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)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Two Kids by Richard Levine

Two Kids by Richard Levine
By Richard Levine
Publisher's Synopsis:
Tall, gawky, and twelve, D.C. Blau stumbles into her cousin Becky's birthday party wearing a neon yellow T-shirt so bright it could burn someone's eyeballs out. Towering above the boys there and self-conscious about her height, she prefers to think that it's the boys who are the outliers, that Becky has more "dwarf" friends than Snow White -- but one among them catches her eye, Rob, a definite Bashful.

Strangely, though they've never before met, the tall girl and the shy boy take to each other like long lost pals. So begins an unusual tweenage friendship, one that carries the two kids though a year both terrible and wonderful. There's banter, and fun with fantasy. Ballplayers so huge they're named after mountains. An island populated with up-chucking vampire birds. Freaky fortunes from a funky fortune-teller lady. A flukey fishing trip, and a rollicking, roller-coaster of a small plane ride. Father's Day blues. And in the end, a climactic, life-changing event that spirals down from "out of the blue."

MrsK's Review:

How painful are those awkward years when your body is growing and "geekieness" seems to always be tripping you up. The story of DC and Rob begins one summer day. DC has just moved to town and her cousin is having an end of school party. Do you remember what it is like when those boy and girl parties first began?

Meet DC, she is a "too-tall, out-of-town girl." Her dad's candy store T-shirt is bright yellow which causes her to stand out (as if being tall doesn't). DC has a little brother, a baby sister on the way, and a father who thinks he's funny (weird humor). Her father is taking time off for the move and enjoys flying a small plane just for fun, of course many of his references are connected to flying in one way or another. DC considers her Captain Strangedad as an alien from the Planet Odd. Her mother is thirty five and pregnant. And, her little brother, Tommy is quite the artist. There are so many changes during this summer. DC begins enjoying their new home and a life of leisure, until the morning she finds her mother not responding.  

Meet Rob, he wonders how he missed the new "tall, pretty, and wearing a T-shirt that's so bright it just might burn your eyeballs out." Rob has his own type of humor, especially when he creates headlines for certain situations (Kiss,N Tell Gazette: Party Over, Cheek Kisses Exchanged). Rob's little sister might only be six, but she has personality that causes everyone to take notice to her newly acquired intelligence. Rob has always played baseball, and yet this summer he finds his concentration "swings off" to DC. During a game of hoops, Rob is close to beating his dad for the very first time (10-0)... when his entire world comes crashing down.

Life's tragedies will always create a void, and yet, a willingness to be a friend will provide moments of hope, joy, and the strength to keep moving forward as your parents begin a new season in their lives. Will this journey bring a happy ending or will it be only a fading memory for DC and Rob? 

The enjoyment of their story is enhanced with so many great headlines, word play, and foreshadowing. Their naivety about life, summer romance, and tragedy resonates with days gone by. It's all about walking through tough days knowing "You've got a Friend!"

Enjoy DC and Rob's story,
Friendship, Life, and First Love
Meet the Author:
 Richard Levine  Richard grew up in Jericho, Long Island, and practiced Diagnostic Radiology for many years before retiring. He and his wife have two daughters.
"I received this eBook for this review."
MDBR Book Promotion Services 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast
ISBN: 9780310331179
Publisher's Synopsis:
The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast is an inspiring resource for Christians who want to pursue a more intimate relationship with God through the 21-day commitment to prayer and fasting known as the Daniel Fast. As you deny yourself certain foods—such as sugars, processed ingredients, and solid fats—you will not only embrace healthier eating habits, you’ll also discover a greater awareness of God’s presence. Author Kristen Feola explains the Daniel Fast in easy-to-understand language, provides 21 thought-provoking devotionals for each day of the fast, and shares more than 100 tasty, easy-to-make recipes that follow fasting guidelines. In a conversational style, Feola helps you structure the fast so you can spend less time thinking about what to eat and more time focusing on God. You will also discover that “to fast” means “to feast” on the only thing that truly nourishes? God’s powerful Word. For more info, please visit

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Matthew 5:6
MrsK's Review:
Why this choice? Well, look at the enticing foods portrayed on the cover. Yum!  There are so many differing ways to fast. A fast takes a commitment to eliminate your every day cravings and begin a 21 day journey with scripture, refreshing your body with water, and creating meals with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds, and oils. Drawing closer to God through fasting is an offering in which you are asking our Lord for a closer relationship with Him.

