Monday, June 30, 2014

Bug Patrol

Who Stole the Veggies from the Veggie Patch?
By Precious McKenzie, Illustrated by Jenny Snape
Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Educational Media, 2013

In this title, veggies go missing from the patch and the animals keep asking each other about it. In the end, the culprit is found out. The author uses repetitive phrases such as: "who, me? yes, you!" The illustrator uses quite cheerful and light colors such as green and light blue. Also, most of the pages are double spreads which help children see the full scene. The book is an easy read and would be best suited for introduction in a Kindergarten or first grade classroom.

A Smidgen of Sky

A Smidgen of Sky
By Dianna Dorisi Winget
Boston : Harcourt Children's Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Ages 9 to 13

Piper Lee's father disappeared in a plane that could not be found, and after five years, her mom is engaged to be married again. Feeling that her mother is being disloyal, she tries to stop the wedding as she deals with the loss of her father.

The author's style is very appealing to the intermediate level students. Winget used the idea of death of a loved and embraced it. She was able to turn a serious topic into something enjoyable to read.

The only illustrations of the book is the front cover. The cover is sky blue with sunflowers and a yellow plane to resemble her father.

I would recommend this book to not only kids who are dealing with the loss of a  loved one. I would recommend it to everyone because it gives incite to how to deal with losing a loved one in an appealing way. Although it is more of a girly book, I would recommend it to all third through sixth graders.

Reviewed by E.S.

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba's Greatest Abolitionist
By Margarita Engle
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 10 to 13

The story is about a girl named Tula who loves stories, but her family is coming out of slavery in Cuba, where girls are not allowed to be educated. Tula is conflicted with mixed feeling as she is to be married off to the highest bidder, and he mother will use the money to buy slaves. She finds herself in a banned book of a rebel poet, and she begins to see the injustice around her.

The author's writing style is poetic. Each poems in the voice of a different character, telling what they have to say.

The book does not have very much art except for the cover. The cover looks of water and there is a hand with a black bird perched upon it.

This book was very confusing for me; therefore, I don't feel it would be a good book for some kids. It could be a book a teacher might use for an exceptional student with a high reading level. 

Reviewed by E.S.

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy
By Martha Brockenbrough, illustrated by Israel Sanchez
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, Ages 4-8

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy lives in the museum, where she polishes her giant tooth collection and reminisces about the past.  She is in desperate need for a new tooth.  A little girl with a loose tooth walks through the museum with her class.  The dinosaur Tooth Fairy spots her from afar and goes on a wild adventure to get the tooth.

Brockenbrough's writing style is fun and energetic.  The illustrations done by Israel Sanchez are bright, whimsical, and playful.

The Dinosaur Tooth Fairy is a must for parents of young children. Martha Brockenbrough teaches a lesson in friendship and sharing.

Reviewed by KP

Friday, June 27, 2014


By Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris
New York: Scholastic, 2013

This book is about various elements of weather. The authors discuss some rare and interesting aspects of the weather, as well as every day forms of weather. Causes, observable aspects, and interesting facts about weather are all included. In addition, there is a page featuring a man who was struck by lightening seven times! The writing style is engaging. The tone shows excitement and energy about the material, while also conveying the information in an accessible way. The illustrations are some photographs and some computer-generated images. They contain a lot of detail and are engaging. Some are breathtaking and others convey much information. A few students may find some of the pages very busy, however, others may appreciate the wealth of information shown. My favorite page had a large picture of Aurora Borealis. I enjoyed this book and believe many kids would also find it interesting and enjoyable, particularly those fascinated by science or weather.

Reviewed by Mikayla Batt

It Wasn't My Fault

It Wasn't My Fault
By Helen Lester, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 7 to 10

Nothing went right for Murdley Gurdson, a very odd young boy. One day he went for a walk in his too big of shoes, and he stepped right out of one of his shoes, which seemed to cause a whole dilemma with the animals, including a bird laying an egg on Murdley Gurdson's head.

The author wrote this book with a cause and effect theme that appears on every page. Each animal the young boy met in the book said that what happened wan't their fault, blaming another for the actions that took place. 

