Friday, October 19, 2012

Four 2012 Early Readers

Monkey and Elephant. Carole Lexa Schaefer. Illustrated by Galia Bernstein. 2012. Candlewick. 48 pages.

Monkey and Elephant tried to rest under the afternoon sun.  

Monkey and Elephant are friends. But they are not exactly at their best in this chapter adventure for young readers. For it is extremely, irritatingly HOT, HOT, HOT. And the day is ripe for complaining and whining. Can these two friends make the best of an impossibly hot day? In the first chapter, Monkey and Elephant start off on their journey to find a shade tree. Before long, both are too thirsty...a puddle only provides temporary relief. In the second chapter, the two sing songs to one another. In the third chapter, the walk continues. Elephant is able to 'protect' his friend, Monkey, from some unfriendly animals. They finally reach the shade...

Essentially one big story broken into three small segments...

I liked it.

Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl. Jessie Haas. Illustrated by Alison Friend. 2012. Candlewick. 56 pages.

Bramble gave riding lessons. Mrs. Blenkinsop told the rider what to do, and the rider told Bramble what to do. They went around and around the riding ring with the other horses. Around and around. Around and around.

I really liked this early reader (early chapter book) about Bramble and Maggie. Bramble is a horse with attitude. Tired of riding in a ring every day, tired of being a teaching horse, Bramble wants more--to belong to one person, to have one rider who understands and loves. Maggie would love a horse of her own, and when her parents spot a sign offering a free horse, well, Maggie is beyond excited. She HOPES that Bramble will want to come home with her. And the two do seem to get along right from the start. For Maggie has an understanding heart and she treats Bramble with kindness and respect. The first two chapters are about Bramble and Maggie and their first meeting. The last two chapters are about Bramble moving to her new home--new stall--and settling down with Maggie. The third chapter, for example, shows Maggie showing her horse around her yard, getting her used to her new environment, making sure she's comfortable and not scared. The fourth chapter is about their first night...which they end up spending together.  

The Big Something. Patricia Reilly Giff. Illustrated by Diane Palmisciano. 2012. Scholastic. 40 pages.

I do wish this one hadn't mentioned witches--even in the context of Hansel and Gretel's house. Not that the "witch" in question is a witch. Just two children with an active imagination fearing the worst...for their dog Fiercely. Turns out, Fiercely wasn't actually digging a hole to China, no, he was just digging under the fence to go next door to the new construction site. The kids are absolutely convinced that the new building is a house--a house just like in Hansel and Gretel. No matter how scared they are--no matter how terrified--they must save their dog from the witch who happens to be a teacher who is building a big red schoolhouse.  

Ballet Stars. Joan Holub. Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas. 2012. Random House. 24 pages.

Ballet show today--hooray! We all dress up a fancy way. Sparkly ribbons. Ballet shoes. Bright white tights. And new tutus. We do stretches. We do bends. We warm up with ballet friends. Ballet arms. Ballet feet. Toes point out and fingers meet. 

I enjoyed this early reader. Using rhyming text, the book describes the fun and excitement of the big day, the day of the class's ballet recital. While the class is mainly little girls, there is one little boy excited about ballet. It was fun and simple. Comes with two pages of stickers.  

© 2012 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.
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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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