In the first chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieges Jerusalem and brings a group of young Israelite men to his palace to serve as slaves. Given the change in foods prepared at the palace, Daniel requests that they are allowed to eat as is their custom. With that request, Daniel puts forth a test to see if he and the other young Israelite aren't healthier than the King's men.

The Biblical perspective (pgs. 13-22) provides the reader with a centering-focus within your mind. A balance for your heart and spirit in which your mind can freely accept the challenges with a cleansing fast. Preparing yourself spiritually is the first step. Kristen's outline has been lovingly detailed. She provides you with the essential physical and spiritual "tools" in order for your fasting success (pgs. 23-29). She provides daily scripture with her personal journey of encouragement, hope, what works, food for thought, and strength to see the fast through to completion (pgs. 33-59). For me these pages are the "meat and potatoes" for my fasting experience. I was encouraged and inspired by her convictions, her insights, and her devotion to helping me in this spiritual journey.

Weekly suggested meal plans (pgs. 63-67) allows you to think through your meal choices with ease and determination... the formatting is simply designed, yet masterfully crafted as if you had a personal trainer at home every step of the way. Recipes are separated within the following meal categories:
  • Breakfast Dishes: (pgs. 70-70-80) breakfast bars, oatmeal, cereal, muffins, smoothies, and fruit salads. First choice is the Nutty Fruit Cereal on pg. 77, quick, easy to prepare, and so refreshing before I dash off to work.
  • Appetizers and Snacks: (pgs. 82-101) dips, roasted nuts, muffins, flatbreads, cookies, salsa, chips, and trail mix. First choice is the salsa on page 96, zesty goodness as a munchies break between meals with either flatbread, chips, or veggies... excellent energy restorer.
  • Salads and Salad Dressings: (pgs. 102-116) fruits, nuts, veggies, legumes, herbs and oils. First choice is the Mega Greek Salad on page 106, so quick and easy (I wasn't sure I could do this one without the Feta, but it is so good). Second choice is the Spinach Salad on page 110, another quick salad with a zesty Italian dressing is perfect for weekend lunches and leftovers for Monday.
  •  Soups: (pgs. 118-135) vegetables, spices, and vegetable broth. First choice is my favored Black Bean Minestrone on page 119, and switching out the chicken broth for the vegetable broth made no difference in taste, choosing the Flatbread recipe on page 88 completed the meal. Second choice (not yet tried) is the Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup on page 121.
  • Vegetables: (pgs. 137-158) vegetables, sauces, nuts, chips, casseroles, roasted or baked. First choice is the Yukon Vegetable Bake page 158, potatoes, corn, onion, zucchini, basil, and garlic... yum!
  • Main Dishes: (pgs. 160-188) chili, pizza, rice, stuffed peppers, beans, nuts, wraps, casseroles, and tortillas. First choice the Wild Rice Casserole on page 187, so simple with comforting goodness (I was concerned that I would not like this without cheese but it is a meal that satisfies without compromising what a true "comfy" food meal is all about.
  • Juices: (pgs. 190-192) vegetable, fruit, blended and chilled. First choice had to be the Hello Sunshine Orange Juice on page 190, seriously a blended cup of refreshing joy (oranges, apples, and seedless grapes)... chilled and frothy.
Many of the recipes include Recipe Notes (substitutes, added ingredients, and an additional recipe combo). There are selection and preparation, and storing notes that add to the "friendliness" and convenience of this cook book.
I originally thought my daughter would love this book, unfortunately I have fallen "head over heals" with it, so...
Let my fasting begin,

Perfected recipes for every spiritual fast!

