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.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Very First Bible & Prayers: Mini Box Set by Lois Rock and Alex Ayliffe

Release Date - September 2013

Lois Rock

Lion Hudson

Book Review by Bob Walch

This nicely designed boxed set for young children combines vibrant illustrations with 20 Bible stories and 120 everyday prayers that relate to childhood. The small size makes these two books easy to handle and the material they contain is general enough to fit well in any Christian household regardless of what church the family may attend.

The Bible stories include Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the Whale, and Moses and the King from the Old Testament plus an equal number of tales from the New Testament including the birth of Jesus and the tale of the good Samaritan.

The book of short prayers is divided into sections such as “Make Everything Better”, “All the Animals” and “People I Love”.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Waiting to Catch Fire - Promotion

In anticipation of the next Hunger Games movie, Scholastic Press offered reviewers three books with an apocalyptic theme. The first, Inhuman by Kat Falls (September 2013), is a gripping story of Lane McAvoy. Society's crumbled and heading east of the Mississippi is against the law. Lane is stunned when she is quarantined for possibly having the feral virus that makes it illegal to go over the Mississippi. She soon learns her father has been crossing the river illegally, and it's up to her to find him.

The remaining two novels were not provided in whole, reviewers simply received a sample of these novels. The first, Jeff Hirsch's The Darkest Path, features a civil war between the government and the Glorious Path. Callum Roe has been part of the Glorious Path for nine years after he and his younger brother were taken hostage and forced to enlist. Callum ends up on the run when he decides to save a dog that is about to be turned into a killing machine.

The Bar Code Prophecy takes place a dozen years from now, it's also the third book in the series. Grace Morrow learns she was adopted, and returns home to find her adoptive family have disappeared. She turns to an anti-tattoo organization to help her find them.

As a big fan of the Hunger Games novels, I have to admit, I found Inhuman and The Darkest Path to be equally enjoyable. The Bar Code Prophecy is a little harder to rate, because I'd never read the previous two novels. I do think that missing out on the previous two novels took away from my enjoyment.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Big Storm - A Very Soggy Counting Book by Nancy Tafuri

Release Date - August 2013

Nancy Tafuri
Little Simon

This classic board book offers an account of how the animals of hill hollow react to the arrival of a big storm. As the sky begins to turn gray and dark clouds gather overhead, a single bird takes cover in the hill hollow.

Next, the wind kicks up and that sends a little mouse scurrying for the hollow too. Now there are leaves swirling everywhere and a squirrel runs to take cover.

Oh dear, is that lightning? Rabbit doesn’t like the light show and thunder so he joins his friends. As the rain begins, a chipmunk, skunk, woodchuck, raccoon, red fox, and opossum all squeeze in the hollow. Now there are ten critters taking shelter and huddled together.

Is that a strange sound they hear coming from the back of the cave? Goodness, there are two bears asleep! Wow, it looks like everyone has decided to quickly exit hill hollow!

This adorable counting book not only allows a youngster to practice counting up to ten and identify some common animals but it also offers a clever story. You’ll find that The Big Storm will quickly become a favorite at story time in your household and be a book your youngster will return to again and again.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Crankenstein by Samantha Berger and Dan Santat

Release Date - August 2013

Samantha Berger
Dan Santat
Little Brown

Book Review by Bob Walch

What happens when an ordinary kid wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and begins the day in a grumpy mood? CRANKENSTEIN! Yup, that’s what you are dealing with as you’ll see when you read this picture book.

As the child a simple question like, “How are you?” or “Who wants pancakes?” and what will he reply? “MEHHRRRR!!” And, unfortunately, the day doesn’t get any better for Crankenstein. He remains cranky at school, after school, all through dinner and when you get to bedtime…well, let’s not even talk about that!

About the only thing that can improve Crankenstein’s lousy disposition is when he encounters… No, I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to read this story to see what finally puts a smile on Crankenstein’s sour face!

Everyone can have a monstrous day and when that happens no one wants to be around the person. With its big bold illustrations and humorous narrative, this book addresses the problem and shows how sometimes the situation can be reversed.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Young Adult Review - Broken by Elizabeth Pulford

Release Date - September 2013

Elizabeth Pulford

Running Press Kids

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

While Zara lies in a coma following a tragic crash, she finds herself in the world of her brother's favorite comic book hero. She can't find her brother, but she's certain that if she finds the comic hero, her brother won't be far. Meanwhile, her quest to find Jem isn't easy because the villain Morven is hot on her heels and visits from friends and family who she can hear but not see also adds to her distress.  The appearance of one more character is most challenging because he wants to force her to remember the details of her past before she can move on to her future.

Throughout Broken are comic book sketches done by Agnes Gomes. This adds brings readers from what I'll call Zara's real world into the comic world where she wants to find Jem. There are two real plots going on in Zara's story. One is her coma and whether or not she'll make it out of it. The other involves an incident from her childhood that she's never really worked through and that impacts her current state.

I did want to state that while I was grabbing the cover art from Amazon, I noticed a site recommends the story for ages seven and up. If you are looking at this novel for your younger child, I really think you need to look at the book first. The publisher states it is for ages 13 and up, and that is far more appropriate given some of the subject matter.

 It's a very powerful story and one that brought tears to my eyes from time to time. Broken is different, but a fascinating read.