Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Waiting Out the Storm - JoAnn Early Macken (Picture Book)
















Released March 2010

www.candlewick.com

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Summer can be a time of thunder, lightning and torrential rainstorms. In this charming picture book a little girl hears the wind whistle in the trees as it whips the branches back and forth.

“What’s that I hear?” she asks her mother.

“A storm’s on its way, the wind calls the raindrops to come out and play,” replies the child’s mother.

Soon big drops begin to fall from the darkened sky and thunder can be heard in the distance. With a flash, lightning brightens the sky and once again the child is worried.

Sensitive to her daughter’s concern, the mother explains that lightning is “too tricky, it starts and it stops. It flashes and dashes between the raindrops.”

Finding refuge in the house, “cozy as bunnies,"  mother and daughter then wait out the storm as it passes overhead.

Perfect for a child who is perhaps afraid of stormy weather, this picture book and its pleasing illustrations will, when read aloud, sooth the youngster and banish his or her fears.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Place For Everything - Sean Covey (Picture Book)

 













Released May 2010

www.kids.simonandschuster.com

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Here’s a picture book that illustrates the importance of keeping a neat room so a child can find his or her possessions when he/she needs them. Jumper Rabbit is ready to play a pick-up game of basketball with his friends but he’s not wearing his basketball shoes.

The rabbit rushes home but his hole is such a mess he can’t find the shoes. Thinking he left them at a friend’s house, he searches all over 7 Oaks, but no luck! Finally Jumper and his buddy, Goob Bear, return to the rabbit’s hole and sift through all the stuff strewn about and find the missing sneakers.

The message is clear – there’s a place for everything and everything should be in its place! At the back of the book you’ll find a “Parents Corner”,” Discussion Questions” and some ideas on how to launch a “clean-up” campaign that will show children how to get organized and maintain some type of order in their rooms.

If your child is particularly messy you’ll went to share this book with him or her. Although it is designed for younger children, it might not be a bad idea to leave a copy of A Place for Everything next to your teenager’s place at the dinner table!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Space Between Trees - Kate Williams (Young Adult)
















Released June 23, 2010

www.chroniclekids.com

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Evie doesn't quite fit in at school or at home. She has friends, but no one close. In fact, the only true friend she's ever had was back in grade school, but Evie and Zabet grew apart. Now Evie does her newspaper route every Sunday where she flirts with an older boy, Jonah, who's job is to collect dead animals from the woods behind an upscale housing community.

One morning, Evie is waiting for Jonah to come back out of the woods. Only he doesn't for a long time. When he does finally appear, he goes straight to a house. Evie is uncertain what's going on until police and the coroner arrive. Jonah's found a body; it's the body of Evie's childhood friend.

Evie is soon drawn into the life of Zabet's best friend, a troubled girl named Hadley. Together, the girls attempt to unravel Zabet's last moments and reveal the killer.

The Space Between Trees is a dark story, yet despite the subject matter, I was hooked and never felt the story was too depressing or sad. The story is told from Evie's point of view. She's honest, at times naive and is forced to face some very adult challenges along the way. It was fascinating to watch her develop a strong back bone when it came to a few confrontations. I also loved how the mystery wasn't really something the reader could solve. You just had to sit back and learn the truth right along with the characters.

This is, at heart, a coming of age story more than a mystery. It's grim at times but incredibly honest. I can't imagine finding a body; definitely hope I never do! But, I do know the story from the other side--what it feels like when someone you know is found murdered. It's never an easy situation, no matter how well you know that person. What Evie relates to the reader is very apt.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Posting Moderation...

To the dozen people in the past week who've come on posting comments about their adult-content sites. Don't for a minute think I'm leaving them up. In fact, you're being reported for posting adult-content on a kid-friendly site.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair - Lee Fox (Picture Book)
















Released January 2010

www.bloomsburykids.com

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Oh my, Ella Kazoo absolutely refuses to brush her hair. As her reddish brown locks get longer and longer the situation becomes totally ridiculous.

Ella’s mother moans, “Oh, Ella, this just has to stop!” And then she sinks into the couch with a mighty flop!

But does Ella listen? Of course not!

Soon the child’s untamed hair is so long it poses a real threat to Ella’s ( and everyone else’s) well being. Something must be done but you’ll have to read this picture book to see what steps are taken to finally solve this tale of unbrushed and uncared for  hair.

This clever and humorous rhyming story will touch a common chord with mothers and their daughters who often engage in a battle of wills over matters of dress and personal grooming.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hiatus

It's been a very weird week here. Incidents with a neighbor that made my daughter uncomfortable enough to call police to a very ill family member... Regardless, I'm focusing on family before reading. Posts will return as soon as things have settled down.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall - Mary Downing Hahn (Ghost Story)
















Released September 2010

www.marydowninghahnbooks.com
www.hmhbooks.com

Twelve-year-old Florence is surprised to learn she has living relatives. Moving from an orphanage for girls to Crutchfield Hall is an exciting time. However, upon her arrival, she fears something evil lurks in the shadows. You see, Florence's cousin Sophie died in this manor and wants nothing more than to remain among the living.

Sophie's plan is simple. Someone must die, taking her place, so that she can return to life. By controlling Florence, Sophie sets out to enact her evil plan.

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall is certainly chilling. Think Poe crossed with a dash of Charlotte Bronte but for the younger crowd. This is a truly a fascinating ghost story. It's a little creepy, but not so creepy that children will have nightmares after reading it.

Mary Downing Hahn is new to me, but with a decent back list of books, I'm eager to read more. I know my ghost-loving teen would have loved them when she was younger.