Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Bed for Fred

A Bed for Fred
by Lori Zoss
illustrated by Cheri Polk

Hardcover, 24 pages
Published November 16th 2013 by Hugo House Publishers
Fred has outgrown his lovely red bed. His dad wants to surprise him with a brand new big-dog bed. However, when Fred can't find his bed or his Dad, he grows worried and begins searching everywhere for them. His friends try to help him by showing him what they think of as good sleeping places - the cricket discovers a pile of leaves and the frog spies a log. Yet it is the wise old owl that helps Fred settle down and return home where his father is waiting with the surprise.
This is a cute, rhyming picture book about the big step from a baby bed to a big-kid bed. The illustrations are pleasant and the story fun. However, some of the rhymes seem a tad awkward and forced. Overall it gets the point across in a sweet way.

I received an e-galley via NetGalley.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Playing Dead

Playing Dead
Zombie Kid Diaries #1
by Fred Perry and David Hutchison
Paperback, 128 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Antarctic Press

An obvious parody of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid books with thinly veiled nods to Pokemon and various video games. However, I liked it more than I thought I would. Considering I am not much of a zombie fan, this is the second book in that genre I have read in the past couple weeks. (I liked Zombie Baseball Beatdown more). Bill has a rather unfortunate life made even more so by some of his mother's questionable cooking. Despite his new zombieness, Bill continues to do his regular things like going to school and doing just enough homework to keep a B-/C+ average then spending his free time mastering video games. He is in middle school now so there are all sorts of kids to deal with, including bullies, of course. This format will be popular for reluctant readers (mostly boys) who like humor and kind of gross zombie things.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Tesla's Attic

Tesla's Attic
Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published February 11th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion 
Nick moves with his family into his great-aunt's old house. He knows things are off to a rough start when a toaster falls from the attic and leaves him with stitches. He immediately decides to have a yard sale to clean all the junk out of the upstairs so he can have his bedroom there. The yard sale ends up being wildly successful and opens up a crazy world of adventure for Nick and his new friends. Danger comes from unexpected places and a secret society wants the terrible toaster along with other random household items he disposed of. What is the connection between everything and how will he handle everything? Shusterman's new series is a fun science fiction adventure with humor, drama, and mystery. A great choice for kids 5th grade and up.

Friday, February 21, 2014


by Amy Christine Parker

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers 
So apparently a newish sub-genre of the ever popular young adult dystopians is the teen finding out they are actually part of a cult when they thought they were the normal "saved" ones that were going to survive the end of days. The Compound by S. A. Bodeen is a great example of this. Another recent title is Escape from Eden by Elisa Nader. I didn't really know what this book, Gated, was about going into it. So I will not say much here other than the above to ruin it for anyone else wanting to read it. I think if I had known more going in it might not have been as intense and exciting of a read. I like that it is a complete novel and hopefully there won't be another one, but knowing the current trends, there probably will be:(

A Bag of Marbles: The Graphic Novel

a bag of marbles
by Joseph Joffo and Vincent Bailly

Paperback, 128 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Graphic Universe

This is a graphic novel memoir based on the bestselling true story of Joseph Jaffo. It follows the boys over a lengthy period as their life in Paris changed due to the war around them and the infiltration of Nazi soldiers. As Jews they were being persecuted, though they were pretty much too young to fully understand. So when the two boys are sent on a journey to get to a free zone and find their elder brothers, they see it as kind of a game. Eventually reality hits and they grow up. I liked the way this was portrayed as I think it will appeal to middle-school and older aged kids. Particularly boys who may be reluctant to read, especially historical fiction or biography, will be drawn to this format and be able to learn from such an accessible graphic novel. The artwork was decent, but sometimes the faces were a little too skewed and were a bit creepy to me.  

Strange Foods

Strange Foods
by Michael J. Rosen
Library, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Lerner Publishing Group

From Goodreads:
You might think anchovies and fruitcake are pretty weird foods. But wait until you hear about durian, a huge, spiky fruit that smells like gym socks. Or salmiakki, the licorice with a salty, fishy taste. And don’t forget kopi luwak, the coffee made from…poop! Discover all kinds of unusual foods from around the world!

My Thoughts:
The gross-factor will always attract readers - particularly young yet reluctant readers. Strange Foods is full of funny illustrations as well as photos of some of the most bizarre things that people eat around the world. The presentation is attractive and will find an audience with many kids. 

Welcome to the Tribe!

Welcome to the Tribe!
Tub & Tumtum #1
by Flora Grimaldi and Bannister
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by Graphic Universe

Tib finds a smallish red dinosaur but no one in his village believes him. All the grown-ups say dinosaurs disappeared a long time ago and all the kids just like to tease Tib about the birthmark on his face. Tib makes friends with Tumtum anyhow all the while trying to get others to see him. When the village is threatened by an unknown yet vicious predator, the hunters think maybe Tib did see a dinosaur and off they go to hunt him down. Tib, of course, must save his friend and the result of the hunt might surprise you a little. This is a fun little graphic novel for kids (1st-3rd graders will probably appreciate it the most).