Friday, January 27, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday :-)

Merry as a Cricket With Pocketful of Chocolate
written by Lynn Kelley (yes, our Lynn Kelley!), illustrated by Judy Jarrett
Fiction, Whippersnapper Books, 2000

Suitable For:
ages 5 and up

Faith, friendship, and caring.

It was that time of year again, time for St. Anne's parish carnival. Father Leong, the new associate pastor, arrived the day before the big event.
"What can I do to help?" he asked Mrs. Warner, the Director of Religious Education.
"Oh, Father," Mrs. Warner answered, "why don't you just mingle with the flock. The people want to get to know you."
"Hmmm," Father Leong mused, smiling and rubbing
his chin.

Liddy Bennett discovers why Mr. Demski, the church grump, is so mean and grouchy; he's in mourning for his wife. At the church carnival, a clown and some friends help him find joy and happiness in the midst of his sadness.

Why I loved it:
This book teaches kids to look for reasons why people may seem unhappy on the inside. It teaches caring and true friendship. It also shows us that not everything is as it seems. There is a surprise twist at the end of Merry as a Cricket. The writing is fun and inspired, the illustrations are creative and playful.

There is a picture dictionary in the back of the book.

For more picture books visit Susanna Leonard Hill and click around to all the Perfect Picture Book Friday posts.

I won't be here Monday. I'll be writing my heart out. See you next Friday! Smooch!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Black Shard, by Victoria Simcox

Late last summer I reviewed The Magic Warble, by Victoria Simcox and was thrilled with the storyline, the characters, the setting, and the plot. Ivy loved it too and could not wait for Victoria's sequel to come out. She asked me several times if Victoria had emailed me that the second book was out. Well. It. Finally. Happened.

The blurb:

The Black Shard, Victoria Simcox’s fast-paced, intricately woven sequel to The Magic Warble, takes Kristina Kingsly and her schoolmates back to Bernovem … and into a thrilling, often dangerous adventure.
Kristina’s stay at summer horse camp is horrible to say the least, and it’s all because Hester and Davina are there as well, making her life miserable. When Hester’s cruel prank goes terribly wrong, it’s actually what sends the three girls back to the magical land of Bernovem. In Bernovem, Kristina is very excited to see her former friend, Prince Werrien. When he invites her to sail with him on his ship to his homeland Tezerel, putting it simply, Kristina can’t refuse.
Reunited with her gnome, dwarf, animal, fairy friends … and best of all, Werrien, things seem like they couldn’t get any better for Kristina. But when Werrien becomes fascinated with an unusual seeing stone, the “Black Shard”, Kristina is haunted by a ghostlike old hag. Struggling against suspicion, guilt, illness, and ultimately the one who wants to possess her soul, Kristina will see it’s in her weakest moment that she will encounter more strength than she has ever known.

The Review:

When we opened the box the first thing we noticed on the cover is how much older Kristina is. And that's as it should be. She is fifteen now and back to her regular life. Kristina is headed off to horseback riding camp. Only one problem. Davina and Hester from The Magic Warble will also be there. Did I mention how mean they are? The three  find themselves back in Bernovem and the quest begins. Prince Werrien (can anyone say romantic tension) is there and so are the dwarfs, fairies, and the gnomes. We are introduced to new characters too. Whew! This story is fast paced with super fantastic description, lovely characters, and unexpected surprises. The way she sets up the scenes amazes me. There is just enough back story so that anyone could join in, but I recommend that you read the first one. Why not start this beautiful fantasy story where it begins? And I feel I must say something about the plague. No! I won't. It's hard to write the review without giving away the plot. But I want you to visit this world as we did. Unaware of what might happen. Surprised with all of the twists and turns we take in this magical world. The world building is awesome. Awesome!!!!!!!! Did I say romantic tension? Very innocent. Very sweet. 

Just to whet your appetite here is an excerpt from chapter one: The summer horse horse-camp experience was not turning out the way Kristina had hoped it would have. The fact that she went along with
Davina Pavey, the seventeen-year-old girl with the maturity level of a twelve-year-old, should have been a big enough red flag warning her not to go, but it wasn’t. In this case, the flag could have been the size of a barn
door, and it still wouldn’t have mattered, because Kristina’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kingsly, were the ones who made Kristina go in the first place.
They were tickled pink, to say the least, when their daughter was invited by Davina’s parents to go with Davina to the Tranquil Trails Horse Ranch, to participate in a week-long stay at a teen-girl riding camp. Unfortunately, the Kingslys just happened to overlook one minor detail; Davina and Kristina
could hardly stand each other. 

And here is what Ivy had to say about The Black Shard: 

It's AWESSSSOOOMMME! While reading series books, most of the time the second book is never as good as the first one. But Ms. Simcox! The Black Shard lived past my expectations. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good! No wait. It is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO awesomely awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The surprises you had for us in the book were like picking up a rock and finding a diamond instead. I only have one question: When is book three coming out??????? You are the most awesome (published) :-)writer in the world. I love your world. Just think how lucky you are. You get to spend your days in that world. Every day! Thank you Ms. Simcox!