The illustration look like cartoon-like drawings made with a pen and watercolors, which are very colorful.

I would recommend this book to children because it helps teach taking responsibility for your actions. Teachers can also use this book to teach cause and effect and order of events. All together it is a fun and interesting book. It is great for kids.

Reviewed by B.A.  

Hiding Phil

Hiding Phil
By Eric Barclay
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages 5-8

The story follows three children who find an elephant and the fun they have together.  They have to try to find a way to hide Phil, the elephant, before their parents see him.

The authors writing style has lots of humor and rhyme.  It is easy to read and goes at a fast pace.  My favorite line is when the little girl says, "mom and dad will LOVE Phil!" then on the next page she says, "Uh oh...." because he had some gas while in the bath tub.

The illustrations are free hand with pencils.  They do a great job at showing Phil, the kids, and their parents expressions.

Reviewed by Laura Gould

Diva Duck Dreams

Diva Duck Dreams
By Janice Levy, Illustrated by Colleen Madden
Minneapolis, Minn. : Magic Wagon, 2013, Ages 6 to 9

This book is about a duck that is a diva that dreams of being famous. All she wants is a life outside the farm, though all the other farm animals give her a hard time. Will she become a star and prove them wrong?

The author uses a lot of verbs, highlighting the verbs and other important words in the book.

The illustrations look almost like paint. They are colorful and cartoon-like.

I would recommend this book. I thought it was a cute story, and it could teach kids to never give up on their dreams. 

Reviewed by A.S. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Buff Ducks

Buff Ducks
By Precious McKenzie, illustrated by John Reasoner
Vero Beach, Florida:  Rourke Educational Media, 2013, Ages 6-9

Buff Ducks is a brief story about ducks doing a variety of physical activities. The book starts off by saying, "Ducks get in shape," and ends with, "Buff ducks!"

This is a repetitive book with lots of two word sentences. Examples are:

  • "Ducks run."
  • "Ducks walk."
  • "Ducks waddle."
The illustrations are cartoon-like and colorful.

This book may be interesting for young kids or beginning readers. The illustrations are captivating and kids would probably like them. I would recommend this book for struggling readers because the text is large and there are only a couple of sentences per page.

--Reviewed by A. S.

The Year of the Baby

The Year of the Baby
By Andrea Cheng, Illustrated by Patrice Barton
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013, Ages 9 to 12

This story is about three young girls who create a science fair project based on one of their adopted sisters/ The girls are trying to find out why the adopted baby sister from China is not eating. They create a project that actually helps the baby start eating, and they record their findings.

The author's writing style is that of a chapter book format. The writing is very straight forward and easy to follow.

There are brief illustrations throughout the book that are drawn in pencil. The pictures are used randomly in the story, and they help bring the story to life. Pictures are placed to help show what was written on the pages.

This book offers a great story about family and love while also exhibiting some struggles. Children are able to relate to these characters because it is an ordinary story about family, friends, and school. 

Reviewed by K.T.

Good Manners with Your Teachers

Good Manners with Your Teachers
by Rebecca Felix, illustrated by Gary Lacoste
Minneapolis:  Magic Wagon, 2014

The story follows Mia and Nate throughout their day in school. It shows the two making decisions on how to show good manners towards their teachers. Throughout the story, they give tips to students about manners.

The author's writing style is very professional and uses verbs to show how the students should behave. On certain pages there are helpful tips for the reader.

There are illustrations on every page. They are computer generated cartoons that students will like because they resemble shows they watch on television.

As a future special education teacher, I would recommend it for students in my class. It would be a great social story for students who may be having trouble behaving in class.

--Reviewed by L. G.

Helen Keller's Best Friend Belle

Helen Keller's Best Friend Belle
By Holly Barry, Illustrated by Jennifer Thermes
Chicago, Illinois : Albert Whitman & Company, 2013, Ages 8 to 11

This is a nonfiction book. The author's purpose is to educate people on how Helen Keller's life changed suddenly, but it didn't stop her from achieving her dreams. The author also is educating people on how Helen Keller didn't let a disability hinder her potential. I thought the topic was very entertaining by incorporating the love Helen had for dogs and how their friendship was important.

