Tag Archives: book reviews

Howlers! Dog Picture Books for National Dog Day


It’s Monday and National Dog Day! I was going to write a more involved post on the topic, but the dog days of summer are so doggone busy around here that I didn’t have time. But here are a few (of the many) terrific picture books about canines!

Dogku by Andrew Clements, Ages 3+
Dogku employs haiku poetry to tell the story of a stray dog who finds a loving family. Here is my favorite verse:

“Squirrel sits in tree.
Mooch sits below, looking up.
Who has more patience?”

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka – Caldecott Medal Winner, Ages 3+
Dog loves ball. Ball breaks. Dog is heartbroken. It may be a simple story, but Rashka’s watercolor illustrations convey the dog’s emotions beautifully.

Boot & Shoe by Marla Frazee, Ages 3+
Boot is a “back porch kind of dog.” Shoe is a “front porch kind of dog.” But when an obnoxious squirrel forces them to switch places, they can’t figure out where the other one is. This is a sweet, moving story about friendship and devotion.

Doggone Dogs by Karen Beaumont, Ages 2+
The title sums it up nicely. These mangy mutts cause no end of trouble, but they sure are fun to watch.

Officer Buckle & Gloria by Peggy Rathmann – Caldecott Medal Winner, Ages 4+
No one really cares about Officer Buckle’s safety speeches – until Gloria the performing dog spices up his act. This is a great book for discussing safety and teamwork.

I Got Two Dogs: (Book and CD) by John Lithgow, Ages 1+
I love all of Lithgow’s Book/CD combos. This one is particularly entertaining – and easy to sing!

Hondo and Fabian by Peter McCarty – Caldecott Honor Book, Ages 3+
This gorgeous book featuring a day in the life of a dog and a cat is one of my all-time favorites. Nothing surprising happens, but there is something deeply satisfying about reading it.

The Hound from the Pound by Jessica Swaim, Ages 3+
A woman picks out a dog from the pound – only to accidentally end up with all of them, including the handsome keeper. My son really enjoys this story.

For more great Monday reads, go to http://teachmentortexts.com or http://unleashingreaders.com

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It’s Monday: What Are You Reading?


This Monday I am reading two books my daughter asked me to read, because she recently finished them and felt I needed to read them.

The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester p. 329

The beginning: Piper lives in a boring farm town, with uptight religious parents who shrink from any hint of abnormality. At first she seems like a typical child, until she begins to float off of the changing table! Her parents try to hide Piper away from other people, hoping that she will outgrow this strange behavior. Instead she ends up embracing her ability to fly and adventures ensue.

Why I am reading this book: S. insisted that I read this book because she claims there is a surprising plot twist halfway through the book. I am intrigued. So far, it reminds me of this terrific picture book that I have been meaning to add to my section on princess books:

The other book S. asked me to read is:

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan p. 377

The beginning: Percy Jackson is at a school for half-bloods. No, not biracial kids, like mine, but half gods-half humans of the Greek variety. Percy is twelve-years-old and is in grave danger. But even after fighting a demon math teacher, he doesn’t understand how or why he is different. Only when he meets other half-bloods like himself does he begin to understand where he comes from and his destiny.

Why I am reading this book: I probably should have read this series by now, but my seven-year-old beat me to it. Sadly, she has already told me the entire plot, but that is OK. We already have the rest of the books on hold at the library.

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Hat City Middle School Series Reviewed by a Kid

After reading my daughter’s review of her series Sisters 8, Lauren Baratz-Logsted contacted me about reviewing her new series – Hat City Middle School, which is available on the Kindle. We are very appreciative of this chance to read her latest work and also to receive a free copy of the first two books in the series for review. My daughter is a bit younger than the target audience; she is going into third grade this fall and the Hat City kids are in sixth grade. This did not stop her from wanting to read the books, however. After all, what third grader doesn’t want to read about sixth graders? Here are some of her (and my) reactions to both books.

