Thursday, February 28, 2013

Not That Tutu! Michelle Sinclair Colman

Here's a little girl that has an obsession with her pink tutu...

Robin Corey Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for it.

Taylor loves her tutu so much she wears it everywhere and all the time, even to bed.  Her family is used to her quirks, so they accept this even if they say:  "Not again!"

I had a pair of green corduroy pants I wore like that.  Not to bed, but to everywhere else except church.  Mom wouldn't let me wear pants to church.  Did you have a favorite piece of clothing you wore to death?

Taylor keeps the tutu on until the charm wears off, then she reappears with a new obsession:  bunny slippers!  Oh my...

Happy reading.  

The Little Recycler by Jan Gerardi

This is another Teenie Greenies book.  Here is a very easy way to teach your young one about recycling.

Random House sent me a copy of this board for review (thank you).  It has been published.  Check with your local bookstore to find a copy.

This board book with pop-ups let you search out different ways to recycle everything, even your old clothes.  The key ingredients are sunshine, clean air, fresh food, good books, and love.  

I recycle, don't you?  Let's teach a new generation how to.

Happy reading. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Knit Your Bit by Deborah Hopkinson

World War I was when a call was put out for knitted goods for the soldiers.  The amazing part of that is you can still do it. can get you started if you'd like to participate.  You might also check with your local yarn shop for info on other opportunities.

Provato Marketing and the author sent me a copy of this book to read for review (thank you).  It is available for sale here:  Knit Your Bit

Steven Guarnaccia is the illustrator for this book and he does an excellent job showing the hair styles and clothing of that time period.  You feel like you're really back there in that year.

The author takes this simple quest to knit for the soldiers and makes it into a contest between boys and girls.  You see, Mikey has a big mouth and took a challenge from the girls and then hooked the other boys into participating.  (Some boys are like that.)

If you have any doubts about whether this story is based on authenticity, the actual contest winners of long ago were:  four blind women, two men, an eighty-three-year-old woman and four children under the age of 11!

Since I'm from Washington, I especially liked the info the author shows at the back of the book as reference material.  If you've ever heard any of the old songs, you'll be singing along with this poem from the Seattle School Bulletin in May 1918:

Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm;
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don't delay, make it pay.
Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o'er the sea,
"Make a sweater, please, for me."
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there;
It's a sock or a sweater, or even better,
to do your bit and knit a square.

Here's a history lesson in a picture book that I never learned about while growing up.  Why not share it with your little one?

Thanks again to Deborah Hopkinson for appearing, for other stops on her Knit Your Bit Blog Tour please check

Happy reading.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Bus Driver by Todd H. Doodler

Here's a cute way to teach your child to count; it involves a bus and it's passengers.

Robin Corey Books sent me a copy of this board for review (thank you).  It's been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

You count to ten and then back again.  The best part are the characters riding the bus.  There's even dogs on board and they have fleas; nine, to be exact.

The story is fun and you count the passengers as they get on and get off.  Learning without realizing it is much more fun that just getting a list of numbers and memorizing them.

This would be a great gift for a little one that likes cars and trucks.  Do you have a little boy in your life?

Happy reading. 

The Perfect Scream by James Andrus

She's killing them for revenge, but then she finds she likes killing.  Especially hearing them scream...

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this book for review (thank you).  It was published this month, so you will be able to find a copy at your local bookstore now.

Detective John Stallings has still not given up on searching for his daughter.  He never will.  But he has some current cases that need his attention now.  When one death leads to another and he finds they are all in the same fraternity, he begins to look for a common tie between them and a reason for why a serial killer is after them.  What really shocks him is to see a picture of his missing daughter with one of the frat members.  Soon, his detective work is divided between the current case and the cold case of his missing daughter.  His superiors can see this and try to discourage this.  Those working with him try to ignore it.  And Stallings is good enough at what he does, they still want him on the team.

This author does a good job of showing the cop's lives both on and off the job.  It's a hard and stressful job and takes its toll on marriages and family members.  Mr. Andrus' character seem real and none of them are perfect.

Why not spend a few hours in the cop shop and out on the street working this case with the detectives?  It's a cold story; the frat boys are guilty.  But do they deserve to have one person playing judge and jury with them?  You decide.

Happy reading.    

Monday, February 25, 2013

Love of Shadows by Zoe Brooks

When you begin reading this book, you are transported to another time and place.  A place where healers are punished because the University believes doctors are superior and where people have a companion born with them that is a "shadow"...

The author and Goddess Fish Blog allowed me to read an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  You can find a copy of this book available on Amazon and other ebook sites.

The story begins with Judith trying to recover from the death of her mentor, who was almost a mother to her.  She probably would have sunk into depression if she didn't have Sarah to keep her moving.  Shadows don't have emotions, so they can deal with loss more easily, you see.

Judith is an interesting character.  Her mother was healer, but she died while Judith was young.  Judith has a smattering of knowledge that is hidden by the business Elma runs, a perfume shop.  All she knows to do is continue the business.  She's glib with the men, loves them and leaves them.  She is independent and stubborn.  And she does care about people.  That last characteristic gets her in trouble, because healing is forbidden.  But how can she let babies die when she can help them?

