as well with the last chapter/story. I won't necessarily go running for more Ling & Ting, but I'd still recommend it as a good chapter book stepping stone.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Tuesday, April 5

Grandma is a Slowpoke

Grandma is a Slowpoke
Written by Janet Halfmann, illustrated by Michele Coxon

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-1595727107
Publisher: Star Bright Books
Date of publication: February 15, 2016
Age: 3 - 7 years

Themes: grandma, grandchild, animals, nature, appreciation

A little girl is happy to go on a walk with Grandma, but Grandma is such a slowpoke! Why is Grandma taking her time to walk through the woods? Because she stops to watch, listen, and point out the different birds and animals along the way. At the end of the walk, though, guess who is the one to slow down and notice what is to be found along the river?

This. This was adorable. I admit, I was a bit deterred by the title (like I bet you are now). I mean, calling a Grandma a slowpoke? Mean! But in this book? Well, it becomes rather endearing. The story is just right with a good balance between educational tidbits and bonding between grandparent and grandchild. It'd make a great readaloud, too; the pacing and pattern of text is perfect for storytime or lap time. Obviously, it begs to be read by a grandparent to their grandkids!

The illustrations are vivid and detailed, especially with the animals—very realistic. However, that same level of realism didn't apply to the people portrayed in the story. Normally, it wouldn't bother me to have artistically creative characters, but juxtaposed with such realistic makes the oddity of the people that much more apparent. A small complaint, really. The story more than makes up for it.

So yes, give this one a try! Invite Grandma over and then take a walk after you read it. It's too cute not to.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

(I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review)

Monday, April 4

Sports Illustrated Kids: Baseball Books (with Giveaway!)

Happy MLB Opening Day! I thought I'd kick the season off right with a review and giveaway of two awesome baseball books from Sports Illustrated Kidsenter the giveaway below!

My First Book of Baseball
(A Rookie Book)
Written by Sports Illustrated Editors, illustrated by Bill Hinds

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-1618931672
Publisher: Time Inc.
Date of publication: April 5, 2016
Age: 4 - 8 years
Genre: Nonfiction

Looking for a simple introduction to baseball? This book coaches young kids through the game of baseball with a visual retelling of an actual MLB game—from the first pitch to the game winning hit! Strikes, outs, steals, foul balls, home runs and more are all explained with actual Sports Illustrated photos and comical illustrated help. Who's going to win??

This is a great book for the early, young readers who are just learning the basics of baseball. The format of having the reader go through an actual game is genius; I could really picture this being used in conjunction with a child's first baseball game. It's fun to readaloud adult to child, or—thanks to simple words and big lettering—a book kids can tackle on their own.

Now the book is truly basic, touching on vocabulary like striking out, home runs, and the 7th inning stretch. It doesn't get into stuff like batting averages or actual players/teams. It's possible that a child may outgrow it quickly. Also, I do wish that it listed all of the terms learned throughout the book at the end, as a review or glossary. And sometimes, the added thought bubbles, though funny, could be distracting (it's a trade off). Still! For your basic introduction, this book is fun, engaging, and appealing. Definitely recommended!

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Baseball: Then to WOW!
Written by Sports Illustrated Editors, illustrations by Andrew Roberts

My rating: ★★★★½

ISBN: 978-1618931429
Publisher: Time Inc.
Date of Publication: April 5, 2016
Age: Grades 3 - 8
Genre: Nonfiction

How did baseball evolve to what it is today? Using MLB action photographs, illustrations, stories, and trivia, this book is a journey through time both for baseball fans and those new to the game. Kids will learn about equipment changes, evolution of game strategy, players throughout history, and more. A fun-filled section of the book explores everything fan culture—from the perfect ballpark frank to the importance of baseball cards and video games in popularizing the sport.

I may preface this review by saying I LOVE sports...but not so much baseball. I don't know a whole lot past enjoying the occasional Baby Ruth candy bar (turns out, as this book explains, it's not referring to Babe Ruth. Bummer). The point is...I still really enjoyed this book. Yeah, no joke! There's so much information packed in here—from the best players and their specialties to managers who yell too much to peanuts and Cracker Jacks—but it was organized and displayed in a really engaging and fun way. Now I can name all sorts of teams and players! [pats self on the back]

Also, I LOVED this illustrations. They were not distracting or out of place, but interlaced with actual photos and facts quite seemlessly; it's still fact-filled and informative, but appealing to kids. Definitely well done.

Now, do I know the difference between RBIs and batting averages and whatever other stats? No. I do wish that this book had taken the opportunity to do some definitions (a little sidebar or glossary or something). But hey, maybe kids will take that opportunity to do some more research on their own. Basically, this is a fantastic read or reference book to have, baseball lover or not. Definitely check it out.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

These books sound pretty dang awesome, huh? Then enter to win both of them! No purchase necessary and all that jazz. Just click below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 1

A Laughing Librarian - Vol. 2

Yep, it's April Fools. And instead of doing some sort of cheesy prank or fake pregnancy announcement, I thought I'd give you a laugh through another installment of hilarious book/library memes. Yes, it's true, Volume 1 of Laughing Librarian was a hit, so it only makes sense to do it all again. Plus, it's Friday. So let's celebrate surviving another week!

from simplebooklet

Anybody else feel this way?? So. Much. Scrap. Paper! ...Ahem, moving on: