Friday, July 29, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

This weeks entry is in honor of summer being almost over!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation By: Mark Teague

Wallace Bleff is telling the class about his summer vacation, he was sent on a train to visit his Aunt Fern. Along the way he is captured by cowboys that make him a cowhand.  He learns how to be a cowboy and then decides to go back to his Aunt's house with all his new cowboy friends. Near the end of his story the teacher is actually paying attention and he says he cannot wait for show and tell.

I love this book!  The pictures are what really drew me in, they are hysterical.  The way the teacher is portrayed as not quite paying attention in the beginning to how she is looking at him with a shocked expression at the end is so funny.  I love the way this boy's imagination flies away with his story. I plan to use this book as a first day activity with my class this year.

I purchased this book from  ISBN: 978-0-517-88556-7

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Fateful By: Cheri Schmidt
Danielle Darcey has left her home to attend art school in London. She is living with her aunt and uncle and cousin Brianna.  Brianna is showing her around town on the second day that she is living there and decides to go with her boyfriend leaving Danielle to figure out how get home. When she leaves the library after dark she is surprised to see a strange looking man standing by her car and even more surprised when in an attempt to get away from him he follows her. She is scared and begins to try to fight back with her karate skills but is unable to fight him. She is rescued by another young man and is left wondering who he is.  She finds out that the mystery guy is Ethan Deveroux.  She is instantly attracted to him and she thinks her is attracted to her too. They begin to date and she can tell there is something different about him. As they get closer his secrets are revealed to her, he is a vampire and he needs her to break what he considers the curse of the vampire.  He tells her that he does not know how to break the curse but that he knows she will help him because he feels like he has known her all his life. She is falling for him too and wants to help him. But that pesky vampire that was chasing her in the begining of the book will not let them be.  Will they find a way to break the curse, will Ethan have to turn Danielle into a vampire so they can be together, and will they get away from the dark vampires trying to hurt them?

I enjoyed this book. It was like many vampire books, girl falls in love with a vampire and they have to fight to be together. What set this book apart was that they are trying to cure him from being a vampire. They have no idea how to do it, just a clue that they have to decipher.  That part made it interesting.  I would say that this book would be  for high school or older students as there are situations that are mature.  :)  The good news is that there are two more books in this trilogy so the story will continue.

I purchased this book on the Kindle edition.  ISBN: 1461103991

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tiger Eyes

Tiger Eyes By: Judy Blume

Davey is experiencing a very tough situation. Her father was killed at his store during a hold-up.  Davey is trying to cope with the loss of her dad and the loss of her mom too as her mom sinks further into a depression.  Davey’s aunt and uncle who she hardly knows have agreed to let her family  visit them so that they can begin to heal. But as Davey realizes that this vacation might turn into something more permanent she is feeling even worse. She feels her life is slipping away.  She meets a young man, who calls himself Wolf, and they develop a friendship based on a common element in their life, Davey lost her dad and Wolf is losing his.   Davey’s brother seems to enjoy living with their aunt and uncle but Davey does not like how they have taken over being the parents of her and her brother as her mother slips further away.  Will Davey be able to overcome this event in her life? And will her mother finally realize that Davey needs her? 

I loved this book because it really hit many of the emotions of loss.  It would be best for a high school or older reader as it does touch on things such as teenage drinking. But it would be a great book for someone who wants to know what others might be thinking if they are going through the loss of a parent, or parental figure in their life.  I think that Blume truly showed the healing process and the relationships of the characters and their emotions were laid out fantastically.

I got this book from the Pima County Public Library. ISBN: 9-440-98469-6

Friday, July 22, 2011


This mornings Picture Perfect Friday is dedicated to one of my favorite characters, Olivia!

Olivia is the creation of Ian Falconer.Olivia has many many books out and her own television show! She is the pig who knows drama! Olivia loves to act, sing, dance, do art even when it gets her put in time out. Olivia has a huge imagination that she is always using, whether she becomes an opera singer, ballerina, or a circus performer.  I just love the spunk that Olivia shows!  The images that are in the book are hilarious as they show Olivia in all her glory!  These books are perfect for any age and show just how wonderful using your imagination  can be!
The original Olivia book is titled Olivia and is a Caldecott Honor Book!  ISBN: 0-689-82953-1

But I know that once you start reading Olivia you will have to go out and get them all!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Forever By: Maggie Stiefvater

Grace and Sam are meant to be together. But the life of being a werewolf is keeping them apart. Sam (who is now cured of being a wolf) is trying to find Grace after losing her to the woods as her wolf self, and every time Grace turns back to human she is trying to get back to him.  When she finally does they are thrilled to be back together again because they know they do not have much time together. Then, they find out that their friend Isabel’s father is trying to help kill all the wolves in the area. An unlikely support turns up to help them lead the wolves to safety. But will they get there in time? And will they find the cure that Cole is sure exists so that they can stay human and together all the time? 

