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Mailbox Monday

August 10, 2015

Mailbox Monday August 10

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.   The year is flying by – I’m still trying to figure out how it got to be August already.  Vance is visiting a college roommate so I’ll be working the day shift at the store and might not be around that much this week.  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Tuesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: I Funny

August 7, 2015

I Funny

Middle schooler Jamie Grimm is wheelchair bound and lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin.  He’s had plenty of rough spots in his life already but doesn’t let them define him – he deals with the tough times in life with humor.  He works hard at being funny and his humor is mostly well received so he’s decided to enter the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Contest.  Now he has to make sure nerves don’t get the best of him.

I thought I Funny: A Middle School Story by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein was just terrific.  It handles serious subjects in a humorous manner that will appeal to young readers.  They’ll laugh out loud and reflect as they read this book.

On the surface, Jamie is a funny, happy-go-lucky guy but readers get the sense that there’s more to this comical kid.  His story comes out in bits and pieces and readers learn that he’s using humor as a coping mechanism.   I laughed and teared up just a little as a rooted for Jamie’s success.

Jamie is such a terrific character.  He’s confined to a wheelchair but he doesn’t let them get him down.  It’s refreshing to see a disabled character in a middle grade book that isn’t about his disability.  He does have a tragedy in his past to deal with and his humor helps him do just that.  Kids will enjoy the humor and admire Jamie’s strong character.  I Funny is the first book in a series that I can’t wait to continue.  I recommend this book to middle school readers on up!

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

 

Review: No Better Friend

August 6, 2015

No Better Friend

Judy was a purebred pointer who was adopted by the men of the HMS Gnat as a mascot in 1936.  The Gnat was a gunboat assigned to protect shipping lanes and repel pirates in China’s Yangtze River.   Several years later, Judy transferred to the Grasshopper with some of the crew – when that ship was sunk, stranding Judy and many of the men on a deserted island, Judy helped everyone survive by finding a source of fresh water.  The party tried to find a way off the island but they were too late and were captured by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner of war camp.  It was at Camp Gloegoer that Judy met Frank Williams, and the two became faithful friends for life.

No Better Friend by Robert Weintraub is the amazing story of Judy, the only dog to be a prisoner of war during World War II.  No one has to be told what life was like in a prisoner of war camp but imagine what it was like if you were trying to keep yourself and a dog alive through the ordeal.  Judy was one smart dog with an amazing instinct for survival.  Williams aided her in her survival but she returned the favor.

I have to admit that No Better Friend started out slow for me as Weintraub filled in Judy’s history and background on the war but once the action started, I was fully engaged and rooting for Judy.  I held my breath through the tense moments and marveled at the tenacity of this marvelous dog.  I found this little known story from World War II fascinating and recommend it to history buffs and animal lovers.

Review copy provided by Little, Brown. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Wondrous Words Wednesday

August 5, 2015

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered or spotlight words you love.  Feel free to get creative!   If you want to play along, grab the button, write a post and come back and add your link to Mr. Linky!

My first word came from The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank.

1. impasto – “And she laid the guilt on me with a thick impasto.”

Impasto is the thick application of a pigment to a canvas or panel in painting.

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My second word came from Check, Please? by Francesca Serritella, one of the essays in Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella.

2. lede – “This is not just burying the lede, this is dipping its feet in concrete and dumping it off the Brooklyn Bridge.”

I’ve heard this word before but never knew it was spelled this way.  Lede means the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story.

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What words do you want to celebrate today?

Review: Is This Tomorrow

August 4, 2015

Is This Tomorrow

After her divorce, Ava Lark and her twelve year old son, Lewis, move to a Boston suburb.  They’re the only Jewish family in the neighborhood and don’t quite fit in.  Lewis becomes close friends with siblings Jimmy and Rose, the only other kids in the neighborhood without a father.  When Jimmy goes missing, the neighborhood is changed and Ava’s life is scrutinized like never before.  As the years pass by, lives return to normal for everyone but those closest to Jimmy. When Rose and Lewis reunite years later, they finally learn what happened to Jimmy.

I was hooked on Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt from the very start.  Leavitt nails the time period of the 1950s with its close knit neighborhoods and prejudices.  With it’s gripping storyline and well drawn characters, I found the book hard to put down.  The tension was palpable so I had to know what was going to happen next.  In case you can’t tell, I thought this was book fantastic!

The audio version of Is This Tomorrow is narrated by Xe Sands and she does a marvelous job, as usual – she has quickly become one of my favorite narrators.  It’s on 10 CDs and lasts approximately 11 and a half hours.

My friend Julie sent me this book.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

Mailbox Monday

August 3, 2015

Mailbox Monday August 3

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued, and now hosted on its own blog.    August is here which means we might get some relief from this heat soon.  We’re already noticing a little difference in the air during our morning walks.  I’m not ready for summer to end yet but would like it to be a little less intense!  I found these books in my mailbox last week:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

 

What did you find in your mailbox last week?

Review: Friendshape

July 31, 2015

Friendshape

Friendshape is an adorable picture book about friendship, obviously, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.  The friends in this book are different shapes and colors but they play fair, stand behind each other, and make each other feel at home.  They stick together and support each other, most of the time, because, even the best of friends quarrel every once in a while.

The story in Friendshape is simple but the message is loud and clear:

Friends are a gift, because they fill our lives with joy and love.

I thought using shapes was very clever and loved the simple, eye-catching illustrations.  Parents can talk about shapes and colors as well as friendship and acceptance as they read this delightful book!  I recommend this book and will definitely be giving it for baby gifts.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

Review copy provided by Scholastic. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

 

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