 Black Bean Minestrone   Blackberry, Avocado, and Mango Salad   Nutty Fruit Cereal
Meet the Author:
Kristen Feola, Author and Speaker    Kristen Feola is a well-known Christian author and speaker who helps people grow stronger in the Lord. Kristen’s first book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, was released in December 2010 and was among the Top 50 Christian bestsellers in February 2011. Her book continues to encourage individuals, small groups, and churches all around the world. Each January, Kristen also leads an online Daniel Fast through her website, Thousands of believers begin the New Year with Kristen through this unique fasting opportunity.

My greatest desire is to honor the Lord with my life. But, often I fall short. Some days I totally blow it.  Thankfully, our God is full of mercy and grace. He picks me up, holds me close, and reminds me how precious I am. God wants all of us to know Him in such a way. That’s precisely why I do what I do. Through my writing, I hope to inspire you to pursue God. I want you to understand more about who God is and how deeply he loves you.
I pray you’re strengthened and encouraged by the resources on this website. May the Lord bless you in every way as you seek Him!
"Those who long for the Lord and his righteousness will not be disappointed, because:"
He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.
Psalm 107:9

"I received this book for free from Book Look Bloggers."
I review for BookLook Bloggers

The Diaries of Robin's Toys by Ken and Angie Lake

 The Diaries of Robin's Toys
ISBN: 9781782260318
Publisher's Synopsis:
Robin and his Grandad buy a new toy from the car boot sale every weekend, and with the help of Grandad's magic spell, they bring them to life! Each toy has a fascinating new story to tell Robin, and helps to teach him some very important life lessons!

“Little toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
MrsK's Review:
There is a thrill that runs "amok" within your body, a type of "buzz" whenever a book is delivered to your door. I was so excited when this delightful box of adventures from the UK (yes, my first international book review) was delivered. Such joyful anticipation! Not only has this box of delightfully "stuffed" critters arrived safely, the journeys they tell are inviting, comforting, and very endearing.