There are several life changing events for Judith in this story.  Her life is hard but she persists.  It's a very interesting fantasy story that kept me intrigued.  This is a mean world, but there is still love and hope.  I think Judith is a lot like us.  You just do what you need to for survival.

If you go for a walk with Judith through her world and on her journey, you'll be a bit changed at the end, too.

Zoe will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Be sure to follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:

Happy reading!    

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ma! There's Nothing To Do Here! Barbara Park

Need a gift for an expectant Mom?  This book would work perfectly!

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this board book for review.  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The sub-title of this book is:  A Word from Your Baby-in-Waiting.  I couldn't imagine what Ms. Park would do with this story, but she writes an entertaining little story about a bored baby who has already has plans for what he/she will do when birthed.  After all, it would be fun to do now, but there is just no room...

Viviana Garofoli has fun illustrations with a huge baby head and examples of the all the activities the baby is anticipating.

Why not give a gift that make the new Mom smile?  I bet baby will enjoy reading the book later, too.

Happy reading.   

The Never Girls #1: In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe

This is a brand new series that looks like it's going to be a lot of fun.  With fairies, time travel and Never Land involved, how could it not be fun?

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review.  It was published in January, so you'll be able to find a copy at your local bookstore.

Kate, Mia, Lainey and Gabby are playing soccer outside.  (OK, Gabby is pretending she's a fairy, the others are playing soccer.)  When Gabby says she's found a fairy in the flower garden, no one pays attention.  When they do, they scare the fairy.  And suddenly they find themselves in another world; they've transported to Never Land.

Once there, they have several more adventuresKate doesn't listen to the instructions, not all the fairies play fair, and it's a fantastic new world.

Why not pick up a copy and follow the Never Girls on their new adventure?  

Happy reading.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tiger In My Soup by Kashmira Sheth

Babysitting your little brother is no fun for a big sister.  It's not much fun for the little brother either...

Peachtree Publishers and Net Galley let me read this story for review (thank you).  It will be published the first of April, so look for it at your local bookstore then.

I love the house Jeffrey Ebbeler created for this story.  It has steps up and is on top of a rock right off shore.  I could live there!  I was a big sister and my little brother drove me nuts so I could relate to this story.  

He wants his sister to read him a story.  She's reading her own book and keeps putting him off.  When she makes him lunch, he decides to read it himself.  He has a very good imagination and he's soon fighting for his life with this tiger.  His sister doesn't notice that, but she does notice he's let his soup get cold and reheats it.  She also agrees to read his story to him.  But is the tiger really gone?

Happy reading.  

Parrots Prove Deadly: A Pru Marlowe Mystery by Clea Simon

Pru is working hard at rehabilitating and retraining animals with behavior problems.  She has a bit of an edge because she can "talk" to them and hear their responses.  Not all animals are the same, though.  Some are smarter than others and she has to remember she's getting their perspective, not a human's.

Poisoned Pen Press and Net Galley allowed me to read an ebook of this story.  It will be published the first of April, so make a note to pick it up then.

This is a fun series.  Pru is stubborn, focused, and goes beyond the norm to protect the animals she comes across.  A young raccoon gets the same care and attention as a dog, cat or parrot would in her case.  Even when he's accused of being rabid.  She doesn't believe it and steals him from the pound.  And that's not her only crime in this book.

She originally is called in because the parrot cusses like a sailor and no one wants to take him home after his owner has died.  Randolph talks but is repeating what he heard or does he mean something by it?  Pru has trouble figuring that out, but another attempted death at the nursing home gives her pause.  Maybe the "overdose" of drugs people are taking is not a mistake on their part; maybe someone is killing them.

As she snoops at the case, Pru is dancing around her current squeeze.  He's a cop and is Mr. Blue & True.  She's one who works around the edges.  There are some frustrated words between them and that adds a little spice to the story.

This is a cozy mystery that is fun to read.  Why not buy a couple earlier in the series to keep you busy until this one comes out?  You won't be disappointed.

Happy reading.   

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prairie Chicken Little by Jackie Mims Hopkins

I haven't seen a prairie chicken yet, but I'm going to be real disappointed if it doesn't look like the one in this book.  Henry Cole is the illustrator and his graphics are great!

Peachtree Publishers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It's a gorgeous picture book that will be published in March.  Check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This would be a fun book to read aloud.  The author gives the animals sing songy names and uses the words a rumbling, a grumbling, and a tumbling several times to describe the noise Mary Blicken, the prairie chicken has heard.

The animals all have "punny" names and the coyote tries to trick them into his den, but they escape.  What Mary is hearing is not a stampede, but you'll have to read the book and see what it is.  It will make you smile.

Happy reading.  

Othermoon by Nina Berry

This is the second in this paranormal series, and I was waiting for this book to come out.  While written for teens, I immensely enjoyed the first book and had to see what happened to Caleb and Des.

Kensington Books sent me an ARC of this story for review (thank you).  It has now been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Desdemona is back with her parents when she hears a noise in her home.  There's an intruder in her bathroom...

As the shapeshifters gather again, they find all of them have had DNA taken from themIt's been hair from hairbrushes and they are worried about how it will be used.  (They should be.) 

