Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Four by Helen Lester (2013)

Listen, Buddy. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

 Buddy's father had a beautiful big nose. He was a great sniffer. Buddy's mother had beautiful big teeth. She was a great chomper. Buddy had beautiful big ears. It didn't matter.

Buddy has a problem, a big problem: he doesn't listen. It doesn't bother Buddy a bit, though it annoys his parents greatly! But one day, Buddy finds himself in peril!!! Will he learn his lesson for good?!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

Me First. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Pinkerton was pink, plump, and pushy. He would do anything to be first, even if it meant bouncing off bellies, stepping on snouts, or tying tails. 

Pinkerton gets more than he bargained for in Me First. When asked who wants a sandwich, he is first to exclaim "Me first!" But when the sandwich turns out to be a sand witch, well, Pinkerton learns that selfish people are NOT fun to be around.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10

It Wasn't My Fault. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Things did not always go well for Murdley Gurdson. He couldn't control the toothpaste. He fell into wastebaskets. And he dropped only valuable vases. Whatever happened, it was usually his fault. One day he went for a walk in his one too big new shoe. He had stepped out of the other one. He couldn't remember where. Before long someone laid an egg on Murdley Gurdson's head. 

Who's to blame for Murdley Gurdson's bad day? And Murdley is not the only one having a bad day. There is quite a story to be told. If you enjoyed Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo by Rosetta Stone, then you may appreciate It Wasn't My Fault by Helen Lester.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

A Porcupine Named Fluffy. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

When Mr. and Mrs. Porcupine had their first child, they were delighted. Now he needed a name. Should they call him Spike? No. Spike was too common. Should they call him Lance? No. Lance sounded too fierce. Should they call him Needleroozer? No. Needleroozer was too long. Prickles? Pokey? Quillian? Then together they had an idea. "Let's call him Fluffy. It's such a pretty name. Fluffy!"

One day Fluffy realizes he is NOT fluffy. He tries again and again and again to be fluffy. But he can't escape who he is; he is a porcupine, and porcupines are not fluffy by nature. He's quite unhappy until he meets a friend, a true friend, someone who understands. His friend? A rhinoceros named Hippo. They are a perfect pair!

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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