I first heard of the BONE books when I worked in a bookstore two years ago. Kids and parents would come into the store all the time looking for them,...moreI first heard of the BONE books when I worked in a bookstore two years ago. Kids and parents would come into the store all the time looking for them, and I heard numerous stories about how they were wonderful and perfect for reluctant readers (it’s the pictures, you know). Surprisingly, I never picked one up to read and have still not read any of the Bone books – until now.
QUEST FOR THE SPARK is different from the original BONE books in that it’s primarily a novel with pictures spaced throughout, while the others had been graphic novels. However, I think any fans of the original series won’t mind the change, and highly enjoy the new addition to the Bone family. The book is most definitely the first in a series – it sets up the plot, characters and setting to be continued in the next books. We are introduced to our main character Tom and his friend Roderick the raccoon right off the bat. As the story continues, the other main players are added into the mix: the Bones, Percival, Abbey and Barclay, the Veni Yan Randolf, Lorimar and two rat creatures. We only get initial introductions to them all in this first book, though more-so for Tom and Roderick. I’m thinking we’ll get deeper into their characters as we go along.
The plot was set up well, with a lot of discovery and creepy dream sequences – it was pretty neat, actually. There is quite a bit of action that will keep the reader interested and on the edge of their seats, and the story seems to be setting up for a nice personal-discovery story for Tom. He’s a young boy, but I’m betting that he’ll do a lot of growing over the course of his quest.
I’m sure I would have enjoyed the story more if I had read the previous BONE books, just so I knew the world even a little bit, but the story can be read and understood without any previous experience with BONE. Previous fans will undoubtedly enjoy this new addition, and I highly recommend it to young readers; I know a couple of my grade twos would just devour it!(less)
THE DRAGON AND THE TURTLE GO ON SAFARI is a cute picture book with well-stated but subtle morals behind it. I really loved the illustrations of the bo...moreTHE DRAGON AND THE TURTLE GO ON SAFARI is a cute picture book with well-stated but subtle morals behind it. I really loved the illustrations of the book, they brought the characters of Padraig and Roger to life. The ideas of being brave, helping others and caring for others are wonderful lessons for a child to learn, and they are woven seamlessly throughout the story.
However, I kept being distracted by not knowing how to pronounce Padraig's name (google tells me it is pronounced PAW-rig) and by how much older (and British!) the two main characters sounded. I felt their speech was a little older than two boys would use, more like adults or maybe even young adults.
Overlooking those two things, though, this picture book is definitely a fun one and younger children will enjoy the pictures, animals and the idea of eating bugs!(less)
PEACE, LOVE AND CUPCAKES is the first book in the new series The Cupcake Club by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk, a mother-daughter writing team. This s...morePEACE, LOVE AND CUPCAKES is the first book in the new series The Cupcake Club by Sheryl Berk & Carrie Berk, a mother-daughter writing team. This series is going to be perfect for kids in the grade 4 and 5 age range as it revolves around Kylie, a grade four student.
Kylie has only been at her Connecticut school for a year, and grade four is just as awful as grade 3. Meredith, a popular girl at school, won’t stop making fun of her and saying cruel things and Kylie’s favourite teacher is moving. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, the new drama teacher turns out to be not so bad, and invites Kylie to help her put together a baking club. Gathering three other “outsiders” to the club, Kylie, Lexi, Sadie and Jenna soon go from a baking club to a cupcake club, selling cupcakes and banding together against Meredith and her bullying.
PEACE, LOVE AND CUPCAKES showcases wonderful character voices – Kylie and her friends talk and behave very much like many of the grade fours I know, and while they try to act as mature as possible they are still kids, and make mistakes. Though Meredith is a bully, Sheryl and Carrie Berk do a good job of showing the readers that Meredith is still a child as well, and as her own insecurities and confusion about her place in school. The obstacles that Kylie and the Cupcake Club have to overcome and quite realistic and will keep you turning the pages to figure out what will happen next, and if the girls will make the right choices.
Although a little skeptical that ten year olds would be able to handle the pressure and workload needed to run not just a Cupcake Club but a business, it is easy to set aside that skepticism and just enjoy reading about four grade four girls that manage to start up a successful cupcake selling business quite by accident. PEACE, LOVE AND CUPCAKES is a wonderful start to a fun new series, and the cupcake recipes found at the end of the book will allow for some sweet adventures in the kitchen while waiting for book two to hit shelves.
As an elementary school teacher, I’m constantly on the lookout for new picture book...moreOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
As an elementary school teacher, I’m constantly on the lookout for new picture books to be added to a classroom library that will not only entertain the students but provide a valuable source of life lessons (and beautiful artwork!). A FLOWER IN THE SNOW by Tracey Corderoy & Sophie Allsopp is one of those books.
Amidst beautiful, soft artwork Luna and Bear show the reader what it means to be a friend. When Bear finds a flower growing in the snow, he presents it to his best friend Luna. After it has wilted, Luna is deeply sad and nothing will cheer her up. Deciding that only another flower will do, Bear sets off to find one for his dear friend. He is gone for quite a while, and it is only once he has left that Luna begins to realize that it is not what Bear does or gives her, but Bear himself that is the real treasure of their friendship.
A FLOWER IN THE SNOW by Tracey Corderoy & Sophie Allsopp is a wonderfully told and beautifully illustrated story of what it means to be friends. I fully believe that not only will young children love listening to the story of Bear and Luna, but that parents, older siblings, caregivers and teachers will enjoy reading it to them. (less)
As an educator and a reader, Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story by Elisa Kleven appeal...moreOriginally posted at Escape Through the Pages with the same rating.
As an educator and a reader, Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story by Elisa Kleven appealed to me in a number of ways. The beautiful illustrations highlight the story of Claire, a glasswing butterfly who finds herself separated from her family. She makes the best of her situation and everything turns out ok for Claire in the end.
The story of Claire’s journey is filled with wonderful tidbits of information on not just glasswing butterflies, but the role that butterflies and other animals and insects (like pigeons, ants and ladybugs) play in nature. So even though Claire has been whisked away from her family and home, she begins to create a new home around her, through new friends and a small abandoned city lot with a few flowers in it. It’s a nice story of making the most of a situation, maintaining hope and forming new friendships all with an educational background of environment.
Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story by Elisa Kleven works perfectly with the curriculum in my area. Primary and grade one learn about habitats and life cycles, and many of the classes even hatch moths or butterflies. This story will fit in perfectly, and I can’t wait to read it out loud to them!(less)
THE SNATCHABOOK by Helen & Thomas Docherty is an adorable children’s book about the mysterious disappearance of story books. The heroine Eliza Brown finds the culprit and hatches a plan to get the books returned and keep everyone happy – including the elusive thief.
This book is so much fun to read out loud. The rhyme scheme of the narrative lends the words a musical quality and is perfect for catching and keeping a child’s interest. I’ve already read this one to a grade one class and they had a blast figuring out who was stealing all the books (one bright kid guessed right away it was the Snatchabook who “flew into town”), spotting the little creature on different pages and then recommending their own favourite books that they could share and read out loud if they were ever visited by the Snatchabook.
THE SNATCHABOOK is graced with quite wonderful illustrations that set the mood of each page and really allow children to explore Burrow Down and easily follow the progression of the story. Helen and Thomas Docherty have crafted a picture book treasure that I will definitely enjoy sharing with any and all future students.(less)