MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One
ISBN: 9780763663391
 Net Galley Synopsis:
Yippie-i-oh! Saddle up for the first in a spin-off series.
Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse — until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters — Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy — for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.
"Yippie-i-oh," Leroy Ninker whispered to the screen. "That is the life for me.
A cowboy is who I was meant to be."
MrsK's Review:
Yippie-i-oh, there is so much fun to be had with this "want to be" cowboy.  This delightful tale has so many moments of joyous giggles just awaiting story time discovery.  The plot twists and turns at just the right moments.  The comical, and so characteristically defining illustrations sets the mood, the scene, and of course the pace of frolicking fun.  Add in the tantalizing word play and you have a winner for all ages.  The bonus is the "spin-off" connection to dear, sweet, toast-loving Mercy.

"Listen," said Beatrice. "What you have to do here is take fate in your hands and wrestle it to the ground."

That is all the encouragement that Leroy needed.  "Dang nib it," Leroy was going to get himself the "horse of his dreams."  Never mind that Maybelline, the horse, "enjoys the heck out of a compliment...meaning you got to talk sweet to her."  It didn't matter that Maybelline "eats a lot of grub!"  Or that she "gets lonesome quick."   The moment Leroy is up on her back, why the world was different.

With sweet, oh so sweet talking, Leroy shows Maybelline the way home.  How would you sweet talk a horse into a small apartment?  There just "aren't enough "yippie-i-ohs to describe" Leroy and Maybelline's first story together.  You just have to read to discover what a lightening storm can cause between these newly found friends.  Now, I don't want you worrying none... because... well, our friends Mercy and the Watsons will know just how to make a bad "fright" loose its moment of chaos.

Once again team DiCamillo and Van Dusen have given us the perfect "read- aloud."  Whether you are curled up for story time at home, or felt you were going to "burst" from laughing so hard in the library, or your teacher read this right before the bell rang to go home.  You will want to read this book again, and again, and "dang nib it" again.
  An enjoyable zany read!
Added to our library and classroom shelves.

Meet the author:
Kate DiCamillo  The theme of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances is a common thread in much of Kate DiCamillo's writing. DiCamillo, the newly named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature for 2014-2015, says about stories, "When we read together, we connect. Together, we see the world. Together, we see one another." Born in Philadelphia, the author lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue (Mercy Watson Series #1)     Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride (Mercy Watson Series #2)   Mercy Watson Fights Crime (Mercy Watson Series #3)
 To Mr. and Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig — she's a porcine wonder.
 And to the portly and good-natured Mercy, the Watsons are an excellent source of buttered toast,
 not to mention that buttery-toasty feeling she gets when she snuggles into bed with them.
Meet the illustrator:
Chris Van Dusen: I was born in Portland, Maine on St. Patrick’s Day, 1960. As a child, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing pictures. We didn’t have video games or computers to entertain us, so we drew instead. One of my brothers would sketch intricate war scenes. Another would draw animals so realistic you’d swear they were breathing. My specialty was aliens, robots and monsters. Dr. Seuss and Robert McCloskey were my heroes. I loved the rhythm of Dr. Seuss’ words and I was fascinated by the meticulous detail of Robert McCloskey’s illustrations. I had no idea back then that I’d end up writing and illustrating children’s books when I grew up.
"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review.
Candlewick Press

Reading Magic by Mem Fox

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever 
ISBN: 9780156035101
Publisher's Synopsis:
The must-have guide to reading with children, now in a new and revised edition
Best-selling children's author and internationally respected literacy expert Mem Fox reveals the incredible emotional and intellectual impact reading aloud to children has on their ability to learn to read. With passion and humor, Fox speaks of when, where, and why to read aloud and demonstrates how to read aloud to best effect and get the most out of a read-aloud session. She discusses the three secrets of reading, offers guidance on defining and choosing good books, and—for this new edition—includes two new chapters on boy readers and phonics, a foreword, and a list of "Twenty Books That Children Love." Filled with practical advice, activities, and inspiring true read-aloud miracles, this book is a turn-to classic for educators and parents.