Robin is a boy with excellent imagination. He adores his weekly "jaunts" with his Grandad. He is very intuitive and has a heart for others. Grandad can be a bit zany, fun, and devoted to Grandma's "needs." Grandad also has a talent for finding just the right critter with a story to be told. Grandma takes the day to bake treats for their return and once in awhile understands the "treasure" that Grandad brings back to her.
"Have you ever seen an old toy,
perhaps in a cupboard, or in the attic or loft?
Have you ever seen how sad they look at car boot sales,
unwanted and unloved?
Well, look at them closely, because every toy has a story to tell..." 
Meet the Critters:
  • Bertie the Bee:  "It has black and yellow stripes, huge eyes, and a fat body. It's wings were made of loops of wire and it had a big smile..." Bertie the Bee teaches Robin about how helpful bees are. Of course the lesson will be all about each bee having its own job and how working together brings a desired outcome. This tale helps Robin and his team realize that there is no I in team.
  • Carla the Cow: "This cow had a long sad face. She did not look happy at all."  The other animals found her to be "grumpy, bad mannered, bad tempered, selfish, and rude." Needless to say she was always complaining and therefore quite lonely. Robin learns that making an effort to be kind and doing something positive can be a life changer.
  • Carlos the Cod:"I wondered what the world looks like for a fish?" Carlos helps Robin understand why not all friends are the best type of a friend, especially if they are older and wanting you to do things that could get you in trouble. This is one of my favorite tales, what would those fish on the "other side of the glass" think about us?"
  • Donkey Hoo-Tee: "A rather tatty-looking donkey." With this tale, Robin learns about Spain, pack animals, and a friendship with the man from La Mancha. Sometimes a kindness can turn into a friendship for others. This tale took a turn, it not only taught about the animal... it taught a history lesson about a famous literary character. This proved to be a favorite for even the older listeners.
  • Clarence the Camel: As a "Ship of the Desert," Clarence's story not only teaches about the world of camels, Robin also learns the valuable lesson about humility and starting over when you were "just not good enough." Clarence helps Robin understand that others will treat you as you treat them and how dignity without boasting will provide wonderful encounters beyond your expectations.
  • Taffy the Rabbit: Taffy is a real "sporting" rabbit. Dressed in a red rugby suit, Taffy teaches about Wales and the countries pride in the national sport of rugby. Although Taffy's story is about the team having a carrot sale, Robin learns a valuable lesson about pulling his scout group into a sale as a way to get new camping gear for their summer camp out. Finding a solution once disappointment is conquered can bring about a treasure of shared moments.
  • Gavin the Gorilla and Snuffles: At the bottom of a box, Robin discovers a black furry gorilla. Gavin appears to be so scary that every one avoided him. That is until a "fragile" little dog is in need of help. When you just don't fit in, an unexpected friendship can bring about so many adventures, including a friend who will stand up for you when others are being bullies.
  • Leon the Lion: With a big bushy mane, Leon begins his story about a timid sort of lion. You see Leon would rather write stories or poems, he doesn't like being bossy or telling others what to do. Robin learns that having a gentle personality is quite often the much needed "talent" in so many situations. Just like Leon, Robin discovers that our talents are the best strengths for any situation, we just need to learn how and when to put them to use. Inviting others to join in activities that match their talents can bring about a treasured friendship for so many.
  • Geraldo the Giraffe: Geraldo is a "Gourmet Giraffe." He loves eating! Yet, with all the new recipes he also becomes quite sick. Learning how to eat healthy foods and the importance of exercising, Geraldo inspires Robin to help a classmate who might need a friend as a "health coach." It is always so rewarding when a new friend is willing to support you as you make a change for the better.
  • Roger the Reindeer: Roger is from Lapland, he is having serious trouble in reindeer school. In fact, he is considered lazy and unwilling to learn. In truth, Roger just doesn't understand reading or writing (a story close to my heart). Roger's inability to read directions creates such sadness, embarrassing moments, and loneliness. Yet, once Roger accepts help at a local library his life begins opening up new pathways of opportunities (can you guess where he might be heading?). Robin knows of a student in his class that is from Italy who just might have something in common with Roger.  
Not every tale is meant for Robin. Many of the tales bring a glimmer of hope, friendship, and love to others who Robin and Grandad meet. Every tale will plant a character building opportunity for those who are listening.

Take a moment to snuggle up with a young heart and get ready for a teachable moment,
Enjoyable tales, Excellent learning opportunities! 
Click the logo above to meet Robin's toys!
Meet the Author:
Ken Lake   I started writing in the summer of 2009 after a series of traumatic near-death experiences. During this ordeal, as I lingered in that mysterious ether between life and death I was given a wonderful gift, the talent to write. Immediately after my recovery I wrote my first book for my grandchildren; Grandad Ken's Bedtime Stories.This was followed by a book of humorous short stories for adults, Flying Pigs.
Then I wrote a trilogy of adventure mysteries for the 7 to 12 age group featuring Grandad and his two grandsons Ryan and Mikey. Grandad finds some magic glasses and sees the world as a child again. The first book is Grandad and the Magic Glasses.(Now on Amazon e books).  The adventures continued in Grandad and the Time Machine when they discovered the wonders of time travel. Finally the strange mysteries were solved in Grandad and the Search for Robin.
My next book explored the humour and the folklore of my native Norfolk. Dumplings to Demon Dogs. I followed that with the book I had to write, Colkirk Boy (now on Amazon e books). It follows the life and times of my Grandfather Charley Lake. Then I teamed up with my daughter Angie and signed a publishing contract with Sweet Cherry Publishing Ltd, for a set of ten books; The Diaries of Robin's Toys. These are currently in print, available on Amazon and selling very well.
We have already signed a contract for another set of ten books in the Robin series. The Diaries of Robin's Travels. These books are designed to help children with geography and history. Angie is also writing a set of five books for a slightly older age group for the same publisher. I have also completed another set of ten children's book based on ponies and people at a livery yard. This set will target younger children with an interest in ponies. So you can see why Ken and Angie have been labelled; one of the most successful and prolific father and daughter co-author partnerships writing today.