The author's writing style in this book is very straight forward. It is easy to understand and doesn't offer any confusion to readers. Some strong verbs in the story are flowing and squirm.

The illustrations in this book are in great detail and offer a great image of Helen Keller. The images are very stimulating and bring the words o life and give the words meaning.

I feel like this books is great for young children in 3rd and 4th grade. Children are able to relate to Helen Keller based on a love for dogs, as well as children with disabilities can relate to Helen. The long passage at the end that offers more information about Helen Keller would appeal to older children. I really enjoyed this book!

Reviewed by K.T., BGSU Student

Horrors of History: City of the Dead

Horrors of History:City of the Dead
By T. Neill Anderson, illustrated by Richard Garratt
Watertown, Mass. : MTM Publishing, Charlesbridge, 2013, Ages 9-13

This is a historical fiction about a hurricane that destroyed much of Galveston, Texas, in 1900.  This focuses on kids in an orphanage and also others that lived in Galveston and the struggles that they faced during the storm.

This story was written in a very serious manner and shows the perspectives of a few different people.  Narrative first hand accounts are used throughout the story and it makes it very interesting to read.

The illustrations are mainly historical pictures that have to with the storm itself.  Also there is a map that shows the path of the storm.  The pictures really do help the reader make connections with the story.

I thought that this was a very well written book and it really grabbed my attention.  The way that the characters are portrayed in the book really makes it exciting.  I would recommend it to any middle childhood student that is interested in the subject.  This is a great example of a historical fiction.

Reviewed by Ryan Pivcevich

Buff Ducks

Buff Ducks
By Precious McKenzie, illustrated by John Reasoner
Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Educational Media, 2013

This book is about a variety of activities that the ducks do in order to keep in shape. The writing style is very simple with only a few words per page. The words are also repetitive. When you look at the illustrations you can see that the ducks are having a lot of fun doing their activities. The pictures are very cute and fun-loving and the ducks all have smiles on their faces. I thought this book was lighthearted and enjoyable. I would recommend this to young kids with the goal of encouraging them to be more active. This would be a good book for any child regardless of what they might be interested in.

Reviewed by Gretta McMillen

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


By Sarah Dann
New York: Crabtree, 2014

This is a biography about Beyoncé from her youth and early career to her stardom and the present. The author talks about all of the great things Beyoncé has done, such as founding charities. She explains Beyoncé's depth as a singer, actress, entrepreneur, wife, and mother. Each topic has its own section so the reader can easily understand what each part is about. The pictures are photographs of Beyoncé and her family which fans will enjoy! I recommend this book to kids who want to learn about pop culture. The book would be enjoyed by students in grades 3 and up. The student should be interested in pop culture, music, and Beyoncé in particular.

Reviewed by Gretta McMillen

The Very Beary Tooth Fairy

The Very Beary Tooth Fairy
By Arthur A. Levine; Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages 7 to 10

The story is about Zach the bear and his journey on losing this tooth and finding out who the tooth fairy is. He wonders if the toothy fairy is just for bears.

"Well, the only one of those guys I know is the Easter Bunny: definitely a rabbit." The author is very basic in explanation but creative.

The art in this book was done with water color and graphite. This pictures in this story are what would keep the audience interested in the story. 

I would recommend this story for students to read on free-time. It would allow them to use their imagination. I would say ages 7 to 10 because of the words used.

Reviewed by S.S., BGSU Student

The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter
By Allen Say
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, 2013, Ages 6 to 11

The main characters are Yuriko and her father. Yuriko's name is unique and one of a kind. A teacher calls her by the wrong name, and it bring Yuriko down. After this, her father shows her how special she really is.

"A lovely name, The child of the Lily ..." The author is very down to earth and caring with his writing style.

The pictures are the most effective in developing the story as a whole. The art for this book was done using water colors, pen and ink, and two real photos. 