MrsK's Review:
What a confirming, inspiring, and supporting read for every teacher... parent... grandparent... and everyone else involved in helping children to grow into life-long readers.
"To give them confidence, beginning readers need to be able to skim right from the start, which sounds like a contradiction: how can they skim if they can’t read? Rhymes and songs provide many words that are easy to “read” since children know in advance — by the predictable rhyme and rhythm — what the correct word will be at the end of a given sentence. They don’t have to “read-see” it. They can “read-guess” it. They begin to think of themselves as readers — the attitude comes first, and the skills follow."
When I share a book with others, I always say "this is one of my favorite reads."  Every time it is my truth for that moment... for that book... for that author... for each of those within the sound of my voice.  When I am searching for a book to share from my shelves, I always locate the treasured title... and yet there are so many that begin "crying" for me to pick them too.  This is one of those titles.

I first met Mem Fox as a beginning teacher and parent so long ago.  My daughter's summer reading explorations at the local library always included Possum Magic and Time for Bed.  So without question... when I was able to spend an evening with Mem Fox and how I could use her books in my classroom... well you can guess that I was thrilled.  Her stories are delightfully fun, the language is so well crafted that you know the experience will be engaging, and her characters are quite endearing.

After all these years, when I spied a stack of Reading Magic in my principals office I quickly asked, "Could I have one of those?"  As a staff we agreed that through out our next school year we would be revisiting, improving, and discussing our reading methods... strategies... philosophies... favored titles... and classroom tips.  Reading Magic was the first book agreed upon for our first book study.

Why was this book so eagerly valued?  Everyone on our staff has read and shared one of Mem's creations.  We trust her as an author.  We stand in agreement with her about "instilling a life-long love of books" in each of our students.  We can attest to the value and joy in reading-aloud.  Unfortunately, with a heavy heart, we also recognize the frustration parents have with a child who is completely baffled... disengaged... and even terrorized as a beginning reader.

Reading Magic has so many facets of inspirational "tried and true" examples, that I must admit I am at a lost in how to share them in a review such as this.  Too many for this blog space!  Yet, I can tell you that this book will be like opening a treasure chest, you will discover in it the fullness of precious moments.  
Each and every child deserves to have someone in their life that will take this book to heart and begin... 
"their joy of reading."

Amazing support for raising today's readers!
Added to my shelf... shared... bought as gifts... great book discussion tool!

Incidentally, have you read this study that shows how people are able to read and comprehend a paragraph even when all the letters in each word are scrambled, so long as the first and last letters are in place?
 More proof that we skim and guess quite a bit when we are reading.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 
ISBN: 978034550330
Publisher's Synopsis:
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.

MrsK's Review:
This is our August Booked to Dine choice. Since we live in Washington state south of Seattle, we knew we had to read and discuss this book. Our goal was to take a book club field trip to the corner of Bitter and Sweet, enjoy the Seattle way of life, and spend a day filled with laughter, good food, and great discoveries.

This historical fiction novel is set in two different time frames.  The retelling of the main character's childhood (1942-1945) and Henry's present journey (1986) taking place as he is uncovering the truth about where Keiko, his childhood friend, was taken.  These two time frames are brilliantly woven.  The quest and journey for truth forty years later is crafted like a tapestry with little snippets of memories as its threads, providing for the reader the history and relationships with in the character's mind and heart.

You meet Henry at the steps of the Panama Hotel as the press and onlookers are discovering the long forgotten belongings of those evacuated during WWII.  The current owner is showing a few of the items found during the hotel's renovation. Henry begins his quest for the truth once a parasol is opened. An image of Keiko with that parasol flickers within Henry's mind and begins smoldering into a desire to search the remaining belongings still stored beneath the hotel.

From the steps of the Panama Hotel, Henry's need to locate Keiko's items will be the "golden story thread" throughout the haunting historical facts about the WWII Japanese relocation in Washington State.  Those historical threads portrays the "ugliness" of fear, war, prejudice, and the worst of humanity.  The best of humanity is beautifully crafted beginning with Henry's devotion to a friend in the time of need.  It is "felt" as Henry's son and his fiance begin to uncover why Keiko is so important to Henry's quest.  You "watch" it as it unfolds with a cast of characters supporting Henry's quest: Sheldon the street musician; Mrs. Beatty the school's cafeteria lady; and the postal clerk whose identity becomes so crucial to Henry's life.