"I received these books for free for this review."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers by Diane Stortz

The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers
Retold by Diane Stortz
ISBN: 9780310746300
Publisher's Synopsis:
The sweetest things surround your little girl's life: hearts and flowers, kittens and puppies, umbrellas and tea parties, kisses and hugs. But the sweetest thing of all in her life is God's love. The Sweetest Story Bible for Toddlers includes eight beloved Bible stories that show how much God loves his people and your little girl. This board book includes a padded cover, perfect for reading with little ones.

MrsK's Review:
The key is "sweetest." This little board book has the most delightful Bible re-tellings. Using a two-page layout, this little book is easy to handle especially with a little one upon your lap. The story of Creation, of the Ark, of Moses, Esther, of Jesus' birth, Jesus with the children, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection are all portrayed with loving detail that is perfected for a little one's comprehension. Each story begins with the scripture passage at the top for older ones to explore beyond your "read aloud" time.

At bedtime, on a trip, or while tucking your little one in... this is the perfect little book for planting the harvest of love, faith, and God's promises. Choosing to give this as a baby gift, or a baptismal gift, or just for a little one's birthday will be a blessing that will last a life time. Consider this as a "Read It Forward" investment...

Worth snuggling up and reading over and over!
Meet the Author:
DianeStortzPic2_color  Diane Stortz has been involved with publishing for many years as an editor, editorial director, and author. Her children’s books include Jesus Loves You: A Read the Pictures Book, Let’s Shine Jesus’ Light on Halloween, Four Faithful Friends, and God’s Boredom Buster Plan. She is cofounder of the National Network of Parents of Missionaries and coauthor of Parents of Missionaries: How to Thrive and Stay Connected When Your Children and Grandchildren Serve Cross-Culturally. Diane is the mother of two grown daughters, and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and a Dutch house rabbit, Pepe.

Meet the Illustrator:
Sheila Bailey Sheila Bailey works in watercolor and digital media. In fact, it is this combination of tools that allows her to achieve her characteristic style. Sheila began her career as a designer and painter for Hallmark, Inc. Later, she became a featured designer Will Vinton Studios. Formerly published under the name Sheila Lucas, Sheila Bailey has been writing and illustrating children's literature for more than a decade. Away from her brush, Sheila enjoys gardening and tending to her koi pond. She currently lives in Redwood City, CA.

"I received this book for free from Book Look Bloggers."
I review for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Soup Club Cookbook by Allison, Carr, laskow, and Peacock

The Soup Club Cookbook: Feed Your Friends, Feed Your Family, Feed Yourself
By Courtney Allison, Tina Carr, Caroline Laskow, and Julie Peacock
ISBN: 9780770434625
Publisher's Synopsis:
Food-sharing is the hot new thing in the "getting dinner on the table" conversation, and in The Soup Club Cookbook, four busy moms share not only their formula for starting a soup club—which gives you at least three meals every month when you don't have to worry about dinner—but also 150 fantastic recipes for soups and sides and storing tips for stretching those meals across the week.

The Soup Club began when four friends (who, between them, have four husbands and ten hungry kids and several jobs) realized that they didn’t actually have to cook at home every night to take pleasure in a home-cooked meal. They simply had to join forces and share meals, even if they weren’t actually eating them together. Caroline, Courtney, Julie, and Tina happen to be neighbors, but a soup club is for anyone: colleagues, a group of workout buddies, a book club. All you need are a few people who simply want to have more home-cooked food in their lives.

