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.”

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Olivia and the Easter Egg Hunt - Cordelia Evans

Released January 2013

Cordelia Evans
Shane L. Johnson
Simon Spotlight

Book Review by Bob Walch

It is Easter Sunday and Olivia and her family are going to take part in the town’s Great Easter Egg Hunt. This isn’t your typical Easter Egg Hunt, though. The contestants must complete three silly stunts to earn puzzle pieces that will tell them where to find the special Easter surprise.

Team Olivia races off to the supermarket where the first test, the Single Strand Spaghetti Slurp, awaits them. Olivia’s brother, Ian, volunteers to tackle this task and he earns the team its first puzzle piece.

The next two challenges, the Running of the Books at the library and Hoop de Loop Challenge at the school gym, are also completed successfully. Hooray, Team Olivia has all the puzzle pieces! Now they have to figure out where the special Easter surprise is.

You’ll have to read the entire story to see where the treasure is hidden and what it actually is. There’s also even a bigger surprise when Olivia and her family get home and discover what happened to the Easter baskets the children received from their parents.

Olivia’s adventures are always fun to read about. The little white pig’s Easter story is not only funny, but it also shows how much this family cares about one another.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Katy Duck and the Tip-Top Tap Shoes - Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Released January 2013

Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Henry Cole
Simon Spotlight

Book Review by Bob Walch

This Ready- to- Read, Level One picture book follows the further adventures the Katy Duck as she attends dancing class and meets a new student named Alice. When Alice begins to dance, everyone is a bit taken back because this is a ballet class and Alice is tap dancing.

It looks like there’s a problem here but Katy Duck comes to the rescue. “I have an idea,” she says. “You can try my extra slippers!”

After class is over, to show her appreciation for Katy’s thoughtful act, Alice invites her new friend to try her tap shoes. What fun! Now Katy can do both tap and ballet.

This cute story not only underscores that sharing can be fun, but it will also get the beginning reader comfortable with handling a simple plot and dialogue, plus the new vocabulary is easy to master.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Beach Doodles: Create, Imagine, Draw Your Way Through a Day on the Beach

Released on April 2013

Duo Press

Book Review by Bob Walch

Looking for an activity book to keep a child busy while traveling or occupied on a rainy afternoon? “Beach Doodles” will fit the bill perfectly. Featuring more than 100 partially completed drawings, the reader is invited to use his or her imagination to finish the picture.

Since this book has a “beach” theme, all the drawings (which are referred to as “doodles”) are related to seaside activities. The doodles range from sea birds’ heads that need bodies drawn in, a big empty jar that needs to be filled with a variety of seashells, and a deserted beach that needs people on it.

Some of the other artistic challenges include drawing a starfish with your eyes closed, doodling in some sea creatures swimming along the bottom of the ocean, showing some surfers riding a big wave and creating a pirate ship.

If you have colored pencils or crayons handy, you can also color in the doodles that already exist in the book or the ones that you create. You’ll also find apps at the bottom of some pages that will allow you to access additional doodles online.

Although this book is intended for a younger audience, it will also appeal to anyone who enjoys drawing and doodling. Its compact size also makes the volume easy to slip into a large purse, backpack or briefcase if you are traveling. Just don’t forget to include a couple of pencils!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Out of Nowhere - Maria Padian

Released February 2013

Maria Padian

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

There is an organization my daughter is a member of that I think should be part of every school. I was delighted when something similar showed up in Out of Nowhere. This group is called A World of Difference (AWOD) and teaches children to stand up to bullying and racial or sexual discrimination. At heart, that is the story found in Out of Nowhere.

Tom Bouchard is a typical, well-liked senior. When he's not getting homework done, playing soccer, or hanging out with friends, he's usually with his girlfriend trying to appease her demanding ways. As the captain of his team, he sees great potential in a new Somalian refugee and invites him to try out. He soon befriends Saeed and other refugees who have flocked to his small Maine town.

While Tom has a good head on his shoulders, many in the town do not like the sudden influx of Somalians. Even the mayor seems against them. Tom's new friendship is threatened by something he doesn't feel should matter -- race.

I really, really loved Out of Nowhere. Tom's struggle with what he knows in his heart is right with the things he hears his peers and even an uncle saying comes off as very realistic. What's sad is that a aspects of this book is true. There is a Maine town where Somalian refugees moved to and the mayor told them to "accept our culture and leave your culture at the door." Maine is one of the most accepting states I know of, and to have him make a comment like that seems shocking. I am glad to hear that the mayor is greatly outnumbered in that sentiment.

This is a great book. It teaches a valuable lesson and is really hard to put down.