So many poignant stories about the WWII Japanese relocation have recently been penned and published, and this story is just as courageous.  What history can teach us should be guiding our steps today.  How each individual life helps or destroys the lives of others is embedded within the pages beyond the ink... it goes deeply into the choices of our actions and what we say, discuss, and choose to live by.

This is a journey worth experiencing,
Amazing and engaging read!
Added to my shelf
 Meet the Author:
Jamie Ford Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated in 1865 from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. Ford is an award-winning short-story writer.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Adventures with Ragweed by Linda Lee Crosby

Adventures with Ragweed
Linda Lee Crosby
ISBN: 9780615895383

Barnes & Noble Synopsis:
Adventures with Ragweed is a collection of humorous short stories filled with adventure and family themes. Ragweed is a tribute to the whimsical part of each of us. Follow this young teen and her best friend, Marney as they travel to Mexico for a fishing trip where the family is to shoot a pilot for a television show instead find themselves in an unexpected sea storm.

Laugh out loud as Ragweed takes on the tennis elite at the country club or attempts to rearrange their perfectly cut lawns. Always one to learn new things, this young freckled face gal with the unruly blonde hair builds a float, rides a horse and grows a garden. Each task done with her own unique vies of the world.

These stories are meant to entertain. It's difficult to narrow it down to one specific genre as the book is a collection of short stories suitable for young adults as well as for an older crowd with a sense of humor.
Family Relationships, Friendships, Essays and Humor are categories all presented within the pages of this book.

May you enjoy each tale as much as Ragweed enjoyed living the adventures.

MrsK's Review:
Such family fun!  There are ten delightful tales to read, re-tell, and have great adventures with.  Ragweed is an impish little girl.  She "sees" that there are always possibilities for improvement in every thing around her.  At first she views their manicured lawn as boring, so she decides that purple Lupines will make the yard "pop" with fun color.  Ragweed declares that she would like a garden.  Moms and Pops agree to a little "square" area of the yard. Between the gardener Carl and his mowing of everything that isn't wanted and Ragweed's determination to help the yard become colorful and mysteriously unique... well, just imagine the chaotic attempt to rid the yard of the "un-wanted" surprises.

Can you imagine the "yuck" that begins to transform a very well-to-do desert resort as Ragweed and her friend, Marney, experiment to see if it is really hot enough "to fry an egg" in front of the lobby.  Or what do you think will happen on Ragweed's "travel fishing show" trip to Mexico? Think about what could happen with Ragweed deciding to "do the chores" around the house, with the laundry, or even parking Pops' favorite (expensive) car.

Which ever escapade you choose to read, make sure you are reading it aloud.  These stories are meant for family reading fun, silly moments while on a road trip, and perfect for any classroom "before the bell" student fun!

Enjoy these head-shaking, chaotic, and laughable non-nonsensical treats,

Worth reading it!
"I would say that Ragweed is a tribute to the whimsical part of each of us.
She is committed to adventure... she loves life... all adventures are created equal...
 she views the world... as unlimited possibilities."
     Linda Lou Crosby is a video producer, storyteller and former professional athlete. Like Ragweed, she has a unique approach to life. Ragweed is a part of herself she wanted to share with others. Linda Lou has a great sense of humor and likes to laugh and make others laugh too. She currently lives with her husband in Montana and California where on clear days you can find her fishing, hunting or hiking.

 " Ragweed grew out of my experiences;
the little girl part of me that peered out and saw a world of entertaining adventures before her."
Adventures with Ragweed website and video

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fried and True by Lee Brian Schrager with Adeena Sussman

Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America's Best Fried Chicken and Sides    
Lee Brian Schrager with Adeena Sussman
ISBN: 9780770435226
Good Reads Synopsis:
Whether you prefer it cold out of the fridge or hot and crispy on a buttery biscuit, you will find your new favorite fried chicken recipe in Fried & True, serving up more than 50 recipes for America’s most decadently delicious food.

