Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The School For The Insanely Gifted

The School For The Insanely Gifted By: Dan Elish

Daphna is a very gifted young lady. She attends the School for the Insanely Gifted, where she is composing a piano rhapsody, her two friends are inventing things like flying go carts, and creating Broadway musicals.  She is haunted by the fact that her mother has disappeared, so she continues to live alone in their apartment with her landlord's family watching over her.  She knows her mother will return.  But when a strange antelope many begins to follow her and hunts her down asking strange questions and she finds a picture of her mother with two men and the name is what the antelope man was asking about, Daphna knows something is up?  Her two close friends and her are off on an adventure to solve the mystery.

I thought this was an interesting book. It was sure full of kids with special talents. I liked how there was a mystery that the kids were trying to solve and that the bad guy was someone that they least expected. I thought the twist at the end was a great one and at  least gave Daphna something that she had been missing out on in her life.  Great read for I would say fourth grade and up.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 978-0-06-113873-7

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Opposite Of Me

The Opposite Of Me By: Sarah Pekkanen

Lindsey is the typical overachiever. She has a great job in which she is about to present a huge ad campaign to a huge client. She knows she is going to be made vice president of the company.  And she does all this because she has always felt that she has to beat out her twin sister Alex, who is a beautiful actress and model.  But when things do not go as planned Lindsey is forced to face a new reality that maybe things are not always what they seem.

I loved this book. I thought that the story showed a character that thought she had it all and wanted it all, but was then forced to see things in a different light. Lindsey's character was one that wanted to prove so much to herself and her family to rid herself of the insecurities that she had, but then realizes that maybe those things do not matter. It also showed that life is fragile and you need to live like every moment matters.  Great adult read!!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-1-4391-2198-6

Small Persons with Wings

Small Persons with Wings By: Ellen Booraem

Mellie Turpin has always see faeries, They do not like to be called that though so they are called small persons with wings.  She tried to tell her friends when she was little but then her best friend, a small person with wings, turned into porcelain.  She never forgot this and so is surprised when her family moves into her grandfather's house after he passes on that her whole family can see them.  AND that there are some small persons with wings that are not out for good but for evil. Can she protect her family and figure out just what these fairies want?

This was a pretty good book. I would not say that I loved it but it was a good read. It had mystery and a little magic.  I liked the main character and felt sorry for her that the other kids around her called her fat. I think that it is a horrible thing for kids to do to another peer.  I liked that the small persons with wings were very outspoken and the nice ones anyway were out to make her life more pleasant. Great read for fourth through about seventh grade I think.

I was given this by a student.
ISBN: 978-0-545-43931-2

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hot Rod Hamster

Hot Rod Hamster By: Cynthia Lord  Pictures By: Derek Anderson

Hamster wants to enter the Hot Rod race but he must first build a hot rod. So he heads to the junk yard to pick out his car and all the parts. Then comes the paint. When he enters the race no body thinks he is going to win, but he must might!

I love this book and so do my kiddos.  At each choice the Hamster makes the question is asked of the kids so it is very interactive. Fun for the younger crowd but great pictures make it a fun read for all!

I purchased this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-545-03530-9

Sunday, May 27, 2012

One for the Murphys

One for the Murphys By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Carly has been placed in foster care after her stepfather beat up her mother and her.  She is placed with the Murphy family who has three younger boys.  Carly is angry and upset at first and does not know how to be a part of this new family and go to a new school. She begins to make a place for herself in this new family and makes friends at school.  She believes her mother does not want her and is afraid when she finds out that she will be going to see her mother. She had started to belong in the family she was living with and now things will change for her again.

This was one of the most amazing stories I have read. I loved it.  I cried and cheered for Carly as this story shows the emotions that she was going through and the learning that she did while being placed in foster care. As a teacher, my heart breaks for the situations that some kids are placed in today and I am so thankful for the people that are able to help these children grow while their lives are out of their control.  A must read for anyone!  Perfect for junior high readers and up.

I borrowed this from the public library,
ISBN: 978-0-399-25615-8

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight   By: Jennifer E Smith

This is the story of Hadley who is seventeen and headed to London to watch her dad get married.  She misses her first flight and is frustrated to have to wait for the next one.  She meets Oliver who is also headed to London and they strike up a conversation.  They instantly feel a connection and spend the entire flight talking.  When they reach London after a quick surprise kiss Hadley says goodbye and heads off to the wedding hoping to get there in time.  She is frustrated with her father and is not handling him getting married very well, after the ceremony she learns the real reason Oliver was in London and rushes to see him again only to have to say goodbye and head to the wedding where she can hopefully resolve the issues with her father.

