Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Baby Goes to Market

Baby Goes to Market. Atinuke. Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Baby goes to market with Mama. Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas. Baby is so surprised. Baby eats one banana...and puts five bananas in the basket. Mama does not notice. She is busy buying rice.

Premise/plot: Come along with Mama and Baby for a BUSY, BUSY day at the market. This one is set in Nigeria.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. The Baby is ADORABLE. It was fun to follow his story to see what gift he'd receive next. He would always eat *some* and then put the rest into his mama's basket. I enjoyed the text. I did. But I really loved, loved, loved the illustrations.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Among the Impostors

Among the Impostors. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2001. 172 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Sometimes he whispered his real name in the dark, in the middle of the night. "Luke. My name is Luke."

Premise/plot: Among the Impostors is the second book in the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first novel, Among the Hidden, ended with Luke Garner's life in danger. The second book opens with Lee Grant preparing to enter a school for troubled boys, Hendricks School for Boys. He's been slipped a note by his rescuer, but, he's disappointed when he finally gets a chance to read it. How is a shadow child supposed to blend in seamlessly with other boys his own age? How is he supposed to look like he belongs in a school, in a classroom, in a cafeteria?! He's only ever known his own house, and mainly the attic at that. Still, Lee does his best. It turns out that he's not the only boy struggling to blend in. Could all the boys have something in common? Could they all be shadow children? Is it safe to admit to another shadow child your own real name? Lee wants more than anything to find a true friend, but, he's been taught not to trust.

My thoughts: I am not sure that I loved, loved, loved this one. It could be I'm always in a rush to get through the whole series and experience all the books. So this book is just a stepping stone in a way. Definitely worth reading to get you from one point to another. But is it special on its own? Maybe, maybe not. I did notice some similarities to MANDY. I definitely recommend the whole series. This one introduces two new characters: Nina and Jason. Nina is from a girls school nearby. Jason is one of his roommates.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wishtree

Wishtree. Katherine Applegate. 2017. 224 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It's hard to talk to trees. We're not big on chitchat. That's not to say we can't do amazing things, things you'll probably never do.

Premise/plot: The narrator of Katherine Applegate's newest novel is a tree named Red. Red is a wishing tree--a raggy tree. Every year people write their wishes and tie them to the branches by May 1. Red has seen a lot of years come and go--he's over two hundred years old--but this wishing season is different. The new girl in the neighborhood, Samar, has wished for a friend. Perhaps because some bully carved the word LEAVE on Red's bark, perhaps because Samar comes to visit him each night, perhaps because Red has a feeling that his days are numbered, Red decides to get involved with the human drama unfolding before her eyes. Find a friend for Samar--that is Red's number one priority. 

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I enjoyed Red more than I ever thought I could--or would. I enjoyed all the animals that made Red their home. It was a lovely read.
"We grow as we must grow, as our seeds decided long ago." (39)
"For two hundred and sixteen rings, I've sat on my roots and listened to people hope for things. And a lot of times, those wishes never happened, I'm guessing."
Bongo tucked a feather into place. "Sometimes that's for the best. Remember that kindergartner who wanted a bulldozer?"
"I'm passive. I just sit here watching the world."
"You're a tree, Red. That's kind of the job description."
"This is a good wish. And it's a wish I can make happen." I paused. "Well, we can make happen." (88)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Picture Book Check-In

Option 1:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which squares did you fill?
  • Which squares are you having trouble with?
  • How many until you bingo?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 2:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which categories did you check off your list?
  • What is your goal? How close are you to meeting that goal?
  • Which categories are you having trouble with?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 3:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which letters have you read?
  • How many more to go until you've read the alphabet?
  • Which letters are you having trouble with? 
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?
Books reviewed since last time:

  1. Preaching to the Chickens. Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Not Quite Narwhal. Jessie Sima. 2017. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story. Sally Lloyd-Jones. Illustrated by David Roberts. 2017. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in What's That Smell? Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 2016. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in the Secret Ingredient. Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ohi. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Peppa Pig and the Library Visit. Candlewick. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Emma Garcia. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2017. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  10. This Beautiful Day. Richard Jackson. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. The Worst Goes South. James Stevenson. 1995. 26 pages. [Source: Library]  
  12. Mouse and Hippo. Mike Twohy. 2017. Simon Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  13. A Perfect Day. Lane Smith. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  14. Hooray for Books. Brian Won. 2017. HMH. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  15. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  16. Choo Choo. Virginia Lee Burton. 1937/2017. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  17. Bunny's Book Club. Annie Silvestro. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  18. This is a Good Story. Adam Lehrhaupt. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  19. Wolf in the Snow. Matthew Cordell. 2017. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  20. This & That. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2017. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  21. A Band of Babies. Carole Gerber. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. 2017. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  22. Board book: I'm silly. Jennifer L. Holm. Illustrated by Matthew Holm. 2017. Random House. 22 pages. [Source: Library]
  23. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  24. Egg. Kevin Henkes. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  25. Blue Ethel. Jennifer Black Reinhardt. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]  
  26.  Noisy Night. Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Brian Biggs. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  27. Tea with Oliver. Mika Song. 2017. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]  
  28. You Must Bring A Hat. Simon Philip. Illustrated by Kate Hindley. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  29. La La La: A Story of Hope. Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Jaime Kim. 2017. Candlewick. 72 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  30. Board book: Buildablock. Christopher Franceschelli. Illustrated by Peskimo. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 90 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  31. Board book: All Aboard!: Let's Ride a Train. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  32. Board book: Where's the Hen? Nosy Crow. Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  33. Board book: Where's the Owl? Nosy Crow. Ingela P Arrhenius. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  34. Board book: Better Together: A Book of Family. Barbara Joose and Anneke Lisberg. Illustrated by Jared Schorr. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]   
  35. Three Little Kittens. Illustrated by Lilian Obligado. 1974. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]
  36. You Can Read. Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  37. Imagine. John Lennon. Illustrated by Jean Jullien. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  38. Board book: This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer. Joan Holub. Illustrated by Daniel Roode. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  39. The Catawampus Cat. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by Gus Gordon. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  40. I Want My Hat Back. Jon Klassen. 2011. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  41. Nighty-Night, Cooper. Laura Numeroff. 2013. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  42.  Cats. Larry Dane Brimner. Illustrated by Tom Payne. 2001. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
  43. Board book: Baby Loves Thermodynamics. Ruth Spiro. Illustrated by Irene Chan. 2017. Charlesbridge. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]
 


