Note to Readers

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or print copy of the book. 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.”

Friday, April 29, 2011

New Reviewer Joining the Team

I'm finding the more I work, the harder it is to fit in any reading. Last week's vacation didn't pan out with plenty of reading time on the beach, mainly because it rained most of the time we were there.

A friend from WAHM is joining Roundtable Reviews to help out. She'll be offering both kids and adult book reviews. Welcome Alex to the team. Her bio is below.

Alex is stay at home mom who enjoys reading and some writing. She's a member of various women's clubs in her community, where they at times discuss books, poetry and magazines.   

Alex is also a member of a teen empowerment organization, that specialize in helping at risk young girls maintain a drug free life and help them make wise choices regarding everyday issues. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses: Isabella of Castille - Shirin Yim Bridges

Released October 2010

Reviewed by Bob Walch

This series of short biographies covers six real life princesses. One of these women, Isabella of Castile lived in 15th century Spain and was an exceptional young woman who at age 13 was named heir to Castile.

Although many young men were presented to her as suitors, Isabelle turned them all away since she wanted to marry Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Aragon. The intelligent young woman realized that their union would help unite the country and one day make Spain a strong European power.

When her brother refused to allow the marriage Isabella took matters into her own hands and arranged for the nuptials herself.  Although at times the union was a rocky one, Isabella and Ferdinand’s reign is still thought of as Spain’s Golden Age. Their marriage and then the recapture of Grenada reunited the country and made Spain a world power.

As you read this illustrated biography, you’ll not only learn about a truly remarkable woman but the time in which she lived. Besides the family’s history you’ll learn about what Isabelle ate, what she wore during her life and what happened to her children.

Once you have read this book, you’ll probably want to read about the other five princesses who lived during different time periods and in other places of the world. They are a fascinating, although little known, group of women.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Picture Window Books Announces Super-Pet Contest Winner


Picture Window Books Announces Super-Pet Contest Winner
Winning Characters to be Illustrated by Eisner Award-Winner Art Baltazar in Upcoming DC Super-Pets Book

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – April 18, 2011 – Picture Window Books, an imprint of Capstone, the leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, announces the winner of its nationwide student writing contest “My Pet is Super!” The contest asked children to write an article for an imaginary newspaper, The Daily Planet, about why their own pet is super. It was inspired by the publisher’s DC Super-Pets adventure book series featuring the crime-fighting pets of everyone’s favorite super heroes.

Cloey Nyberg, a third grader at Pyrtle Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., is the first-place winner selected from more than 450 entries. Cloey’s fictional characters, Luna Moon (a Beagle with super-sniffing talents) and Sprightly Steve (a Pomeranian/Chihuahua with lightning speed), will be featured characters illustrated by Eisner award-winning comic book artist Art Baltazar in a DC Super-Pets book. Cloey will receive the original illustration of her characters as well as copies of the book, available Jan. 1, 2012 in hardcover and paperback formats.

Cloey’s imaginary newspaper article was set in Metropolis Park where Luna and Steve used their combined super powers to save a group of third graders from a brush fire. The city mayor rewarded the canine duo for their heroic deeds with medals and a year’s supply of dog treats. To see the winning entry, visit

“Students took us on adventures from Los Angeles to Maine and we learned about the heroic deeds of all kinds of super-pets – from dogs, cats, rabbits, and gerbils, to pigs, goldfish, and even a vanishing chicken. We’re impressed with the incredibly talented kids who brought us such fun and well-written stories, and we can’t wait to begin working on the DC Super-Pets title with our two new characters Luna and Steve!” said Michael Dahl, Editorial Director of Capstone Fiction.

In addition to selecting a first place winner, Picture Window Books also selected the top 50 contest entries to receive two free DC Super-Pets books, one for the student and one for the school library.

The DC Super-Pets series launched in January 2011, through a licensing agreement with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on behalf of DC Entertainment, with more titles to be published in August 2011 and January 2012. The series illustrator is Art Baltazar who won the comic industry’s top award, the Eisner, for his work on the kid-friendly Tiny Titans series. The DC Super-Pets series features the crime-fighting adventures of the pets of favorite super heroes from beloved DC Comics: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern. These intrepid Super-Pets—Krypto the Super-Dog, Ace the Bat-Hound, Streaky the Super-Cat, Beppo the Super-Monkey, Jumpa the Super-Kangaroo, and their friends—save the day and foil the evil plans of the universe’s most dastardly super villains (and their pets!).