I thought this was a cute story of love at first sight. It was one of those fanciful stories that you know would rarely come true but I loved it anyway.  I thought it was great how the characters connected so quickly and felt that it was a fun quick read.  I do think skeptics out there will say come on how could this possibly be something worth reading, but like I said if you just want a fun read about people falling in love at first sight this is your book. Great for high school and up!

I borrowed this from the public library
ISBN: 978-0-316-12238-2

The Beetle Book

The Beetle Book By: Steve Jenkins

This is the coolest book about beetles I have seen!  It has awesome illustrations and tons of facts about beetles! My boys love it so much that they are constantly looking at it and talking about the beetles they are seeing.  It is perfect for any bug enthusiast!

I purchased this from Scholastic
ISBN: 978-0-547-68084-2

Mythos Academy

First Frost, Touch of Frost, and Kiss of Frost  By: Jennifer Estep

Gwen has a a super power. By touching things and people she can see things and feel their emotions. This power is not always a great one to have because she sees things that she does not always want to see, and so she tries to avoid touching anyone.  In Touch of Frost Gwen looses her mother and is sent to Mythos Academy where she feels out of place because she is not as powerful as those around her. But when a student is murdered she is out to find out why and in turn puts herself in dangers path.  She meets Logan who she has feelings for and thinks he likes her too, but he is not on the same page as her.  But Gwen is able to make some friends and finally feels like she has  a place at the Academy. In  Kiss of Frost with he new friends she heads off to the Winter Carnival for a fun time. But after an avalanche that nearly kills her she knows someone is out to get her.  She tries to figure out who is trying to hurt her and finds out some interesting facts about one of her Spartan trainers.  Again Gwen is forced to fight for her life but finds that she has a new way to tap into the powers of others and that gives her an edge in the battle.

I liked these books a lot!  They are perfect for high school readers and have a ton of action and teen drama.  I think the characters are well developed and the relationships make it a perfect young adult read. The idea that there is a school for kids with super powers where they continue to fight for the mythological gods to keep balance in the world is fantastic.  The third book comes out next month, I am going to be reviewing that one for VampChix Bite Club so look for that in the future. :)

 I purchased First Frost on Amazon

I borrowed  Touch of Frost and  Kiss of Frost from the public library. ISBN: 978-0-7582-6692-7; 978-0-7582-6694-1

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins By: P.L.Travers

This is the story of Mary Poppins.  It shares the story of how Mary came to be the Nanny of the Banks children on Cherry Tree Lane. Mary has magical powers to her that allow things that are unexpected and very strange to happen all around her.  She works with the children to have them mind their manners and follow directions.

I read this because I had just seen the Broadway Musical and of course have seen the movie many times. I never knew that there was an actual series of chapter books (5 of them) about Mary Poppins.  It was interesting in that it is different from the feel of Mary that you get from the movie and musical. She is more distant from the kids and seems like a much stranger person in the book. Maybe that is attributed to it being and older novel written in 1934. Another difference is that in the book there are four children not just two and some of the events as told in the book are different and there are more strange things that happen with the children.  Interesting.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN: 0-15-252595-5

Calvin Can't Fly

Calvin Can't Fly: The Story of a Bookworm Birdie  By: Jennifer Berne Illustrated By: Keith Bendis

Calvin fell out of the nest onto a book.  From this moment on Calvin loved to read.  He read all the time. When his birdie cousins were learning how to be birds he was learning in the library.  When everyone was learning to fly he was reading a book instead. Then the sad day came when he was to fly south for the winter.   He realized he spent so much time reading that he never learned to do bird things, his cousins refused to leave him behind and tied him up and carried him.  Along the way a huge storm was coming, Calvin knows it is something called a hurricane and safely gets his friends to a cave where they wait out a storm.

I loved this book. It shows that no matter what you love to do you need to learn the important things in life too.  It also shows that learning from books is a good thing and you have to know about the world around you.  I loved the illustrations and so did all the kiddos I have read the book too!!

I bought this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-1-4027-7323-5

Some Dog

Some Dog By: Mary Casanova Pictures By: Ard Hoyt

George loved his life as a dog. He loved his family. He had a special spot in all his favorite places, that is until Zippity showed up.  Zippity was loud and moved very fast and George felt replaced.  One night Zippity went missing during a very bad storm.  George's family asked him to do what he did best and find Zippity.  George rose to the challenge and from then on Zippity and George were never apart.