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six middle grade books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work.
Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. 2018 Newbery Winner or Honor
_47. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2010-2017
_48. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2000-2009
_49. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1990-1999
_50. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1980-1989
_51. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1970-1979
_52. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1960-1969
_53. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1950-1959
_54. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1940-1949
_55. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1932-1939
_56. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1922-1931
_57. Notable Children's Book from 2018 or 2017
_ 58. Any book by a Wilder Award author
_ 59. verse novel
_ 60. graphic novel
_ 61. biography or memoir
_ 62. nonfiction
_ 63. poetry
_ 64. audio book
_ 65. first in a series
_ 66. any book in a series
_ 67. last book in a series
_ 68. favorite author
_ 69. new to you author
_ 70. British author
_ 71. Australian author
_ 72. Canadian author
_ 73. translated into English from another language
_ 74. American author
_ 75. set in the state you live
_ 76. set in a place you'd like to visit
_ 77. set in an imaginary place you'd like to visit
_ 78. picture book for older readers
_ 79. book about a pet
_ 80. animal fantasy
_ 81. fantasy
_ 82. alternate reality
_ 83. science fiction
_ 84. adventure
_ 85. action/suspense
_ 86. mystery/detective
_ 87. realistic fiction
_ 88. school setting
_ 89. multiple points of view
_ 90. historical fiction -- world war I
_ 91. historical fiction -- world war II
_ 92. historical fiction, your choice
_ 93. historical fiction, mystery or suspense
_ 94. oh the sads
_ 95. happy, happy ending
_ 96. laugh until you cry
_ 97. coming of age
_ 98. "diary" or "notebook"
_ 99. classic, your choice
_ 100. out of print
_ 101. library book
_ 102. impulse pick
_ 103. published in 2018
_ 104. YOUR pick for Newbery 2019

Bonus/alternate picks:
_ made into a good movie
_ made into a horrible movie
_ book from your childhood
_ free choice
_ multiple authors
_ orphan child
_ vacation setting or road trip
_ first crush
_ new book by favorite author
_ time travel or steam punk

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Week in Review: October 8-14



Come, Let Us Adore Him. Paul David Tripp. 2017. Crossway. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Preaching to the Chickens. Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library]
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands. Shona and David Murray. 2017. Crossway. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Operation Commentary
My Autumn with Psalm 119 #5


Not Quite Narwhal. Jessie Sima. 2017. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story. Sally Lloyd-Jones. Illustrated by David Roberts. 2017. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in What's That Smell? Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 2016. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in the Secret Ingredient. Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ohi. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Peppa Pig and the Library Visit. Candlewick. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Emma Garcia. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]


2018 Picture Book Reading Challenge
2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
2018 Victorian Reading Challenge
2018 Charity Reading Challenge
2018 Kitty Lit Reading Challenge
2018 Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge
Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2017. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
This Beautiful Day. Richard Jackson. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
The Worst Goes South. James Stevenson. 1995. 26 pages. [Source: Library]
Among the Hidden. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 1998. 153 pages. [Source: Library]
Revealed. (The Missing #7) Margaret Pterson Haddix. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 448 pages. [Source: Library]



© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

2018 Victorian Reading Challenge

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Sign up in the comments (If you have a blog, please leave your blog address. If you have a goodreads profile AND if you review regularly on goodreads, then you may leave that as well.)

I'll have quarterly check-in posts. I'll be posting check-in posts March 25, June 24, September 23, and December 30. You may leave links to your reviews on any of those four posts. If you want to share your review with me BEFORE that, AND if you have twitter, feel free to tweet me a link @blbooks.

Option A.  Read alphabetically A-Z with authors OR titles OR a blend of authors/titles. I've decided that from now on X in reading challenges stands for multiple authors. I'm flipping my "x" to a "+".