This is the thrilling conclusion to a fantastic series. I loved the way that Stiefvater conveys her characters and makes you want to keep reading and you want the story to never end at the same time.  Grace and  Sam’s love story is a beautiful one that shows that even in hard times the commitment they have stays strong. This book is perfect for high school readers and above and will get you hooked. I do suggest you read the first two books in the series before this one so you know the history behind this story.  They are Shiver  and Linger. 

I purchased this book from  ISBN: 978-0-545-25908-8

This post was also featured on the Bite Club Blog as their Spooktacular Sunday Feature July 24, 2011  

Royally Crushed

Royally Crushed By: Niki Burnham
Valerie's parents have just told her that they are getting divorced, and that her mother has decided to go and live with her girlfriend.  Valerie is very upset about this news and has no idea how to tell anyone, so she doesn't. But when given the option to stay with her mom or leave with her dad to a small foreign country called Schwerinborg, Valerie decides to go and live with her dad. She thinks she might have lost all her friends by making this choice as they are very angry and upset with her.  Schwerinborg is not the place she thinks when her dad tells her that he is going to be working for the Prince of the country and that she is going to live in a palace, it is a dull boring country to her and she is not quite the happiest to be living there. Until she meets Georg, who she does not know at the time is the Prince's son (also a prince).  They form a quick friendship that they both want to be more. But because he is a prince there are many things keeping them apart.  Will they be able to be together no matter what other people think?
This is a collection of the three books about Valerie and Georg.  I thought it was a great teenage read. It read very easy and was really entertaining.  It was sort of like the Princess Diaries series.  Where there is a love and they cannot be together because of the stations that they are in.  It was about kids in high school so there are elements of high school drama.  I really liked the style of writing and was able to read it quickly, but the story was also a great one. I would recommend it to any who love a great royal love story!
I got this book at the Pima County Public Library ISBN: 978-1-4424-0648-3 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Also Known As Harper

Also Known As Harper By: Ann Haywood Leal
Harper is a poet and loves to share her poems at school to her teacher.  But Harper’s dad left a while ago and her mother is having trouble paying rent on their house. Harper comes home one day to find everything they own in the front lawn and her mother tells them they are moving.  They move into a motel where they meet a couple of other kids that live around there. Harper can no longer go to school because her mother needs to work more and she has to stay home with her brother.  Harper finds out that life is tough but if you stick together things can work out even if they are not perfect. Harper finds joy in her writing and is able to make the best of a really bad situation for their family.
This is a terrific story of a child overcoming the bad things that can happen and do happen to many children. Harper and her family are basically homeless people and she has trouble dealing with that. Her brother constantly looks for their father to return and is crushed every day that he does not.  I cried a lot while reading this book because it breaks my heart that some kids actually do live this way. It makes me want to drive around and find these kids and let them go to school where they could be normal for a while.
I was given this book from a  friend, it is written at about a 5th grade level, but very mature themes would make me say that maybe wait until middle school to have a child read this. 
ISBN: 978-0-545-24389-6

Friday, July 15, 2011


Stellaluna By: Janell Cannon

Stellaluna was raised by birds when her mom and she were attacked by an owl and she fell from the sky.  So Stellaluna does not act like the bat that she is.     She does not act like a bat but sees nothing wrong with it until the mother bird says she is doing things wrong. Stellaluna is sad and one day flies until she is to tired to go on.  When she wakes up she is looking into the face of another bat that tells her she is upside down.  She becomes friends with this bat and finds that she is right just the way she is.  And when she goes back to talk with her bird friends they find that while they are different they are all just the way they are supposed to be. 
I love this book! It teaches us that we are all special and different and that is okay. It also teaches us to be more kind to others that we think are different.  I think that this is a perfect read for any age to hear.  The reading level would be more for 2nd graders and up.
I purchased this book from the used book store Bookmans.
ISBN: 0-590-48379-X