There is a lot of conflict in this story.  Des finds out who her real mother is, Arnoldo and his father have a huge fight, Caleb's brother is back, and the paranormals have to fight for their lives.

I hated to see one of them die and hated watching Caleb and Des grow apart throughout the story.  I'm hoping Book Three will settle romance for Des, but I'm not sure it will.  I do know that Ms. Berry writes a good action-packed story that keeps you reading and I will be looking forward to the next book in this series.

Happy reading.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Yanek Gruener is thirteen and a Jew.  He's also a survivor of ten concentration camps before he's free again...

Scholastic and Net Galley allowed me to read this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published the first of March, so watch for it at your local bookstore.

This is novelized version of a true story and it's painful to read.  War brings the animal out in some people, and that was very true of the Nazi troops.  It seems their main purpose in life was to torture and kill the Jews.  Anyone who was different from them got sent to the camps.  Many died on the way there.  Many died after they arrived.  And no one was safe, not even the Jews who tried to work with them.

They lied to them, teased them, didn't feed them, made them work long hours, walk from camp to camp, and they cared not about who made it and who didn't.  No camp was without horrors.  And many lost all their family members.

This is an ugly part of history many young ones have never heard of or perhaps don't understand just how bad it was.  Reading this book will make them see there is real evil in the world.  That can be an important lesson.  My Czechoslovakian grandparents moved here to get away from the war in their countries and away from the communists.  This story would not be unfamiliar to them.

Let your child read a true historical account of the concentration camp life and he/she will view their own life differently.

Happy reading. 

Hikikomori and the Rental Sister by Jeff Backhaus

One of the reasons I asked to read this book was because the idea of a rental sister sounded real strange.  I also was not familiar with Hikikomori, where someone refuses to leave their bedroom for months or years.  Here's the definition from Wikipedia:  "A Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive adolescents or young adults who withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement."  I learned even more reading this book and, while it was unusual, it was believable.  Sometimes life is strange.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Net Galley let me download an ebook of this story for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

Thomas is unable to deal with the fact that he took his eyes off his son for thirty seconds and that's all the time it took for him to be in the street and get hit by a car.  He feels responsible for his death and just can't deal with the world anymore.  He hides from his wife in the bedroom and won't even talk to her anymore.  In desperation, she seeks a solution that will end things.  He will either get better or she will move on.

The woman chosen to work with him is Japanese.  Her brother was a Hikikomori and committed suicide in his room.  She only wants to talk him out of the room and introduce to him to life, but it grows into more than that.

I find if people are confined in one place, they tend to bond with each other.  Take us away from what is familiar and we will make new friends as insulation against isolation.  In this case, both the major characters had been deeply hurt by the deaths of brother and son who were too young to die.  Together, they discuss their grief and move out of grieving into living again.  How they do that is part of what makes this book interesting.  I will be thinking about this story for quite a while.

Why don't you read it and see what you think?  At the least, you'll learn a bit about Japanese/Korean culture.

Happy reading.  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff

Jayna is living with her brother and they have created their own "family" since their parent's death.  Then Rob is called up to go to war in 1945 and she's left alone, with just her landlord for company.

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published in January, so you can buy a copy now at your local bookstore.

Jayna is knicknamed Gingersnap because she's a redhead.  She knows they have an old cookbook from her Grandmother and that the old lady lives in Brooklyn.  When she gets a notice from the service that her brother is missing in action and may not be coming back, she decides to take charge of her own life.  She heads out for Brooklyn to look for Grandma.  Some family is better than none.  What she finds is not family, but it is a place to belong.

This is an authentic look at 1945, how simple and how hard it could be, and what one little girl will do to try to find a place to call home and a family to care for her.

I enjoyed this read.  Why not give a try and see what you think?

Happy reading. 

The Dragon Turn The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His 5th Case by Shane Peacock

Sherlock is back again.  He's no longer getting closely involved with cases; he's decided to just offer advice and hints to the Inspector's son.  That's safer.  And it makes Irene more comfortable.

Random House of Canada and Net Galley allowed me download this ebook for review (thank you).  It will be published March 12th, so watch for a copy.

I enjoy reading this series.  If you haven't sampled it yet, start with the earlier books so you can watch Sherlock grow up with his insatiable curiosity.  They are all good adventures and this one is no exception.

When they visit a magician's act that includes a real dragon, Sherlock is impressed.  When the police inspector arrests the magician at the end of the show for murder, he can't believe it.  And he finds himself drawn back into a case when he wasn't going to do it.  Of course, Irene asking him to take it had nothing to do with it...

Mr. Peacock always writes big adventures full of fantasy and illusions with lots of logic.  Sherlock is not always right the first time, but he manages to put it right before the end.

Why not trot through London's underworld next to Sherlock and see if you can solve the mystery before he does?  Wear good heavy shoes, you'll need them.

Happy reading.    

Eeny Up Above! Jane Yolen, Kathryn Brown (Illustrated by)

Eeny is a mole.  Her sisters are very happy in their home but Eeny is more adventuress.  She goes up and samples all of the seasons of the y...