Lee Schrager has left no stone unturned in his quest to find America’s best fried chicken. From four-star restaurants to roadside fry shacks, you’ll learn how to brine your bird, give it a buttermilk bath, batter or even double batter it, season with loads of spices, and fry it up to golden perfection. Recipes to savor include:

--Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
--Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley-Caper Mayonnaise
--Marcus Samuelsson’s Coconut Fried Chicken with Collards and Gravy
--Jacques-Imo’s Fried Chicken and Smothered Cabbage
--The Loveless Café’s Fried Chicken and Hash Brown Casserole
--Blackberry Farm’s Sweet Tea–Brined Fried Chicken
--Charles Phan’s Hard Water Fried Chicken
--Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken
--Wylie Dufresne’s Popeyes-Style Chicken Tenders and Biscuits

Sink your teeth into Fried & True, the source of your next great fried chicken masterpiece and a tribute to America’s most beloved culinary treasure.

MrsK's Review
My grandma made the best fried chicken... I know... we all have some one in our family that we could say this about... and yet, she really was the best "Fried Chicken Queen."  Unfortunately, I was not able to learn from her the secrets of cooking her fried chicken.  So when this book was available for review... well I just had to know the "how-to" of cooking fried chicken.  I have Grandma's cast iron pan, and now... I have recipes to guide me.

So let's get started.  The very first "Awww... Thank You," began with the Fried Chicken 101 section.  "Stuffed" full of tips, necessary utensils, techniques, cooking points, and so much more... I shared this section with my kids as soon as I began reading it.  

Next I began browsing my way "across" America enjoying each of the restaurants history, owners, and menus.  Ok, I didn't really get through each of these sections... the chicken "side-dishes" kept me bouncing back and forth across America... more like a ricocheting bullet.

Then I began marking the recipes we would be trying out.  Not only are the recipes "user" friendly but the photo's screamed... Wait... try me!  So I began sharing and talking with my family, what should we be trying first?  Which of these should I mention in my review?  Which of the sides will be for dinner tomorrow?  And here's our list:
  • Arnold's braised turnip and collard greens (page 42)
  • Hattie B's velvety mashed potatoes (page 49)
  • Loveless Cafe's hash brown casserole (page 61)
  • Vanessa's red beans and rice (page 109)
  • Mary Mac's Tea Room tomato pie (page 117)
  • Popeye's buttermilk biscuits (page 159) 
Wait, the sides are important to every down home good, tasty, and satisfying chicken meal... but what about the fried chicken, after all it is the featured guest of honor...
  • Charles Gabriel's pan fried chicken (page 57)
  • Ray Boom Boom's hard fried chicken (page 97)
  • Martha Lou's fried chicken (page 135)
  • Fuller's Ma'Ono's Hawaiian fried chicken (page 200)
Next came the bonus section... the Master Frying Chart... fingertip layout for quick access cooking... loved it!  Finally, the yum taste testing began.  At the time of this posting we planned at least one fried chicken meal a week... what's on our "fry-off" for this week?  Martha Lou's fried chicken with Hattie B's velvety mashed potatoes...
From our table to yours, Enjoy...
  These "finger-licking" recipes must be on your self, excellent gift for family gatherings and holidays!

Lee Brian Schrager, best known as the founder of the Food Network New York City and South Beach Wine & Food Festivals, would argue that any time is a good time for fried chicken. But there are few better places in Miami than Yardbird, the ardently Southern eatery off Lincoln Road. We sat down for a proper meal with Schrager to chat about his new book, Fried & True (available May 20), which chronicles more than 50 of America’s best fried chicken recipes—both back-road and big-city iterations—and explores the phenomenon of what Schrager calls America’s “number-one guilty pleasure.”
Adeena Sussman I'm a food writer, cook, recipe developer, cooking instructor and restaurant critic who's been published in
Food & Wine, Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living, Cooking Light, Health, Self, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Sunset, The San Jose Mercury News and Hadassah.
I develop recipes with Food Network host Ellie Krieger. For the past 2 1/2 years, I've been a contributing editor and the lead restaurant critic for Manhattan Magazine, the latest city edition from Modern Luxury publications. For every issue I eat at one of the City's most sought-after hotspots and share my views on the scene, crowd, and—most importantly—the food.