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Forgiven By: Janet Fox
Kula Baker is facing something very difficult. She is trying to help save the life of her Father, but doesn’t know what exactly she is looking for.  Her father, an outlaw, is being put on trial for a murder that she knows he did not commit.  She has come to San Francisco to find a man who might help her find the box her father is looking for that he says can save him.  What she finds in San Francisco is more than she was looking for.  She is in a strange place with people she is not sure she can trust, and wants desperately to save some of the girls she sees who are being sold into slavery.  Kula has to make choices that she thinks will get her the answers she needs, but finds out that what appears to be happening might not always be the truth. 
This was a wonderful story of a girl who needs to find her way in life and to learn to help and trust others. The characters were endearing and made you feel like you knew them. I loved the writing style because it was easy to read and flowed nicely, all in all a great read.
I got this as part of a set with the book Faithful from Costco. 
ISBN: 978-0-14-241414-9

Saturday, July 9, 2011

We'll Never Forget You Roberto Clemente

We’ll Never Forget You, Roberto Clemente
By: Trudie Engle

This is the true story of the famous Puerto Rican baseball player Roberto Clemente. It follows his life from his young years in Puerto Rico learning to play baseball with a broom handle and a tin can, until his death.  It is written for younger readers, at about the 3rrd or 4th grade level. I enjoyed this book because it gave a lot of information about Roberto Clemente while also talking about what the United States was like during the Civil Rights era, and gave Roberto’s view of how differently black people were treated than white people.  I enjoyed learning about him and how wonderful of a person he was.
ISBN: 0-590-68881-2  This book is part of  a class set I have in my classroom from Scholastic.

How I Spent My Last Night On Earth

How I Spent My Last Night On Earth
By: Todd Strasser

What would you do if you found out that an asteroid was going to hit the Earth tomorrow?  This book follows Allegra who is thinking the same thing.  According to an internet source there is a huge asteroid heading  to destroy Earth, but she does not realize this until she gets to school in the morning and sees that things are just not right. People who never talk to each other  are all crowded together talking, not to mention the strange bad boy Andros is knocking on her window to chat with her.  After a strange assembly at school everyone decides what is the point of staying in class anyway if an asteroid is coming and ending their lives.  Allegra finds out that her kind of boyfriend and her best friend had a night of romance and so she heads to hang out on the beach with Andros.  Will she find happiness? Will the world end?
This was just a fun saw it at the library and thought it looked funny so I picked it up. Great beach read or teenage fun read.  I enjoyed it because it was so silly and hysterical.  ISBN: 978-1-4169-5411-8

Friday, July 8, 2011

3 PictureBooks Today!

Normally we have one picture book on Friday but today I have three to share that I reviewed for Net Galley. Enjoy!

Too Many Pears!  By Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

Too Many Pears! Is a hysterical book about a cow that likes to eat pears!  The cow, Pamela, loves any kind of pear and will go any  where to get them.  She shows up in all sorts of strange places like the kitchen, school lunch time, and is even able to crawl through a hole in the ground to get at the pear tree when Grandpa gets upset and builds a fence.  But one day Pamela eats 600 pears and gets a tummy ache. Will she ever eat a pear again? 
I loved this book because it was just so funny. The illustrations also made this book one of a kind. The pictures of the people’s faces in the story tell it all. They have shocked and surprised looks on their faces when Pamela is coming again for another pear. This book is just a great read to yourself or read out loud funny book that is sure to win over many children, and their favorite adult reader.
This book was one that I reviewed from
ISBN: 9781932065473

ABC is for Circus By: Patrick Hruby
ABC books are one of the most fun books to read because they are so creative. ABC is for Circus is no exception.  It has beautiful illustrations and covers things you might see in the circus.  It is a great book for children who are learning their alphabet and a great book for children who want to know about things they might see at the circus. I read this to my children before we went to the circus that was in town and they really enjoyed it.  The illustrations jump out at you and are very colorful. A wonderful ABC book!
This book was one that I reviewed from
ISBN: 9781934429617

Back-to –School Rules By: Laurie Friedman Illustrated by: Teresa Murfin
Ready to go back to school? Need some help on what to do when you’re there? Percy can help. In this creative and fun story  Percy tells you his 10 rules for going back to school.  He knows a lot of things about school and he is ready to tell you. My favorite of his rules is “Don’t be impolite”, I think that is the best one.  The illustrations in the book are also a lot of fun. They are creative and make the most important part of the rule they are describing stand out.  This would be a perfect book for a first day read aloud in your class because it is funny and has a good message as well, or a great read aloud to your own children the night before you have to go to back to school.  All in all a great read and I would definitely recommend it.
This book was one I reviewed from
ISBN: 9780761360704