Yes, I would recommend this story for students. This story can teach them to believe in themselves and not to let others tear you down. I would say 4th through 6th grade level.

Reviewed by S.S., BGSU Student

Fly Guy and the Frankenfly

Fly Guy and the Frankenfly
By Tedd Arnold
New York, N.Y. : Cartwheel Books, 2013, Age 7-11

This story is about a boy named buzz who becomes friends with a fly named Fly Guy.  Buzz has a dream that Fly Guy creates a monster named "Frankenfly" but will it become a reality?

The author uses a very simplistic writing style that would be great for kids anywhere from second to fifth graders.  It also incorporates chapters in it as well.

The illustrations in this story are all drawn by hand.  They are cartoon drawings but really go along with the book.  The illustrations that I thought were most effective was the one when his is shown falling asleep and dreaming.

I thought that this story was very interesting.  It was a very simple story but written very well.  I would recommend this story to kids that are just starting to read chapter books.

Reviewed by Ryan Pivcevich

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee

A Very Witchy Spelling Bee
By George Shannon, Illustrated by Mark Fearing
New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

Cordelia, a young witch, is entering her first spelling bee. She must use her knowledge of spelling and similar words to defeat the fiendish witch Beulah Divine and win the spelling bee. The author uses simple language with an emphasis on the key spelling words in a story. He also uses a lot of rhyming text to show connections between words and how they are spelled. The illustrations are vibrant depictions of the scene described in the story. They provide a great visual to help beginning readers follow along. This is a fun story that can help students become engaged in reading and spelling. I would recommend this book for beginning readers and spellers to help them learn about language and to spark their curiosity about patterns between words. Due to the low level word usage I would recommend this for younger readers. Older readers could breeze through this story rather quickly and it may not engage them as much

The Wendigo

The Wendigo
By Vincent Goodwin, illustrated by Rod Espinosa
Minneapolis:  Magic Wagon, 2014
Mr. Simpson joins a seasoned hunter named Joseph Defago for his first moose hunt. While in the forest, Defago goes missing and Simpson must track him. However, the tracks mysteriously change and begin to resemble the tracks of a creature from native folklore--the Wendigo. Simpson and company must try to find Defago, hoping it is not too late.

The author writes this story as a comic book. All the writing is short. There is simple dialogue.

The illustrations are colorful, detailed, comic-like depictions of the setting of the story. They help the reader follow along with the scene.

This story was difficult to follow along. It was challenging to distinguish which character was which. The story was also very broken and there felt like there was a lot of information missing. I would not recommend this book to many readers unless they really wished to read a comic book, for it is a tough storyline to follow.

--Reviewed by A. G.

The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge
By Natalie Standiford
New York : Scholastic Press, 2013, Ages: 8th grade to High School age

In this book, Laura, an American college student, decides to spend a semester aboard, studying Russian in the Soviet Union. She is faced with many unique obstacles and meeting Alyosha, a native who changes her experience.

The writing style was definitely for older students because there are bigger words. Some knowledge about Would War II and the Soviet Russia is also assumed to be known.

There are no illustrations in the book aside from the front cover, which shows an accurate scene from the book.

I liked the book a lot. It kelp me on my toes, curiously anticipating what would happen next. I wouldn't recommend it for younger middle school students though because of the love interest and the rule breaking in the book.

Reviewer: N.W., BGSU Student   


By Kenny Abdo, illustrated by Bob Doucet
Edina, Minn. : Magic Wagon, c2014

In Edwin West Elementary fourth grader Jon Gummyshoes is the main detective.  If anyone can solve mysteries, it is Jon!  Jon does not seem like he has a clue of what he is doing until it clicks with him solving cheating and stealing mysteries.

The author used an interesting writing style that kept me engaged.  It was mysterious, so I did not always see what was coming.  It was also quite adventurous for me to read.

I thought the illustrations were great.  They were exactly what I pictured while reading the text.  It was nice getting a visual every so often.

I thought this was a great book to read and I enjoyed it.  It was engaging, but some parts got boring.  I do recommend this book, but more specifically to 7-8 graders who are interested in crime and solving problems.