DC Super-Pets is the second project Capstone and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, have collaborated on in recent history. The publishers launched a successful partnership in 2008 under Capstone’s Stone Arch Books imprint to publish DC Super Heroes, an original book series based around DC Comics’ iconic characters Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Flash.  


About Warner Bros. Consumer Products
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

About DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment, home to such iconic DC Comics properties as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, MAD Magazine, and Fables, is the creative division charged with strategically integrating across Warner Bros. and Time Warner.  DC Entertainment works in concert with many key Warner Bros. divisions to unleash its superheroic characters across all media, including but not limited to film, television, consumer products, home entertainment, and interactive games.  Publishing over 1,000 comic books, graphic novels and magazines each year, DC Comics is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world.

About Capstone
Capstone is the leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, offering everything from nonfiction, fiction, and picture books to interactive books, audio books, and literacy programs. Imprints and divisions include Capstone Press, Compass Point Books, Heinemann-Raintree, Picture Window Books, Stone Arch Books, and Capstone Digital. For more information, visit Connect with them at

DC SUPER HEROES and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © DC Comics.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Love Vacations - Anna Walker

Released April 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

The third book featuring Ollie the lovable zebra, this adorable picture book explains why Ollie loves vacationing at the seashore so much. Along with his friend Fred, a spotted dog, Ollie can collect shells, splash in the water and watch the waves.

Fred and Ollie also love to float offshore in their sailboat and watch turtles swim beneath the boat. When they return to shore the pair enjoy  munching on “sandy sandwiches” and licking a “drippy ice cream” cone. What fun!  And when it is time to go to bed, Ollie and Fred slip into their tent and sleeping bags and fall asleep listening to the waves on the beach.

A simple story that captures the pleasure of a day at the beach, this picture book is perfect for beginning readers. After reading the story, ask the child what he or she likes best about a trip to the seashore or what other type of vacation he or she enjoys.

Aliens on Vacation - Clete Barrett Smith

Released May 2011

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

Scrub isn't thrilled to be shipped off to his grandmother's bed and breakfast in the middle of Washington. Stuck in a town with nothing to do, Scrub soon realizes his grandmother's space-themed B & B is more than anyone would imagine. It's not humans staying at the inn, and the local sheriff is more than suspicious about the guests.

Aliens on Vacation is a fun story. I can see kids ages 8 to 12 really getting a kick out of this book. As Scrub becomes involved with daily operations, readers are treated to a variety of "guests" whose appearance and mannerisms will delight.

The author, Clete Barrett Smith, is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, making him a bit of a local author in my books, even if he now lives on the opposite side of the country. If you have a child in third grade to sixth grade, I really think they'll enjoy this Disney Hyperion novel.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book News: School Library Month & National Library Week

In honor of School Library Month and National Library Week, Open Road Integrated Media, ebook publisher of seven of Hamilton’s classic titles, has developed features about her distinctive library memories that will engage and inspire readers:

VIDEO: A Library’s Shaping of Virginia Hamilton
This brand new video in honor of National Library Week features Hamilton’s husband, poet Arnold Adoff, in their Yellow Springs Community Library reflecting on the tremendous impact the public library had on Virginia as a child, which ultimately lead to her powerful brand of storytelling that helped define the lives of generations of African Americans. You can find this video, as well as more information on Hamilton and her ebooks, at

ARTICLE: “Sentinels in Long Still Rows” 
Originally published in the American Libraries 1999 June/July issue, Hamilton recalls getting her inspiration from a children’s librarian bearing books of many sizes and hues. A library stack rover at an early age, she eagerly anticipated the arrival of her town’s “Story Lady” at her school, and acknowledges the importance of libraries in contributing to the process of “never letting us forget who we are, for their worth stands by the knowledge they keep and save for us.” The article can be pulled from a post on the Open Road Media blog at: The Open Road blog is featuring special content each day throughout National Library Week.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gifted: Speak No Evil - Marilyn Kaye

Released April 2011

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

The sixth book in Marilyn Kaye's Gifted Series finally tells the story I've been dying to read. Carter Street appeared on the streets one day never uttering a word. People didn't even know he could talk until recently, and even then the words he spoke put the rest of the gifted students at risk.