In a soup club each person takes a turn making soup—and sometimes other dishes for sides or for when everyone needs a break from soup, so if a club has four people, in a month each person will have dinner delivered three times—a dish that can start as a full meal and stretch into more dinners or lunches or even morph into a sauce. Soup is forgiving, versatile, and perfect for sharing; it can be spiced to taste, topped elaborately or not at all, and dressed up or down. It travels well and reheats beautifully.  The Soup Club Cookbook also has dozens of tips for cooking in quantity and for tailoring soup to individual tastes and needs. Here, too, are simple guidelines for starting your own soup club, anecdotes, and a few cautionary tales  that will inspire anyone to share food and eat well.

 MrsK's Review:
Since our Booked to Dine book club started, I have enjoyed so many delicious meals and treats. This book was a "given" must read and share. Everything to get started is carefully outlined. These women have come up with such a unique option for everyone whose schedule is "unbelievably" busy. Who wouldn't want three nights off with a great meal for their family?

I appreciated their "voices" as they told you about their choices. It was refreshing to be "included" in their thoughts as they outline the making of their soups throughout the seasons.

"What we do is simple. We take turns cooking big posts of soup,
enough to feed our four families. We drop off the soup, 
along with sides and garnishes, at the homes of our three other club members.
This happens once a week, which means we cook our big pot of soup once a month."

With few rules, it seems that a commitment to cooking at home on a schedule leads to the joy of sharing with others. Of course we are all cooking on a schedule... we are all committed to providing "yummy" meals for our families. What we rarely do is share those meals beyond our tables. I adore this idea. I will be sharing this idea with my daughters and a few neighbors with the hope that I can experience, at least for one month, the joy of discovering "what's for dinner" in someone's kitchen. Even if I can't get three others willing to try a soup month with me, I like the idea that I could share eight quarts of my favorite soup with my book club at least once a year.

Just a few hi-lights to "tantalize" your taste buds: 
  • Discover the ease of creating your own soup broths (pgs. 30-31)
  • Try the Roasted Boccoli soup, there is an undiscovered sweetness in the flavoring (pg. 80)
  • What about a Potato Cheddar soup, yummy comfort on a chilly day (pg. 81)
  • No one will turn down the Sun-Dried Tomato soup, maybe it's the grilled cheese croutons that inspired this "yum" (pg.98)
  • Chilled soups for the hotter months (pgs.119-120)
  • Don't forget the Jewish Chicken Noodle soup, complete with Matzo ball goodness (pg. 135)
  • Perfected Italian Wedding soup to warm everyone's heart (pg. 147)
  • Beyond the soups... think salads with endless possibilities (pgs. 152-162)
  • Choosing and using the freshest of vegetables in the soups or as a side (pgs. 165-177)
  • Consideration of which bread, grain, or pasta for the meals touch of perfection (pgs. 179-199)
  • Big food favorites are dishes meant for get-together meals (pgs.201-217) 
The organization for each recipe is brilliant, easy to follow, with added inspirations or "trial & error" perspectives. No detail is left out of their first year of discoveries (some are even humorous). Each recipe has notations for delivery, for serving, and for what they have done to make it a better soup and/or experience. You will also discover how to add different types of toppings (pgs. 43-51), how to stock your pantry (pgs. 21-25), expert Firefighter tips about cooking in quantity (pg. 143), and of course...  never forget the cook's snacks (pgs. 225-235).

Don't forget the best part of preparing the soup... might just be the choice of the music,
Well organized... can't wait to get cooking!
 Click the above logo to connect to the website.
Meet the Authors:
We grew up in other places and settled in New York City. We are an educator, an ecologist, a filmmaker, a nutritionist, a yogi, a traveler, a feminist, a mother, a runner, a Dane, a Jew, a Yankee, a Christian, a vegetarian, a gardener, and a coffee drinker.
We make sure each other’s glasses are filled with seltzer or wine, as the case may be. We pick up, hang on to, feed, and hug each other’s kids with abandon. We try to be honest and kind and sometimes succeed at doing both.
We are four friends who cook and we are Soup Club.