So there you have the expert opinion of an eighth grade girl who loves Victoria Simcox more with every book she writes. :-)

Wanna buy this lovely book?  Just look at that cover! Isn't it inviting?

My Book Orders

Thanks for reading. Special thanks to Victoria Simcox for making a certain fourteen-year-old girl very happy! xoxoxoxo

Friday, January 20, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

The Pea in Peanut Butter 
written by Allyn M. Stotz, illustrated by Valerie Bouthyette 
Fiction, FutureWord Publishing, May 2011 (coloring book edition pubbed Nov. 2011). 
For ages 3-6

Teaches good eating habits to picky eaters
Besides introducing the color of different foods, teachers can/should use the book to expose all of the great  reasons to eat these nutritional foods.

I love the super duper, gummy yummy,
sticky lickin', and belly rubbin' taste of
peanut butter.
If Mommy would let me I'd spread it on hotdogs,
fish sticks,  chips and pancakes.
I'd eat it on bananas, grapes, apples, and frosted flakes. "Can I have more peanut butter, Mommy?"
Mommy shook her head.  "No more peanut butter 
until you learn to like other foods."

Kailee loves peanut butter. A bedtime snack turns into a dance party with all of the foods in the kitchen pantry when they come to life. This story teaches young children 3 - 6 yrs. about the various healthy foods.

Why I loved it:
The illustrations pop right off the page, the story does too. Kailee is your typical little gal who knows what she wants to eat and that is peanut butter. :-)

Links To Resources:
The Pea in Peanut Butter Coloring Book Edition

For other picture book suggestions visit the brainchild of Picture Book Friday Susanna Leonard Hill 
Visit all the blogs, will ya? Happy weekend. And don't forget to come back Monday for my review of Victoria Simcox's next MG novel, The Black Shard. *hint* You gotta buy this book! :-) 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mojo Update/Short Post Cuz I'm Writin'!

This is me and my mojo. We found each other again. I love you, Mojo. *happy dance*

I want to thank you all for your mojo good wishes. You got me through a rough patch. Now that Mojo has returned, I have written and revised and even sang a song or two.

This is for you. All of you who live inside my computer. You are my friends. And I'z loves ya. Smooch! Squeezing you tight. :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

I have joined the gang in Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Fridays and I am living the dream as I write and read picture books.

The picture book I have chosen might make you wonder how it was even accepted for publication. I mean the title:
I'd Really Like to Eat a Child
written by Sylviane Donnio, illustrated by Dorothee De Monfreid    
Fiction, Random House, April 2007
This book was originally published in France. It is hilarious! 

Animal croc safety/ (Having trouble with this one.)
Every morning, Mama Crocodile would bring tasty bananas
to little Achilles for his breakfast , and each time she said in
wonder, "What a big boy you are getting to be, my son! And
how handsome! And what beautiful teeth you have!"

Little Achilles is tired of eating bananas for breakfast. Mama Crocodile was very worried until he tells her he wants to eat a child for breakfast. Mama tells him that children don't grow on banana trees, only bananas do.That's when Papa brings him a sausage as huge as a truck. But Achilles says, "No thanks Dad."
Achilles finally meets a child who is just right for eating. The story is a full circle book That's all I'll say. You have to read the book to find out if he really gobbles up the kid. This book is funny and kids love it. The illustrations are simple but wonderful and the sentences are short and snappy.

Links to resources:
I have not been able to find any. But there are a lot of animal safety games you could play with the kidlets to teach them about being kind to animals.

Need more picture books for the itty-bitty ones? Click the linky above and you'll find a fantastic list of them.

Friday the 13th? Yikes! :-) Have a great day. Smooch!

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm baaaack!!!!!!! :-)

I had a fantastic break and got lots done, but I seemed to have lost my mojo along the way. *sigh* It just up and left me. I think it packed all its bags too. So does that mean it isn't coming back? I have decided to bribe it with chocolate. And I signed up for Julie Hedlund's 12 x 12 in 2012. That is, 12 picture books in the 12 months that we call a year. I am very excited about this. (Thank you Julie!) This might swing mojo back my way. I also signed up for which is a wonderful site that mojo might like too. It's tough. Of the 1142 people who signed up, only 648 people still in. It is a great motivating tool for mojo. Now granted there are folks who already have 72 points, but my 31 points as of yesterday, puts a smile on my face. Want to see it?

Here I am. Oh Mojo, please come back!

I have also signed up for Perfect Picture Book Fridays. This is the brainchild of Susanna Leonard Hill. I think with all the prodding I'm doing my mojo should be back really, really, really soon. *buoyant* Plus, I have a boy middle grade novel that I am trying to work on. *would be floating if Mojo would hurry home*

Have you ever lost it?? Your mojo, I mean. Any words of advice?