Reviewed by Billy Fial

Monday, June 23, 2014

43 Old Cemetery Road: Book Five- Hollywood, Dead Ahead

Hollywood, Dead Ahead
By Kate Klise
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

This story is about a trio leaving Ghastly for Hollywood in California for an opportunity at stardom. Once these three get there, they realize how quickly the big world changes them. One person, Olive, has been kicked out of a script. So Olive comes up with a way to scare the director badly! The author's writing style is suspenseful and compelling. She did a wonderful job making me want to read more. The suspenseful way she left things, just made me want to read more! The illustrations were actually awesome! It was like I was reading and looking at a newspaper at times. This book had a unique layout which I had never seen before. I even loved the text font! I really enjoyed this book and did not experience any boredom while reading it. I wanted to flip to the next page quickly to see what would happen next. I recommend this book to any student, grades 5 through 7 who are interested in anything! Every student will love to get their hands on this book, particularly theater students!

Reviewed by Billy Fial

Wyatt Burp Rides Again

Wyatt Burp Rides Again
By Greg Trine, illustrated by Frank W. Dormer
New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Ages 6-9

This is a story about a girl detective who is bored because there are no crimes to fight. To fix this problem, Jo builds a time traveling machine to go back and catch Wyatt Burp. Wyatt is a strange character who can blow bank doors off with his burps.

The story had great voice and is easily understandable.

 The illustrations support the text very well. The primary medium is pencil. Although they are simple, they help to tell the story.

I really liked the book. I think other kids would enjoy it especially the ones who like numerous stories. I definitely think this book is more designed for boys who like adventure and humor. But definitely a good read for all.

--Reviewed by A. Baker

Adele: Grammy-Winning Singer & Songwriter

Adele:  Grammy-Winning Singer & Songwriter
By Lisa Owings
Minneapolis:  ABDO, 2013, Ages 10-14

This story is a biography about the challenges faced by a young singer/songwriter, the accomplishments and relationships she had. The book also identifies significant life events of Adele during her career and lifetime up until 2012.

The verbs "extensive," "crushed" and "cultivating her own unique sound" are words and phrases that grabbed my attention while reading this book. The style in particular is more straight forward, using some forms of metaphors and humor to entertain the reader.

There were pictures illustrating the text that portrayed the progression of Adele's life. The primary medium is pictures with vibrant colors. The illustration that I believe is the most effective was of her singing on page 72. This describes the emotion and passion Adele displays and wants others to see.

The book meets my expectations. I only wish the book had more failures of Adele in her music career, this would add more validity to the author's argument of Adele being so successful. I would recommend this to other kids because it is enjoyable and not too in-depth reading. Kids or young adults from about 10-14 would be interested in this biography.

--Reviewed by S. F.

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year
By Bill Harley, illustrator by Adam Gustavson
Atlanta, Ga. : Peachtree Publishers, 2013, Age 8-11

Charlie is the main character who causes a lot of mischief at home and at school.  His is going into the fourth grade and gets the teacher Mrs. Burke, who he doesn't want. Throughout the book, he gets to know his teacher and decides that he likes her.  Charlie has a lot of mishaps throughout the book, which makes it very comical.

The book is written through Charlie's point of view. which adds to the silliness of the book because we hear his internal dialogue.  Most of the book is dialogue that Charlie has with other characters which engages the reader.

The illustrations are black and white and are prevalent throughout the story, not pictures on every page, but they are there when important things happen in the story.  I really enjoy the illustrations because they are well done and give the reader something to look at while reading.

I think that this a fun book that many students would enjoy.  I would say that is directed towards middle school age students, and maybe younger because it is a pretty easy read.

Reviewer: M.L.

Radio Girl

Brendler, Carol. Radio Girl. Holiday House: New York, 2013.

This book is about Cece Maloney, a young girl with dreams of being a radio star. When she breaks the rules and gets a radio job, she realizes there is a lot more to it than she thought. Taking the job also left her with more problems to solve the she started with.

