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Showing posts from January, 2017

Flora and the Chicks by Molly Idle

Genre: Toddler Board Books
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: March 7, 2017



Teach your child to count with Molly Idle's Flora and the Chicks. In this board book, young Flora keeps finding more and more chicks as they hatch from the next. Pages flip open to show another chick and narrative is nothing more than each number.

If you're looking for a fun way to teach a toddler to count, Flora and the Chicks is a perfect choice. The illustrations are colorful and appealing. The narrative is very easy for any child who is just starting to associate words with pictures. This book is a definite win.

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt

Setting: Aurora, Texas
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: February 7, 2017



The Good Daughter is a book I really struggled with, yet I also felt compelled to keep reading to see what on earth was happening. Given that, I'm really torn on how I feel about this Alexandra Burt novel.

After 15 years away, Dahlia Waller returns to her mother's home in Aurora, Texas, hoping to finally get answers. Dahlia remembers snippets of her childhood, many snippets that don't make sense. What she's certain of is that she's grown up never having identifying paperwork, being able to hold a job that didn't pay under the table, or having a mother who didn't live in fear.

The harder she seems to press her mother for answers, the more her mother seems to resist. This only makes Dahlia more determined to uncover the truth about her mother's past. It's a truth that could tear Dahlia's world apart.

There really seem to be two mysteries at hand in The…

A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum by Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Release Date: March 14, 2017




Another offering in the popular "A Funny Thing Happened..." series, this time Henry heads to the museum with his class. The story begins when Henry's teacher asks him what he thought of the museum. Like usual, he experienced things at the museum that no one else did.

This book, like the others, shares a fantastic tale of things Henry experienced. He's a precocious child with a wild imagination, so it becomes a lot of fun seeing what he got into. From being charged by a dinosaur to creating art of his own design, A Funny Thing Happened at the Museum is packed with adventures.

Targeted for the 6 to 9 age group, the "A Funny Thing Happened..." books are a lot of fun. Don't miss this latest offering or the past books.


The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

Setting: Mill Valley, California
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: January 10, 2017



I had a rough time with The Most Dangerous Place on Earth. While it sounded a touch Gossip Girl at first, I soon found myself struggling to like any of the characters. It made it challenging to read. As the mom of two, I know what goes on in today's high schools. But in this case, I really just couldn't feel sympathy for anyone in the book.

When an incident in middle school turns tragic, the lives of a handful of kids change. Abigail enters into a sexual relationship with a high school teacher. Emma's partying ways put her love of dancing on the line. Dave is determined to please his parents with their dreams of him attending Berkeley, but it's rough when he's not much more than an average student. Calista ditches life in the popular crowd and falls in with the hippie crowd. Damon ends up in rehab and wants to prove he's better than that while struggling…

Three Charming Board Books for Toddlers

Genre: Toddler Board Books
Ages: 2 to 5
Publisher: Chronicle for Kids

Here's a trio of board books suitable for any toddler. Stories are all charming and create a full story without using too many words. These books are perfect for the age range of 2 to 5 years.



Unlike most kids, Little Oink's parents don't push him to clean up his room. It's quite the opposite in the book Little Oink. His room is NOT a pig sty, and he doesn't want it to be. He cannot go outside until he messes his room. For this clean little piglet, messing his room seems impossible.



In Masha and Her Sisters (March 2017 release), very few words are used to capture the very essence of a set of Russian nesting dolls. Meet each sister and learn more about her in this board book.



Also coming out in March, What Do You Wear? shares what many animal friends wear when they go outside. The message in this book is meant to get toddlers excited about getting dressed, and I think it accomplishes that task in…

The Fox Wish by Kimiko Aman

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle for Kids
Release Date: March 14, 2017



Lukie and his sister, Roxie, are at home when she remembers she left her jump rope at the local park. Rushing off to retrieve it, they cannot begin to believe what they see. A group of foxes has her jump rope, though they're struggling to successfully use it.

Knowing they can't leave until they've helped, Lukie and Roxie decide to take the time to help out. Can they teach the foxes how to jump rope? Will they be able to get the jump rope back?