I'm a graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education and, more importantly, of my late mother Stephanie Sussman's kitchen, where she imparted a passion for cooking and entertaining that has helped inform both my career path and many appetites. Having grown up in a traditional Jewish home and lived in Israel for several years, I'm well-versed in kosher dietary laws. Some of my work reflects my background, but I'm not limited to that arena.
Mrs. K reviews for:  
"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."
Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Forever With You by Robin Jones Gunn

Title: Forever With You, Author: Robin Jones Gunn
ISBN: 9780982877218

Good Reads Synopsis:
Now that they have been married for almost two years, Christy and Todd are facing challenges neither of them expected. Everything that felt familiar in their relationship is being shaken. All they had hoped for in their future together is about to change.

When Christy shares her life-altering news with Todd, she doesn't receive the joyful response she was expecting. Aunt Marti inserts a few strong opinions about how the young couple should navigate this difficult season and when Todd's dad asks for help renovating his Newport Beach home it's clear that nothing will ever be the same for them again.

As Christy and Todd's relationship is radically altered will they continue to drift apart? Or will they come through the major shifts with a deeper love each for other and the One who brought them together in the first place?

MrsK's Review
With great anticipation... excitement... and a dash of honor... I ripped open the shipping envelope and began a little jig of joy.  I had Robin's newest Christy and Todd book in my hands.  This isn't just another Christy & Todd book, oh no, this is about their first years of marriage. Once word got around that I would be reviewing this book, well let's just say I became so popular with so many Robin's fans.  The waiting list may be long, their anticipation will have to wait... I will be on the porch enjoying my newest book.

In the mean time while you are awaiting your chance to read a copy... meet Christy Miller:

What a wonderful summer retreat.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Christy and Todd. Isn't it a joy when you turn the last page and you sit back as if you have just finished a Thanksgiving meal.  Completely satisfied... smiling... and feeling as if all is right in your world.

To begin your visit you must know that it has already been two years since you attended their wedding.  Married life is shaping into that period of challenges, changing expectations, and realizing that life isn't always following "your" outline.  Christy has those moments when, as a wife, she struggles to follow Todd's lead.  Todd has those moments for discerning what will be best for them, their future, and God's plan.  With every decision there is a waiting period, one in which while waiting on the Lord to confirm your next step you must rely on scripture passages and your family or friends to pray with you.  So as Christy and Todd walk through some tough times, we witness the power of a faith born and modeled in a very realistic scenario for so many married couples.

The strength of these characters is their natural "faith" in God's word, His ability to provide, and His plan/will for their lives.  This type of strength endures due to the desire to walk out the challenges with prayer.  Standing together for an answer to prayer.  Being willing to be patient, loving, and supportive of each other in times of struggles.  It is so refreshing to read stories in which the characters are so well faceted that you are comfortable with where the story line is going (joyously, with sorrow, or with trepidation) you trust the author's purpose. 

Any of us who have survived those first five years of marriage can stand united with a witness that the road ahead will get better, that there will be joy, and that each season of life will work itself out as long as there is patience and love (1 Corinthians 13:4).

Christy and Todd is an ongoing series.  Many of us have read and enjoyed their meeting, their high school years, their college ups and downs, and finally the celebration of their wedding.  Robin has not disappointed her fans, this book is all about hope and strength.  The storyline is so well woven between these young lives... their needs, their hopes, their foundation of friends, and their family support that you enjoy observing as their lives together begin to unfold.  We are given the assurance that every season of marriage will be forth coming and that there will be so many moments to add to our Christy and Todd scrapbook.

Comforting, loving, and inspiring....
Beautifully crafted read , excellent addition to any shelf including middle school and high school library shelves!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crater Trueblood and the Lunar Rescue Company by Homer Hickman

ISBN: 978-1-59554-662-3
Book Look Synopsis:
The Earth is devastated and the worst elements of humanity are determined to take over the moon. It's up to the settlers of the harsh, gray moon to fight back.

Kidnapped by an evil group intent on the destruction of the world and capture of the moon, Maria Medaris, co-leader of the moon's richest and most powerful family, initially fights for her life, but is soon dazzled by the promises and enticements of her captors.
Crater Trueblood, once rejected by Maria but still in love with her, and Crescent, a female bioengineered warrior fiercely loyal to Crater, use their cunning and deadly skills to come to her aid.