This book is written in the style of a middle school student, which I think would make it enjoyable from them to read. The book is easy to follow along with and there are not too many big words.

There were no illustrations inside the book, but the front cover is a perfect resemblance of the books inside content. The photo on the cover looks like it was taken in the 30s, but it fits the story.

I liked the book a lot! It had issues that many young kids deal with such as boys and relationships, arguments with parents, and many more. I would definitely recommend this book to school kids in 5th or 6th grade. 

Reviewer: NW, BGSU student

Hiding Phil

Barclay, Eric. Hiding Phil. New York: Scholastic Press, 2013.

This story is about a two children who meet an elephant named Phil. They become friends and want to keep Phil. The children decide to hide Phil from their parents. When the parents find the elephant, they want to make him leave, but after getting to know him, they decide to let their children keep Phil.

The author's writing style is fun and short. The author's tell the story through think bubbles, which makes it easy to tell who is talking throughout the story.

I think the illustrations are great. They are very cute, and I think you can almost tell the story just through the illustrations.

I would recommend this book for young readers or for a preschool story time. It has great pictures and has a fun story young students could relate to about wanting pets.

Age range to which this book would appeal Pre-K to K

Reviewer: Stephanie, BGSU Student

Friday, June 20, 2014

Danny, Who fell in a Hole

Danny, Who Fell in a Hole
By Cary Fagan, illustrated by Milan Pavlovic
Toronto : Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2013, Age 7-10

Danny was going through some tough times when his parents decide to split. Hearing the news about getting rid of their dog, Danny decides to run away. Danny falls into a construction site hole where he meets a delightful mole who helps him with the changes that are taking place in his life.

Short and sweet. The author really got to the point while being successful.

The primary medium is detailed pencil. There is not a lot of illustration, but enough to help tell the story.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I not only recommend it to kids, but also adults. Even though being so simple, it shows that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel...or hole. Definitely a GREAT read!

--Reviewed by A. Baker

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying
By Lisa Mullarkey, Illustrated by Gary LaCoste
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2013

A young boy who is eagerly waiting for his old friend to move back to town is shocked that the friend has changed! Upon moving to town, the friend emerges as a bully. The author's writing style relies heavily on quotes and did not use many colorful words for describing things. There was one line used frequently throughout the text, which was" of course he did." The illustrations were done in black and white and appeared to be done in pencil. They were a bit cartoony but did a good job capturing movement and actions. I would recommend this book to students starting middle school. Not only is it an entertaining read, but also teaches a good lesson throughout.

Reviewed by Steven Brooks

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

Horender, Philip M, and Guy Wolek. A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant. Minneapolis, Minn: Magic Wagon, 2014.

This book told the story of a time traveling mouse, named Maximilian, who is trying to get back home. On his journey, he meets a new friend, Ashling, who is traveling from her home in Ireland to the great country of America.
The author uses detailed sentences and colorful language to grab the attention of the readers.

The illustrations are detailed and portray the story well.

I enjoyed reading this book.  I would recommend it for social studies classes and for students who are interested in history books that have extra excitement in them.

This book would appeal to ages 8-12 year olds

Publisher: Magic Wagon

Reviewer: Lyndsey Jones

Surfing Safari

McKenzie, Precious, and Marc Mones. Surfing Safari. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Educational Media, 2013. 

In this story the children go on a surfing adventure.  When they start paddling out to sea, they notice what look to be fins.  As they paddle closer they make a surprising discovery.
The author has a lot of commentary between the camp advisor and the children.
The illustrations are very bright and colorful.  They are also cartoon-like and children love them.
I do recommend it to kids because it was funny and seemed like a real-life situation so kids will love it.  The illustrations grab your attention so that will attract the children.  The text is very easy to read so first - fourth grade would be perfect.
This book would appeal to ages 6-9

Reviewer: BA

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

A Brave New Mouse: Ellis Island Approved Immigrant

By Philip Horender, Illustrated by Guy Wolek
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2014

A time-traveling mouse, who is trying to locate a new home for his family, finds himself aboard a ship heading for America. On this ship he meets a little girl whose family is looking for a new home as well. The author uses lots of descriptive and colorful adjectives to really add feeling and meaning to the story. This comes into play primarily when the author is describing the mouse and the little girl's emotions. The illustrations in the book were all done with what appeared to be black and white. They were all fairly realistic looking and added more meaning to the story, especially the Statue of Liberty. I was not a huge fan of this book, although it was written very well. It just wasn't for me. I would recommend it to 6th or 7th grade students who want something to read.