My daughter (let’s call her S.) is a huge fan of Sisters 8, a series of nine books about eight magical seven-year-old girls, and she has never used my Kindle before. So it was not difficult to get her to pick up Guys Against the Girls, the first book in the brand new Hat City Middle School series. I asked her if she noticed any similarities between the two series, and she came up with a couple: 1) In both series, Baratz-Logsted chooses to tell the story from a different character’s (or group of characters’) perspective, either in each chapter or in each book. 2) Boys versus girls is a theme that comes up in both series – at the end of Sisters 8 and the beginning of Hat City Middle School. The differences are more obvious: the Sisters 8 books are fantasy books; the Hat City books are realistic fiction. Hat City is focusing on an older audience and is aiming to attract male readers as well as female.

The premise of Guys Against the Girls is straight-forward. A substitute teacher for the advanced sixth-grade math class rudely claims that boys are better than girls at math. The girls are deeply offended and the boys are flummoxed. When their normal teacher returns, she explains that girls are often perceived as worse at math and better at verbal skills.  A series of disagreements are followed by an official verbal/math throwdown. Middle school teachers will love this book, because in addition to discussing a common stereotype, it also contains many literary and mathematical references. As an adult, I am impressed by how thoughtful and academically-oriented the middle school students in Hat City are. I was originally afraid that kids might consider the characters unrealistic, until I asked S., who assures me that they are relatable. In fact, she found the school environment very familiar, except for the name – Hat City, which she thought was a bit unusual.

Here is S.’s final assessment: “It was funny. One of the parts that stuck in my head is when Melissa was allergic to pineapples and ate pineapple by accident. One of my favorite parts is when guys and girls presented reports on Little Women. I like that book too!”

While Guys Against the Girls is told from the alternating perspectives of all of the girls and all of the guys, Robbie Knightley is a more usual first-person narrative, featuring Robbie – one of the boys in the advanced sixth-grade class – as the main character.  The story begins in the middle of a scene from the first book when Robbie is reading a memoir from the previous Christmas; this time from his viewpoint. It continues with the following Christmas, when Robbie is caught once again opening his presents before he is supposed to. His parents overreact and say things that hurt his feelings. Robbie is bright, but like many adolescents he is insecure and concerned with other people’s perceptions of him. He is also in love with one of the girls, because as S. says, “he is in sixth grade, of course.” S. and her friends enjoy playing teenager. They talk funny and mockingly swoon over boys. Just you wait, little girl.

Here is S.’s final assessment:
“It was good. I like characters with bad luck. My favorite part is the scene where he makes chocolate covered broccoli. Grandma is funny, because she is always worried about the weather.”

And now S. has only one question: “Is there a third book, Mommy?”

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Book Reviews Written by Kids

Link to any book reviews by kids, or write your own here

Source: http://childrensbookbin.com

Jul 15, 2013 - childrensbookbin.com - 220
Hat City Middle School Series Reviewed by a Kid

A Child's Review of Lauren Baratz-Logsted's Guys Against the Girls and Robbie Knightley from Hat City Middle School on Kindle

2013 Summer Reading List - 7 Series Reviews by a 7-Year-Old

Summer break is here for many of you throughout the country. My kids still have to slave away at school for another couple of weeks, but regardless, it is time to start thinking about all the great books to read over the summer.

Jul 16, 2013 - spaghettibookclub.org - 213
Spaghetti Book Club - Book Reviews by Kids for Kids!

The largest site of children's book reviews written and illustrated by kids for kids. Read our reviews or submit your own!

Jul 16, 2013 - childtasticbooks.wordpress.com - 234

Zoe, at the always fascinating website 'Playing by the Book' has just published a marvellous post on children's book authors and illustrators who are or were refugees. I urge you to check this out: http://www.playingbythebook.net/2013/06/21/refugee-week-17-childrens-book-authors-and-illustrators-who-were-refugees/ Hearing about their life stories adds an extra depth to the stories we then read by them.

Jul 16, 2013 - kidsblogclub.com - 283
Top 10 children's book review blogs written by kids - KIDS' BLOG CLUB

There are tons of blogs around about children's books, but so far most of them have been written by adults. But now junior bookworms are having their say as children start to blog about the books they love reading. We think it's really cool when children blog about the books they read.

Mother Daughter Book Reviews

This website is dedicated to sharing children's book reviews written by Mother Daughter Book Reviews or other teams of kids and grown-ups.

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