But will Maria be on their side when they get to her? And what of the Earth itself which is in the crosshairs of a destruction not seen since the massive extinction of the dinosaurs?
The fate of two worlds hangs in the balance.

MrsK's Review:
This is the third book in the series.  It begins with Dr. Maria Medaris (now 21) going about her daily duties for the family's Medaris Enterprises in Armstrong City.  With slick transports, the world of social bloggers, shimmering workpads, lauchpads, and illegal "gillies," Dr. Medaris' day never ends.  Have I mentioned that all of this takes place on the moon?

As the plot thickens, you will discover that not all creatures made by man are well designed.  Not all families have a loyalty that will endure temptations... greed... and protection of those closest to them.  With an explosion at the sight where the Tombaugh Telescope project was underway, a life altering kidnapping was occurring.  Dr. Medaris is taken and everyone is looking for her.  There was no warning... no clue as to her took her... and definitely no way that she will come out of this without facing the truth about her family.

The only hope she has is with Crater Trueblood.  Not only did Crater and Dr. Medaris have the only two "gillies" left in the universe, they at one time were very interested in each other.  Crater must find a "fuser" that can fly.  He will need the help of those that he once trusted and he will need to get to L5 quickly.

While Dr. Medaris is being tortured by a biologically manipulated creature (BKD4284), her father is busy planning a take over of the Medaris family enterprises.  Given a financial takeover, the Colonel must enter space and get to L5 before all of the enterprises become worthless or worse... Will there be a coup?  Will everything the Colonel has designed become exposed?  Will Dr. Medaris keep her silence and endure the torture?  Will Crater Trueblood save Dr. Medaris?  Will either of them survive and if they do, what will the moon look like once the invasion is over?  Will those delightful "gillies" get over their feud?

This is a great mystery with excellent action scenes and powerful characters that you will either support or hate.  The futuristic technology is well defined so there is never a moment that you are confused about what the innovations can or can't do.  The only area left to discover in space is how the author will get Crater, Crescent, and Dr. Medaris out of L5 and safe from each other!

An excellent Sci-Fi adventure... a must for every classroom and library shelf!

 Crater     Crescent
Meet the Author:
A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Hickam served as a First Lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1967-1968 where he won the Army Commendation and Bronze Star medals. He served six years on active duty, leaving the service with the rank of Captain. 

 In 1998, Delacorte Press published Hickam's second book, Rocket Boys: A Memoir, the story of his life in the little town of Coalwood, West Virginia. It became an instant classic. Rocket Boys has since been translated into eight languages and also released as an abridged audio book and electronic book. Among it's many honors, it was selected by the New York Times as one of its "Great Books of 1998" and was an alternate "Book-of-the-Month" selection for both the Literary Guild and Doubleday book clubs. Rocket Boys was also nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as Best Biography of 1998. In February, 1999, Universal Studios released its critically-acclaimed film October Sky, based on Rocket Boys (The title October Sky is an anagram of Rocket Boys). Delacorte subsequently released a mass market paperback of Rocket Boys, re-titled October Sky. October Sky reached the New York Times # 1 position on their best-seller list.

He began employment with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Marshall Space Flight Center in 1981 as an aerospace engineer. During his NASA career, Mr. Hickam worked in spacecraft design and crew training. His specialties at NASA included training astronauts on science payloads, and extravehicular activities (EVA). He also trained astronaut crews for many Spacelab and Space Shuttle missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope deployment mission, the first two Hubble repair missions, Spacelab-J (the first Japanese astronauts), and the Solar Max repair mission.
Thomas Nelson
I review for BookLook Bloggers
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. 
I was not required to write a positive review. 
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> :
 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Oliver and the Seawigs
Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
ISBN: 978-0-385-38790-3 eBook
  Net Galley Synopsis:
A lively step up from early chapter books, 
this seafaring romp is packed with hilarious art, lovable misfits, meddlesome monkeys, and tons of kid appeal.
When Oliver's explorer parents go missing, he sets sail on a rescue mission with some new, unexpected friends: a grumpy albatross, a nearsighted mermaid . . . even a living island! But the high seas are even more exciting, unusual, and full of mischief than Oliver could have imagined. Can he and his crew spar with sarcastic seaweed, outrun an army of sea monkeys, win a fabulous maritime fashion contest, and defeat a wicked sea captain in time to save Mom and Dad?

