Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Alphabet Anatomy (Meet the Capital Letters) by Linda Ann Jones, Branson Jones

Title: Alphabet Anatomy: Meet The Capital Letters
Author: Linda Ann Jones, Branson Jones
Illustrators: Branson Jones, Toby Mikle
Publisher: Friesen Press
Date of Publication: August 27, 2012
Source: paperback, 32 pages, received from Author
Get Your Own Copy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

From Goodreads:
Alphabet Anatomy's innovative rhyming verses and unique illustrations instruct on letter sound, recognition, AND how to write the letter, thus its anatomy. Thoroughly entertaining, each letter's heartwarming personality and characteristics will engage and delight children as they discover what the letters do behind the scenes when they're not busy making words. The letters know that the journey to reading is inherently complex, and mastery of these essential skills is absolutely vital for future success. In Alphabet Anatomy, the letters love to share their lives, and their highest aspiration is that each child who meets them will embrace this wondrous journey, and develop a life-long love for not only reading but writing as well. Alphabet Anatomy teaches full understanding of the alphabet, that is, the four inter-connected components: 1. Letter shape knowledge or recognition; 2. Letter name knowledge; 3. Letter sound knowledge; 4. Letter writing ability. In addition, Alphabet Anatomy utilizes the four core elements which extensive research has proven effectively teach reading and provide a solid and effective foundation for proficient reading in later years: 1. Phonological awareness; 2. Letter identification; 3. Vocabulary development; 4. Recall and retell sentences and stories. Soon to come: Meet The Lower Case Letters

Jacey Thoughts (4 years old )
I laughed at the cover of the book.  I loved the "S" and that it was a snake.  My brother loves snakes so I knew he could really like this book too.  I loved all the colors and different pictures for each capital letter.  MY favorites were "O" and "J", especially since my name starts with J.
Right now my mom and I are working on learning the different sounds and how to write the letters in the alphabet so this book was a fun helping tool for me.  If you are learning your ABC's then you should pick this book up for you next time you want to get to know the Capital Letters.

Mom's Thoughts:
I remember back long ago when I was in first grade and there was this poster that hung on the wall in my classroom.  I used to love to stare at that poster and make up different stories about it each day.  What was the poster you asked?  It was the letters of the alphabet made to look like people.  I loved it!  I still think back to it and know that it was a very helpful for me to become as enthralled with learning as I am even now.
This book brings back those wonderful memories and helps establish that same attitude with my kids as I had when I was younger.  It is so much fun to personify objects ( in this case the basis for our language) into lovable characters we can relate to and laugh at; but most importantly enjoy and learn from.
If the illustrations weren't enough, this book also has rhyming.  And I am a firm believer in the fact it is easier to learn anything as long as it is in a enjoyable rhyme.
The only gripe I had was some of the words were a little hard to understand from a child's standpoint.  Deft, gait, and some other words that may have been a little advanced for my four year old.  (Actually, my older kids asked what deft meant too)  This isn't necessarily a bad thing; I just mention it because my children asked what these words mean.
Other than that  we loved the book and are looking forward to Meeting the Lower Case Letters when that book comes out.  We give it four stars!!!

Special Guest Reviewer: Nana's Thoughts:
My grandchild, Jace, couldn't wait to let me see the book he received in the mail for him to review.  I have been working with him trying to get him to love the alphabet as much as his older brothers do.  He has been a real working progress since he tends to want to do what he only wants to do.  But I noticed he was genuinely excited about reading this book with me and his mom.  He loved the way "J" was described and kept adding that "Jace" also starts with the letter J.
I really really liked the illustrations in this book.  I enjoyed the fresh new look at the alphabet and the way the letters' descriptions pertained to how they were written as well as a look into their "lives".  I think I chuckled at B:
 " He's 2 bellies fat, from eating big burgers all day as he sat."
I also liked how they used different words as well as old reliable words for the guides for the letters.  For example, you had A is for apples but instead of D being for dog it was for dive.  It worked with the description and explained how to write D.

I did notice there were a few words the older grandchildren asked what the meaning was but Jace was too mesmerized by the pictures to worry too much about the words he didn't understand.  Perhaps, the author added these words so this book could be used in the later grades because it still offers a learning experience, even after you learn your ABCs.  I enjoyed it too and I would like to give it four stars too.