Carter is now at Harmony House, a facility for troubled teens. His doctor hopes to uncover who Carter is and how he came to be on the streets. Carter simply hopes he might find how he fits in with the other gifted kids.

Speak No Evil does reveal more about Carter, as well as the other students. I really don't want to give much away, but this book reminded me of the television show "Heroes." I really did enjoy it, though I think the revelation about Carter wasn't what I was expecting. It fits perfectly, however. Read Marilyn Kaye's latest and see how everything plays out.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

We All Fall Down - Nic Sheff

Released April 2011

Nic Sheff follows up his memoir Tweak with We All Fall Down. I never read Tweak. Not that I really needed to. We All Fall Down captures his battle against drug addiction with brutal honesty.

The memoir covers Nic's dependency on women, drugs, and even alcohol.  I won't say I always agree with him. I never used drugs and would never abuse alcohol. I watched my alcoholic aunt pass away. I've never understood how someone can spiral so hard. Nic does delve into things and eventually a fact comes to light that clarifies a lot for me.

Quite honestly, I became enraged reading certain parts of this second memoir. He's in a counseling session and has a panic attack. If his account of the event is accurate, it sounds very much like she blamed him for having the attack saying that it was basically an avoidance technique. I've had panic attacks. I have absolutely no respect for the way she handled it. Panic attacks are very real and after years of visits to the doctor, one thing they found is there is a genetic link between all the women in my mother's side of the family. Given that, one doctor put me on birth control pills to see if there was a hormonal trigger. Sure enough, that ended them. Now that we know, life has improved drastically without medications.

Nic's had a hard life. He's made bad choices, but it's clear he is working to improve himself. I don't know how things are today, but I do hope he's continuing to grow. The book is released for teens, but I definitely think that there are many lessons for adults too.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hide and Squeak - Heather Vogel Frederick

Released February 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

Follow the chase as Mouse Baby tries to avoid bedtime by leading his father on a merry chase around the garden and then the house. Obviously, the little fellow likes to play hide-and-squeak, but now is not the time for this fun game.

Daddy Mouse is persistent, though, and soon he is able to corral his son. After a quick hug and kiss the little mouse is tucked into bed and snuggles down for his night’s rest. With all the scampering about, Mouse Baby will certainly sleep soundly!

Cute illustrations coupled with a rhyming text make this a bedtime book that any toddler will love when it comes time for your evening "read aloud."

What better way to get your youngster ready for bed than to follow Baby Mouse’s attempt to avoid the inevitable!  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Good Night Little Bunny - Emily Hawkins

Released February 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

A novel “changing-the-picture”, this story about a little bunny and his woodland friends features flaps that, when pulled, transform a picture from one creature to another.

As night comes on  Little Bunny tells his friend Dusty the squirrel that he must say good-bye and set off for home. As he sets off through the darkening forest the small rabbit sees a shadowy figure coming toward him.

As the reader pulls open the flap on the page, the illustration of Little Bunny and Dusty is magically replaced by Freddie, a young fox.

“It’s getting dark and you scared me!” Little Bunny says.

Freddy then explains that he is a nocturnal animal and loves being out at night. Next some dormice join the fun because they aren’t afraid of the dark either.

As he continues on journey home, Olive the owl appears and Little Bunny proudly tells her that he’s not afraid of the dark anymore. That’s all well and good the owl points out,  but she says,  “Little rabbits should not be out alone at night. Why don’t I show you the way home?”

The perfect story for a child who might be afraid of the dark, this heartwarming tale and its clever picture shifting mechanism will help any youngster conquer his or her unease when the shadows begin to lengthen in the evening. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Best in Show - Karen LeFrak

Released February 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

This picture book offers an inside-the-kennel look at raising a puppy and preparing it for the dog show circuit. When Abby visits her aunt at the kennel where she works the little girl sees a new poodle pup she falls in love with.

Abby is given the chance to help out at the kennel and work with the trainer and puppy named Gem. Eventually, after much hard work, Gem is ready for the ring. But when Wendell, the trainer and handler, falls and hurts his leg Abby is called upon to take his place. Now she must put all she has learned about showing a dog if the Gem is to win Best of Class.

Children who love animals, especially dogs, will find this an interesting book that not only has a good storyline but also explains what it takes to train a puppy and ready it for competition in the show ring.