MrsK's Review:
If a title can catch your eye... If a cover can hook you into checking out the back cover... If the back cover can tease you enough to open the book... well this did all of that and more.  What is a Seawig?  What is that boy hanging down from?  What are not-so-imposing tales?  As a Librarian... I must know more.

Oliver Crisp has parents who are explorers.  Oliver is now ten and was so excited to be going to a home that would become more than a vacation stop.  His parents have explored every where around the globe, there was no where left to explore, absolutely no "blank spaces left on the map."

When the family arrived at their home by Deepwater Bay, Oliver saw a grand home complete with a view overlooking the bay and a cove.  Oliver especially noticed the many rooms to settle down in.  Yet his parents saw many little unmapped, uncharted, and unexplored islands.  So... while his parents got their inflatable dinghy... Oliver...
"...opened the window to let in the air, and the sea wind, and the cries of the gulls."

Just imagine having your own room, your own home, your own everything.  Once Oliver began to unpack, the time just slips away.  Especially if you have books to sort and to put on shelves (shelves by the way that you have never had the opportunity to arrange before).  
"As the bars of sunlight began to move along the wall..."
Oliver realizes that he hadn't heard his parents talking in quite a long time.  Gosh, at the window... Oliver discovers that the islands were gone!  Gone, really... really gone. Gone as in vanished!  Only the orange inflatable dinghy could be seen.

Normally this would be a frightening event, but Oliver's life with parents who are explorers has never been a normal adventure.  You might be wondering what Oliver would be thinking?  Yep, he thought he would go and get the dinghy, set out in it, and find his parents.

Adventures can begin at any moment and for Oliver once he met the wandering albatross, known to us as Mr. Culpepper, his adventure begins like any good story should begin.  Mr. Culpepper begins to explain about the islands and about... well really, who would have thought that a far-sighted mermaid would run intto a little spit of land. Oliver notices that her eye is beginning to blacken and inquires as to why she ran into the tiny island.  Iris is a bit of loner, she can't tell the difference between a handsome fisherman or a walrus!  So she was on her way to see an optician at Farsight Cove when she ran into them.

Have you ever heard of a "rambling isle?"  No, well neither had I... and yet, that is exactly what Oliver, Mr. Culpepper, and Iris is drifting on.  And you know what else... it's not just a floating piece of land... oh no, it's a very big stony giant.  Cliff, that's the shortened name Oliver gives him, explains how all the rambling isles are on their way to the Hallowed Shallows for the Night of the Seawigs.  Seawigs... yep, it's a party and the giant with the best sea---wig wins.

There are so many delightfully silly characters yet to meet.  Oliver will "hook" up with his parents.  Cliff will need to decide if he is going to be bullied by Thurlstone (a very big isle with an attitude and a surprised captain who is on a power-control rage).  Mr. and Mrs. Crisp will need to discover that there is no place better to explore than their own cove.  Iris and Mr. Culpepper will need to find out what a friendship is worth.  And Oliver, well let's just say he has a grand adventure from this point on.

When I first had the opportunity to review this story, I was thrilled because its author, Philip Reeve, wrote one of my all time favorite fantasy book shares... Larklight (click to take a look inside).  This was a rollicking good read.  The illustrations are so full of life, with just the right dash of zaniness to add personality to these "kooky" characters.  The story line weaves in and out of great adventures which will leave you wanting more... and there will be more!

Enjoy this sea-fairing journey,
 Take a look inside

Enjoyable read... An excellent adventure... a must for every classroom and library shelf! 

About the Author:

PHILIP REEVE is the acclaimed author of the Mortal Engines/Predator Cities series, the Fever Crumb series, and Here Lies Arthur (2008 Carnegie Medal Winner). He was born and raised in the seaside town of Brighton, and has been writing down adventures since he was five years old. (

About the Illustrator:
SARAH McINTYRE has written and illustrated several picture books and comics for children. Her delightfully over-the-top drawings and mischievious monkey illustrations brought Philip and Sarah together for this series. (

"I received this ebook for free from Net Galley for this review."

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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