Reviewed by Steven Brooks

TJ Zaps the One-Upper...

TJ Zaps the One-Upper: Stopping One-Upping and Cell Phone Bullying
By Lisa Mullarkey, Illustrated by Gary LaCoste
Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2013

This is a story about a 4th grade boy named TJ who is bullied by someone who he believed to be his friend- Danny. The story is all about what TJ does to stop Danny from one-upping and cell phone bullying. The author uses simple terminology and easy to understand phrasing to make the story fun and enjoyable for everyone. The illustrations are simple yet eye-catching and tell the story well. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for children who are entering into the middle grades. It would be a good tool to use to help them understand bullying, its effects, and how to take action against bullying.

Reviewed by Lyndsey Jones

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Animal Classification

Animal Classification
By Jenny Fretland VanVoorst
Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Publishing Company, 2014

In this book, the author discusses how animals are classified and includes history and even tips for ways to remember the information that is included. She uses brief sentences and clear examples so readers can better
understand the information. The pictures of the animals are very colorful and there are also charts included throughout the book. This title would work well for children ages 9-13. It is educational and full of helpful tips. In addition, I love that the author provides websites with applicable games.

Reviewed by Christie Burkett

Climate and Weather

Climate and Weather
By Carla Mooney
Vero Beach, Florida: Rourke Educational Media, 2013

In this book, the author discusses factors that influence weather and climate. She uses simple sentences and the vocabulary words are made bold. These vocabulary words are then defined in a glossary at the end of
the book. The illustrations consist of photographs, diagrams, and charts. I think this book would be good for children ages 8-12. Also, the book would be great for those interested in science and weather. This title was educational and the information was useful in relation to the topic.

Reviewed by Christie Burkett

Horrid Henry

Horrid Henry
By Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross
Minneapolis, MN : Spotlight, 2013, Ages 6-9

This story is about Horrid Henry and different stories about his life. The main characters are horrid Henry and his brother Perfect Peter. The first story is about Henry trying to be perfect for the day. The other stories are about Henry being horrid while is brother is being perfect and how Henry tries to get his way.

The author uses alliterations to describe every person in the book who has a name:  Horrid Henry, Perfect Peter, Lazy Linda and Moody Margaret. The first line of the book illustrates the use of alliterations, "Henry was Horrid." And when his mother says, "Why can't you be perfect like Peter?"

The pictures in the book are done in pencil and are fun sketches. Pages 2 and 3 depict Henry and Peter perfectly. The pictures on those pages really help develop our imagination of what Peter and Henry would look like and how horrid Henry really is.

When I read this book I put myself in the mind of a fourth grader, and loved it! The book may have been fairly easy for a fourth grader to read, although it is still a book I would read to my students if I was teaching about alliterations. Henry is around the readers' ages and the readers should be able to understand not being perfect if they have a younger sibling. The readers may relate to doing an activity they do not like but are forced to go to, just like Henry. I cannot wait to read a few of the stories to my class to teach about alliterations.

--Reviewed by M.K.B.

Daisy's Defining Day

Daisy's Defining Day
By Sandra V. Feder, illustrated by Susan Mitchell
Toronto : Kids Can Press, 2013, Ages 7-10

Daisy's Defining Day is a story about a young girl who loves words. She loves to write new and fun words in a journal. One day a younger boy begins calling her Lazy Daisy. this upsets Daisy and she starts on a journey to create a new name using an alliteration, which is what she is learning about in school.