I love this book. It has a sweet story of friendship and love.  The illustrations are fantastic and so great to look at. The kids that I read this to in my fourth and fifth grade class loved the pictures to and asked me to slow down so they could look at them more. My children at home think that George is a great friend to Zippity and love to hear the story over and over.

I purchased this from Scholastic.
ISBN: 978-0-374-37133-3

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Littlest Dinosaur

The Littlest Dinosaur By: Michael Foreman

In the dinosaur world a mommy dinosaur sits on her eggs. All but one hatches, the mom is convinced it will hatch and spends a lot of time warming it and cooling it. The daddy dino is upset and yells at the egg one day, it then cracks open. Out comes the smallest dinosaur anyone has ever seen.  The little dinosaur always feels left out and is often alone. But one day when everyone else gets themselves caught in the mud it is the littlest dinosaur and his new big friend to the rescue.

This is a beautiful book about no matter what size you are you can make a difference and are important to the world. The illustrations are beautiful and it makes a wonderful read aloud to any elementary school classroom.  I loved reading it to my kids and my boys at home really liked it too!

I borrowed this from the school library.
ISBN: 978-08027-9759-9

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake By: Aimee Bender

On her ninth birthday Rose finds out that she has a special gift.  She can taste the feelings of the person who makes her food. This may sound like a great thing, except when you find out that you mother is not a happy person.  Or when you find out that your mother is happy because she is seeing someone that is not your father.  As Rose grows her tasting ability gets to the point that she can tell where certain foods are made or grown. This forces Rose to love food that is packaged.  Rose has to figure out how to deal with this type of gift and figure out just where she stands in the world. Her mother who is distant, her father who is afraid of hospitals, and her brother who just disappears from the world at times. 

I think that this book was interesting. I don't know that I loved it, and am still not sure what I feel about it.  I felt very confused and sad when the book ended.  I felt that Rose had a potential that she missed and her family's odd behaviors and sadness made my heart break for her.  I really feel odd about this book, like I might have missed something along the way.  It was a quick read and not for kids, for adults.  I cant wait until my book group meets to talk about this book so I get others perspectives of the book.

I borrowed this from the public library.
ISBN:  978-0-385-50112-5

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind By: William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

This is an inspirational story of a boy who had a dream and was able to make it happen.  William Kamkwamba was born and raised in Malawi, where drought and famine reined.  He always loved to take things apart and rebuild them and was able to do that with many things.  One day he found a book that showed him how to make a windmill.  He proceeds to build this thing out of scrap metal and old bicycles.  He is able to build something that works and changed his life forever.

I loved this story for the pure nature of someone who is able to create something so important and needed without anyone showing him how.  He is a  true genius and a true wonder.   I thought that the books was full of detail that at times I was overwhelmed by but pushed through because the story was so great. It is also a picture book that I read with my students at school and they loved the story too. It shows that no matter where you are at in life, you can make things better for yourself and for those around you.

I purchased both of these on

ISBN: 978-0-06-0173033-7  and 978-0-8037-3511-8

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Ten Little Caterpillars

Ten Little Caterpillars By: Bill Martin Jr  Illustrated By: Lois Ehlert

This is the story of the adventures of ten caterpillars and where they are off to.  It shows them eating, being carried by kids to school, and just walking around meeting other animals!  It makes a perfect read aloud for young kids, but what I loved about it is..That it tells you the names of the different types of caterpillars.  It also tells the names of the types of plants that the caterpillars are eating or sitting on.  At the end of this book it shows the caterpillars again and shows what type of butterfly or moth that it will turn into.  While this is great for young kids to hear, the science information is great for any study on caterpillars, moths and butterflies.  Great Read!!

I purchased this from the Scholastic Book Fair
ISBN: 978-1-4424-3385-4

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PicThe Eraserheads

The Eraserheads By: Kate Banks Pictures By: Boris Kulikov

This book is about the lives of three eraserheads; an owl, a crocodile, and a pig.  They live in the room of a young boys who loves to draw and create.  They are all special and have their own talents, like math eating, and letters.  One day their young boy started to draw a picture the picture ended up at the edge of the paper and was accidentally erased.  By the boy was able to draw more adventures to send the eraserheads on, but they found out that they really really liked just being at home!

I loved this book!  I thought the pictures were beautiful and made the story come to life on the page. The story was cute, having the eraserheads come to life was a great idea, and giving them different personalities that worked well together!  I read this to my class of fourth and fifth graders and they really liked it a lot!  My kids at home did to! Great read aloud book!!

I bought this at the Scholastic Book Fair
ISBN: 978-0-374-39920-7