The lesson learned in The Fox Wish is clear. This is a book that focuses on the joys of sharing and being kind of strangers. I enjoyed that message and think it's one that really benefits children. Illustrations by Komako Sakai capture the story beautifully and draw the reader into the story. The language is easy for readers who are starting to pick up bigger words like "immediately" or "remembered."




Two Board Books from Author Junzo Terada

Genre: Toddler Board Books
Publisher: Chronicle Books for Kids
Ages: 2 to 5
Release Date: March 2017




For this review, I'm taking a closer look at two upcoming board books for toddlers from author Junzo Terada. Both are charming books that feature bright, cheerful animals who join each other for a fun event.

Animal Friends Barnyard Jamboree is the first offering. In this book for children ages 2 to 5, Cat has her banjo and is quickly joined by her friends. Who's joining the impromptu jamboree and what will that animal play?




In Animal Friends Swimming Hole Party, Monkey wants to go swimming, but he needs to decide who is coming with him.

Both books are ideal for beginning readers thanks to simple vocabulary and images that perfectly capture the action. Pages are thick and definitely can stand up to the repeat usage of any child. With only a few pages, it won't be long before children are reading along with ease.

I'm A Lot of Sometimes by Jack Guinan

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Red Chair Press
Release Date: January 1, 2017



Young rabbit shares his strengths and weaknesses, though he doesn't see them as weaknesses. Instead, the young rabbit shares his "sometimes." Whether he's slow or fast, big or small, brave or shy, rabbit embraces all that makes him special.

I'm A Lot of Somethings shares such a great message. Being shy sometimes isn't a fault, no matter what some may tell you. (And trust me, I had far too many teachers tell me being shy was a bad thing!) The message simply is to embrace yourself, through all your sometimes.

Illustrations are perfect and capture the essence of the young rabbit. The narrative is easy for a beginning reader. I definitely recommend this one!

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: February 14, 2017



The construction crew of bulldozers, dump trucks, and many others are proving teamwork is what it takes to get a job done. Watch as they work together on their next big project. Can they get the job done without problems?

Mighty, Mighty Construction Site is ideal for beginners with whimsical illustrations and easy-to-read narrative. There are some bigger words here and there, such as "massive" or "blaring," but with an adult's help, beginning readers shouldn't have a hard time.

The children's picture book also gives children an insider's look into the work the different machines do and how their work as individuals benefits each other to complete a task. I liked that message. Teamwork is how things get done effectively.

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

Setting: Rural Maine
Genre: Women's Fiction/Suspense
Publisher: Scout Press
Release Date: January 10, 2017



I love Maine. I love the people, the scenery, and the calm, peaceful feeling I get when I'm there. I expected to love The River at Night given the plot and setting, but it all seemed to go awry.

Four friends - Wini, Pia, Rachel, and Sandra - get together as often as possible to experience something new. Wini, a graphic design artist, isn't thrilled with this year's choice, but she agrees to go along as she needs a break with her friends. The quartet head off to upper Maine's rugged wilderness to spend a few days trying something new - white river rafting.

From the very beginning, it appears that nothing is going to go right. Their guide's vehicle gets stuck on the makeshift road that leads to the starting point. Rory also hides things from them. When their adventure turns into a nightmare, it's up to the women to survive without any gear, their raft, …

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: January 3, 2017



Author Louise Gornall is right. It's time for people to not feel shame when talking about their mental illness. Nothing irritates me more than the misconceptions thrown around. Like the author and the main character in the book, when I was in the worst part of my life, I also heard "snap out of it," "it's all in your head, so stop thinking about it," or "all you have to do is stop worrying and your panic attacks will go away."

When a panic attack hits from nowhere, teen Norah Deane's life changes in drastic ways. She becomes scared to leave her home and turns to homeschooling. She sees a counselor for OCD, agoraphobia, and her crippling anxiety disorder. No matter what happens, Norah is held prisoner to her mental illness. And then Luke moves in next door.

For the first time in her life, Norah finds herself drawn to Luke. She wants to get to know him, yet her me…