Friday, January 25, 2013

ARC Book Review: Little Dinos Don't Bite by Michael Dahl

Title: Little Dinos Don't Bite
Author: Michael Dahl
Series: Little Dinos/Hello Genius
Illustrator: Adam Record
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Date of Publication: Feb. 1, 2013
Source: NetGalley and publisher
Want one? Get it here:  

Amazon | Barnes & Noble |

Book Description:
Little Dino must learn that even though he has nice, sharp teeth, he can’t bite anything — or anyone — he wants to.
For the youngest learners, fun, cheerful read-alouds that help guide a child’s first steps in learning and growing. With bright, bold art and humorous stories, the Little Dino books focus on troublesome behavior in a fun but constructive way.
From the Little Dinos/Hello Genius series. For ages 2-4.
* Bright, bold art featuring the ever-popular dinosaur
* Pushing, biting, yelling and hitting are common behaviors during a child's first 3 years - these books help address the issues in a light-hearted way* 12 other titles in the popular Hello Genius series featuring manners, times of day, and self-care

Jacey's Thoughts:
I laughed and laughed at everything that Little Dino does in this book!!! He tries to eat everything, or just bite it anyways.  The creepiest part (and funniest) was when he tried to bite his Mom's tail.  His Mom was not happy about it either.
I think this is a really good book because it teaches little kids, like me, not to bite things that are not good for us.  Instead we should bite apples, crackers, and cheeses.  These are healthy foods for us and they taste good too.
Oh and it is definitely not good to bite people.  Trust me, you will get into a lot of trouble for this!  A lot of trouble!
I loved Little Dinos Don't Bite!!!    I give it 20 stars!  (Of course Mom said we only had 5.)

Mom's Thoughts:
This book was short, sweet, and very helpful for a four year old that loves to chew on every single toy he gets.  Besides the wonderful message instilled in these colorful pages, the illustrations is probably what held my son's interest the most.  He loved watching Little Dino as he took bites out of everything he wasn't supposed to, and even laughed when he tried to capture his mom's tail in his mouth, which Jacey commented, "No,No No!!"
Jacey even wanted me to read it again and again.  I also noticed the older kids sneaking into the living room to look at the colorful book; as well as the occasional giggle that came from the boys.
This is a sweet little book that helps address a common problem among toddlers and preschoolers (present company included, Jacey).
I encourage you to pick this book up if you have that little Dino, that likes to bite things other than food, in your life.  I think I will give it five stars!

Monday, January 21, 2013

REVIEW: The Wizard of Oz (Great Illustrated Classics) by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz (Great Illustrated Classics) 
Title: The Wizard of Oz (Great Illustrated Classics)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Pages: 240
Publisher: Playmore Publishers
Date Published: August 22, 2000 (Original Pub. 1977)
Format: Hardback
Source: Bought

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Dorothy, a farm girl from Kansas, is whisked away by a cyclone to a mysterious and magical land called Oz. There she makes unforgettable friends: a talking scarecrow, a man made out of tin, and a cowardly lion afraid of his own shadow. Dorothy and her new friends follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City where they hope to have the famous wizard grant their wishes. But their path is thwarted by a wicked witch! Can Dorothy and her friends reach Oz and have their wishes granted?

The wizard gets Dorothy home. Dorothy sings and dances and makes new friends. She takes Toto with her. Toto is her dog. I liked The Wizard of Oz because Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch. I liked her friends.

Emma - Age 5

The Wizard of Oz was about getting to the Wizard and getting back home to Kansas. She makes friends with a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion and she meets some mice and winged monkeys. She got a whistle from the mice and a golden cap from the winged monkeys. She realizes that the Wizard is not really a great Wizard and she couldn't fly back home to Kansas because Toto ran off. I like that she finally got to kill the witch and she gets the ruby slippers. The scarecrow gets his brains, the tin man gets a heart and the lion gets some courage.

Jessica - Age 8

Mom's Thoughts
I enjoyed reading this book to the girls.  The Great Illustrated Classics are a great way to introduce children to the classics since the adaptations are more child friendly.  Emma enjoyed the fact that even though this was a thick chapter book it still had pictures on every page.  We were all a little amazed at how different the book is compared to the movie, which we've seen countless times.  I'd be interested in reading the entire Oz series.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

REVIEW: Zombie Dog by Clare Hutton

Zombie Dog (Rotten Apple #2)
Title: Zombie Dog
Author: Clare Hutton
Series: A Rotten Apple Book #2
Pages: 192
Publisher:  Scholastic, Inc. 
Date Published:  August 1, 2012
Format:  Paperback
Source:  Bought

Goodreads ~ Amazon

Rotten Apple Books: Unexpected. Unforgettable. Undead. Get bitten!

Becky's family has moved right next door to the creepy, abandoned McNally house. Rumors fly around school about the ghosts and monsters that live there, and Becky isn't sure what to believe. Even her mischievous dog, Bear, stays away from it.