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper’s Penguins By: Richard and Florence Atwater  Illustrations By: Robert Lawson

Mr. Popper loves his job and the people of Stillwater love him. He is a painter and decorator, the only problem is that he only works part of the year, but he does not mind because then he can spend the rest of the year studying his favorite places the Arctic and the Antarctic. He would love to travel to visit them someday and knows so much about them. Then one day the most unexpected thing happens, Mr. Popper receives a gift from the Antarctic, a penguin that he names Captain Cook.  Mr. Popper is thrilled and his kids are too, he wife is unsure.     Mr. Popper loves his new penguin and takes him everywhere, but Captain Cook begins to get sad so Mr. Popper doesn’t know what to do. Well a vet tells him his penguin is lonely so a zoo sends him a female penguin named Greta. Pretty soon Mr. Popper has 12 penguins living in his house.  That is a lot of mouths to feed so he gets them a job on stage. While this works for a little while it does not work out and Mr. Popper and the penguins are sent to jail.  What is to become of these animals and their family?  Read to find out.

I love this book. I want to use it with my class this year and that is why I re read it.  I know that it is a movie and would like to see how they changed it for film. It would be  a great assignment to compare the two. I love the story for its totally ridiculous nature and its fun.  It has so many quirky things that are so funny and totally outrageous like having your house covered in snow to help keep the penguins cool. 

I have a class set of these books and can't wait to use them this year. ISBN: 0-590-47733-1

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Faithful  By: Janet Fox
Maggie is angry and depressed about  the turn her life has taken. Her father has just told her that they are leaving Newport to go to Yellowstone to work during the time when she is supposed to be debuting to society. She feels betrayed by  her father because she knows that he is not telling her the whole story. As the truth is revealed to Maggie that she is not just on a short trip, her father has lost everything and plans to make a life in Yellowstone, Maggie is even more angry and hurt. The only thing that keeps her going is the thought that maybe her mother might be found in this strange land. Add into her life her father trying to marry her off to an older rich man that she despises and her beginning love for a young man named Tom and you have a story.  Will she ever be able to be happy again, and can she help her father find the answers to the mysteries he holds?

This book was great. It had elements of a great adventure and love story all in one.  It was a terrific story of a girl dealing with disappointments and finding out who she really could be if she just stood up for herself and listened to others without judging them.

I purchased this book at Costco. ISBN: 978-0-14-241413-2

Friday, July 1, 2011


Mockingbird By: Kathryn Erskine
This is the story of Caitlin, a girl who has Asperger’s and who is also trying to understand the loss of her brother Devon, who was shot in a school shooting.  This story follows Caitlin as she sorts out her feelings of loss, making friends, and helping her dad. Caitlin likes to know what words mean and she finds the word closure and sets off to figure out how she can find it for her and her dad. She does not like to hear him cry and misses her brother terribly. So Caitlin is able to come up with a project that can help her and her dad find the closure that they need to move on.  Caitlin also has to build friendships, which is very hard for her. She is able to do this easily with her friend Michael who is in first grade but has a hard time with the fifth graders in her class. But with work and effort Caitlin is able to make some friends.

This book was so wonderfully written and had such a strong message. It really made you understand what a person with Asperger’s really might feel. And being written from the child’s perspective made it even better for me because when you work with children who are special you sometimes do not understand how to relate to them, and this gives a little view of what might be going on in their world.  I recommend this book to anyone, I will admit it did make me cry, but it was a good cry.  I was loaned this book by a friend. 
ISBN: 978-0-545-35808-8

Chicken Cheeks

In honor of my boys.   They LOVE this book!
Chicken Cheeks By: Michael Ian Black and Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes   ISBN-13: 9781416948643

This book is about a bunch of animals trying to get to the top of a tall tree to get to a bee hive for the honey.  Each page is a different animal and the name of it's behind.  Not only do the words crack my kids up but the pictures are so funny.  I laughed out loud in the library when we got this book.  Our favorite animal behind  names are Guinea Pig Buns and Flamingo Fanny. My kids can walk into the library and go straight to the shelf where this book is and pick it up.  We love it.  So if you are interested in just a silly book about animal bottom names check this one out.  And it also teaches good word choice because it tells you that even though they are all bottoms there are many different words that you can use to mean bottom.  We check this out from the library at least once a month.