Sandra Feder uses alliteration and rhyming to catch the reader's attention. She also uses verbs like "groaned," "stomped" and "chanting" to help the reader visualize the action in the story. When Daisy was upset about being called "lazy," the author used this opportunity to again show the reader how amazing words can be and to use alliteration to engage the reader. One example is when she wrote:
To make herself feel better, Daisy turned to her favorite things--words. She thought about alliteration and tried to come up with words that not only started with the same letter or sound but also fit well together. Soon she had a list called "Perfectly Paired Words." "Bouncy Balls" and "Chunky Chocolate" were on the list along with "flying flags" and "summer sun."
I enjoyed reading this book. I believe it would be a good choice for students learning about alliteration. It could also be used to discuss inappropriate name-calling or even positive self-image. I believe that it showed Daisy as an empowered young girl who chose to not listen to the negative speech, but find her own positive words to describe herself. This would be a good book for children in 3-5th grade when many of these types of behaviors can be prevalent.

--Review by M.K.B.

Look on the Bright Side

Reed, Cristie. Look on the Bright Side. Vero Beach, Fla: Rourke Educational Media, 2013.

The story is about being happy and looking on the bright side during difficult situations.It explained what some feelings may be and why.

They make it so the child can think and relate to situations they have had and how they should feel or could feel.

Most of the illustrations are of children in various places looking happy. The children seem to be staying positive during activities.

This could be a great book for a student who has difficulties is certain situations. I would recommend this book for any young student  who may have depression or just needs a pick-me-up.

Age ranges to which his book would appeal: K to 3rd grade

Review: Stephanie, BGSU Student

Kevin's Big Book of Emotions

Slegers, Liesbet. Kevin's Big Book of Emotions. Clavis, 2013.

This story is about a boy named Kevin who explains his emotions. It is a very relatable book for young kids and kids with intensive disabilities.

The author's writing style is excellent for young students or older students with disabilities. 

The illustrations are very appealing and thoroughly explain what emotions look like in terms of body language. 

This book would be great to teach social skills to young children and children with a k-z cognitive ablities. I would teach this book with a bigger lesson on social skills and talking about how to treat others.

HK, BGSU student 

Good Manners with Your Teachers

Felix, Rebecca. Good Manners with Your Teachers. Magic Wagon, 2014.

The story is about being respectful towards teachers and why it's important. The book explains what good manners look like and what bad manners look like.

The writing style is very forward and to the point. There is little room for confusion.

The illustrations are a quirky and cute. There is little variation and it is simple.

The book is okay. Yes, I recommend it for kids of all ages because it is important for everyone to know the proper behavior at school.

Reviewer: SK; BGSU Student

Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure

Seiple, Samantha. Byrd & Igloo: A Polar Adventure. Scholastic, 2013. 

This story is about a man and his dog racing to beat someone else to be the first to fly over the North Pole. The book is full of their adventures during their journey.

The writing style is very descriptive including a variety of vocabulary. The writing is engaging but not too confusing. 

Most of the photos are historic photographs and maps. The pictures include scenes from the North Pole, birds, boats, dogs, etc.

I liked this book because it's an interesting true story, which can be integrated with many other subjects. Yes, i recommend it for students looking to learn or to read for a class. Age ranges to which this book would appeal: 4th grade to 6th grade.

S.K., BGSU Student

Battle Magic

Pierce, Tamora. Battle Magic. New York, NY : Scholastic Press, 2013.

This story is the continuation o he adventures of the characters in the Circle of Magic universe. This book follows characters Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy as they journey through Evvy's homeland and encounter a cruel Emperor set on conquering the region.

The style of the book is one which is easy to sink into. When the point of view switches characters, the personality and thought processes of the character are conveyed through the writing. The story is able to shift through different times smoothly. Also, I loved the descriptions of magic in this series.

I wasn't thrilled by cover art of the copy I read.

I thought this book was an excellent continuation of a series I grew reading. It is a series I would recommend for any young fantasy readers. However, it should be noted that the later books contained more adult elements. This book includes war, torture, and a mentioning of romantic actions.

Age ranges to which this book would appeal: 14 to 17. 

Reviewer: MKB