When Becky starts hearing mysterious howls coming from next door, paired with an awful smell, she starts to wonder if the rumors might be true. Snarls and glowing eyes confirm it--something is over there, and it's not happy. Worse, Becky's parents are blaming Bear for all the unexplained damage around their property. Can Becky stop this creature before it's too late?

The house beside Becky has rumors about monsters and ghosts.  Weird things start happening and then there is a rotten smell from next door.  Zombie Dog was a scary book.  I liked when they discovered the zombie next door.  Nate and Becky were trying to put it to rest.  They tried Bear's ball because Becky had thrown away the zombie's ball and the zombie was mad about it.  When they found the zombie dog I got nervous.  I think this book was really good and very scary.  I think anybody that hears about this book should read it.  They will probably get freaked out! 

Jessica - Age 8

Mom's Thoughts
Jessica loves Monster High, but the books are geared more towards middle/high school grades.  We picked this book up (along with book #1, Mean Ghouls) at the book fair thinking that it would be similar.  In reality, these books are more like Goosebumps or Fear Street books.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just an FYI.  I don't think Jessica would have chosen them had she known how spooky they would be, but she really enjoyed Zombie Dog!  I thought the story was great, too.  Jessica and I are looking forward to reading Mean Ghouls next.  I recommend these books to anyone that enjoys spooky stories.  I think they are aimed more towards girls, but I see no reason why boys wouldn't enjoy them, too.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

ARC Book Review: Muddled Up Farm by Mike Dumbleton, Jobi Murphy

Title: Muddled-Up Farm
Author: Mike Dumbleton 
Illustrator: Jobi Murphy
Publisher: Star Bright Books
Expected Date of Publication: Mar. 15, 2013
Format: paperback, hardcover 32 pages
Source: received from Net Galley

Pre-Order your copy at: | Star Bright Books |

Book Description:
Muddled-up Farm is a very special place. From the cat to the cow, the pig and the goat it is full of surprises that will have young readers laughing out loud as they discover everything that is mixed up on Muddled-up Farm! Muddled-up Farm is a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book.

Mom's Thoughts:
I love reading books that are colorful, fun, and have learning hidden among the pages too.  This book has it all!  The illustrations are so bright, even a grown up could get a kick out of this book.  
Not to mention that the animals are a little different than on a regular farm!  My four year old laughed at all the different (and wrong) sounds of the many animals on this farm.  It was also very easy for him to follow along to and this will definitely be a must have for our library, especially since my older sons enjoyed reading it with us.  I give it 5 stars!

Jace's Thoughts:
My favorite colors are rainbow colored and this book has all the colors.  I loved it!  I also liked all the animals not knowing the sounds they were supposed to make- like the cat saying "moo".  That was so funny!  I told my mommy I wanted to get this for my birthday so I can read it every night and sleep with it.  I love all the animals too!  I think everybody should read this book.  It is so much fun!  

Add Muddled-Up Farm to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Review: Graveyard Scavenger Hunt (NightScares#1) by Brian Barnett

Title: Graveyard Scavenger Hunt
Series:NightScares book 1
Author: Brian Barnett
Format: ebook, novella 96 pages
Source: received from author for honest review
Publisher: Twenty or Less Press
Date of Publication: Nov. 16, 2012

Book Synopsis:
Pete is stuck with his weird grandparents for a whole week. To make matters worse, they live next door to a creepy old graveyard. After going in the graveyard alone one night, Pete finds himself face-to-face with a living skeleton, Benny “Bones” Barton.
The only way for Pete to leave the graveyard is to win Benny’s game, a scavenger hunt. Worse yet, if Benny wins, the dead get to come back to the living world. And Benny is a trickster and a cheater.

Mom's Thoughts:

This was a really fun story to read and I think it was the perfect start to a very interesting series!  It has that creepy feel with the graveyard being right next to Pete's grandparents' house, as well as Pete's grandparents coming off as very mysterious indeed.
Of course, we all know when you tell a kid not to do something-that is the first thing they will do, so it was no surprise when Pete jumps into the graveyard, even after Grandpa tells him not to.  It's what happens after the fact that takes us on a thrill ride.
Besides our main character Pete, we meet a lot of different characters that bring a lot of different elements to the story.  Even Benny Bones.  He is a mess indeed.  Let's just say he definitely is the bad guy and he does a splendid job of it too!
Some of the other guys in the story are wonderfully imaginative and I enjoyed learning a little about them.  Plus, the scavenger hunt idea is so fun to read along with it made me want to get a list and go save the world too!
I think kids from 9 years old and up would enjoy this story.  It held my attention and I especially enjoyed the bonding time with the grandparents.  That made the story much more enjoyable; having some really cool grandparents in it.
I gave it five stars!

Get your copy here:  Amazon
Connect with Brian Barnett:  Goodreads | Website