 "I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Case of the Cursed DoDo by Jake G. Panda

The Case of the Cursed Dodo
ISBN: 9780990939115
Publisher's Synopsis:
If you're looking for trouble, you've found it. The name's Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I'm the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm's way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I'm calling this jungle noir The Case of the Cursed Dodo.
This hilarious first installment of The Endangered Files follows Jake, a hard-boiled panda detective, and an unusual cast of endangered creatures on a globe-trotting adventure that will appeal to young and old alike.

MrsK's Review:
"Dear Readers: This is not your garden-variety book.
It's actually a long-lost movie.
And the story's written in a rare film format called Endanger'D'Scope.
That means it might read a little different than what you're used to.
Don't be alarmed.
Think of yourself as a brave explorer, venturing into an uncharted type of fiction.
Something I'm calling Jungle Noir.
Now grab yourself a bucket of popcorn and kick back.
The show's about to begin..."

Every time I open a new book I discover a new connection with writer's. Everything about this opening "hook" promised an encounter with unexpected twists and turns which leaves you wanting more Jake G Panda cases.

As the case begins, Jake is in his "caged" office in the deep Moroccan forest:
"How'd I get in this jam?
It has somethin' to do with a lost suitcase,
a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals."

It all began in a "little joint" called the Last Resort where Jake works as the hotel "snoop" (the go-to guy, you know the detective that protects the occupants and anything valuable). "Protection" is his business and everyone knows to go to his office, Room 618.

On this day, Jake receives a postcard from the Professor who is always "hopping the globe," in search of any type of endangered artifacts. Little does Jake know that within minutes he would be getting an anxious phone call from the Professor. It seems that the Professor is in trouble, he located a mysterious suitcase in the Moroccan desert and it appears that he was being followed. I must warn you that thinking you are being followed and being nabbed in mid-sentence are not the same situations. What else could Jake do... he had to find the Professor which would all begin once he finds his way to the Critter Bazaar. Will he be able to find any type of a lead about the Professor? What could be so valuable about an old suitcase?

With a "free-falling" entrance, Jake enters the Midnight Oasis (a real sleazy joint). Unfortunately for Jake, the sleazy... no good... bad to the spine (more like slime) bad guys are everywhere. Once they know he is looking for the suitcase and the Professor, all sorts of mayhem is set into motion, including being poached as an endangered species (worth big bucks to those who are not so nice).

After an escape with the Professor, Jake finds himself in an underground tunnel with Nina the jackrabbit who has all the right moves. Her connections will get them back to the Last Resort. Would you have thought that a jackrabbit in camo could best everyone? Of course being connected with the Endangered Underground has its perks.

Whether its the twists and turns in a Moroccan bazaar, or it could have been the disastrous train attack,  and then again it might have been all the "shady" doings within the hotel (a huge revelation for our hotel detective)... regardless, you will be on the "brink" of laughter with every "sleuthing" detail. There is no character "un-described" that will not have you convinced that this detective is the real-deal... a true to the mold "gumshoe."

Are you wondering about the Dodo in the title? Sorry, I do not disclose any of the details that would keep you from opening this mystery... besides, you wouldn't believe me...  

As the reader, you are going to enjoy this journey... have fun!
A perfectly delightful mystery... 
A must enjoy for every independent reader!
Get it for your classroom and/or school library shelves.
 Meet the Author:
 Jake G. Panda  Jake G. Panda is a hard-nosed bear investigator. He likes bamboo and saving endangered animals. He is the author of The Endangered Files, a mystery series about his misadventures in the protection business.

His partner in crime, the fella who helps write these books because, let's be honest, it's not easy typing with big, clunky bear paws, resides somewhere in New England. He has written his fair share of stuff, mostly for the big screen. And some of it has actually been projected. He likes to keep a low profile and lets Jake do all the talking.
"I received this book for free 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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