Option B. Choose one author to read exclusively for this challenge; perhaps challenge yourself to read chronologically OR to read through an entire series in one year.

Option C. Do as many books from the checklist as you can.

Option D. Make the challenge completely your own and read as YOUR whimsy dictates.

IF you love Victorian literature AND you happen to love tea...consider joining my Share-a-Tea reading challenge

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

This year's checklist:
  1. _ A book that was originally published serially
  2. _ book published between 1837-1840
  3. _ book published between 1841-1850
  4. _ book published between 1851-1860
  5. _ book published between 1861-1870
  6. _ book published between 1871-1880
  7. _ book published between 1881-1890
  8. _ book published between 1891-1901
  9. _ nonfiction published between 1837-1860
  10. _ nonfiction published between 1861-1901 
  11. _ A book published between 1902-1999 with a Victorian setting
  12. _ A book published between 2000-2018 with a Victorian setting
  13. _ A fiction or nonfiction book about Queen Victoria
  14. _ Biography of a Victorian
  15. _ Nonfiction book about the Victorian era
  16. _ free choice
  17. _ place name in the title
  18. _ character name in the title
  19. _ book in a series
  20. _ drama or melodrama
  21. _ gothic, suspense, mystery
  22. _ romance or historical
  23. _ comedy 
  24. _ science fiction or fantasy
  25. _ adventure, crime, western
  26. _ poetry collection OR story collection
  27. _ happily ever after
  28. _ unhappily ever after 
  29. _ children's book
  30. _ translated into English from another language
  31. _ a book under 250 pages
  32. _ book over 500 pages
  33. _ a book over 800 pages
  34. _ A book that has been filmed as movie, miniseries, or television show
  35. _ memorable heroine
  36. _ memorable hero
  37. _ British author
  38. _ Irish author OR Irish setting
  39. _ Scottish author OR Scottish setting
  40. _ American author
  41. _ reread
  42. _ book with a subtitle (the longer the better!)
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Worst Goes South

The Worst Goes South. James Stevenson. 1995. 26 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was a brisk October day. The worst person in the world was taking Daisy for a walk in the woods.

Premise/plot: Readers meet a grumpy, old man "The Worst" in James Stevenson's The Worst Goes South. Why does he choose to go south? To get away from the town's Harvest Festival. His house is right next door to a big empty field. And that big empty field is about to be filled with people, stuff, and NOISE, NOISE, NOISE. The Worst goes to Florida...where he stays in a motel room that is lacking in every way. The owner of the motel thinks he recognizes the Worst?! Could these two be long, lost brothers?!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. Mr. Worst is a bit anti-social, a bit rude. Take out the bit, actually. He's very rude, and definitely anti-social. He doesn't want his yard and his porch being used by the people setting up the Harvest Festival. It's bad enough he has to allow people to park in his yard--for free. The book is amusing.
The worst stopped at a toll booth.
"How much?" he said.
"2.50," said the toll taker.
"That's an outrage," said the worst. He handed the man a quarter. "Take this and be glad you got it." Then he drove over the bridge.
We do eventually learn his name: Arvin. 

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

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Charity Reading Challenge 2018

Charity Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January-December 2018
# of books: You decide

Sign up by leaving a comment.

Read for a good cause! Buy books at a charity shop, or, even a friends of the library book sale, or, donate a certain percentage of money for each book you read for the challenge. You can choose your own goal of how many books to read, what charity you'll be donating money towards, how much money, etc. (For example, you might want to donate $1 for each paperback you read, or, $3 for every hardback you read. You can work out the details yourself.)

Rules:

  • Books and audio books, so long as purchased from a charity shop (or library book sale), count. E-books count if you donate a certain percentage of money to the charity of your choice. (You may read ANY book you choose if you donate your set amount.) Brand new books, old-and tattered out-of-print books. Both are welcome!
  • You do not need a blog to participate. You can comment on this post or any challenge-related post to update others on your progress. 
  • Any qualifying book finished in 2018 can count towards the challenge.
  • Books can be of any length and be written for any audience. This challenge does not exclude picture books. 
  • Qualifying books can be books you've intended to read for ages, or, impulse buys!(Who goes into a charity shop with a list?!)
  • No list is required, but, you can make one as you go if you like. The fun thing about this challenge is that everyone's list is going to be unique!
  • You may read for more than one charity if you like.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kitty Lit Reading Challenge 2018

Jeppe, Bruno Liljefors, 1860-1939  
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: To read books with CATS
# of books: minimum of 3

Last year I found a way to bring two of my loves together: drinking tea and reading books. This year, I hope to bring together two more of the things I love: CATS and books. I do encourage you to check out Kitten Academy, where kittens learn to cat; while you watch 24/7 on YouTube. Mr. A and DJ are awesome people. (https://kitten.academy/) I especially recommend the Kitten Close-Ups.

Sign up by leaving a comment.

What books count towards the reading challenge?
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Board books
  • Picture Books
  • Early Readers
  • Early Chapter Books
  • Chapter Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Middle Grade Books
  • Young Adult Books
  • Adult Books
  • Poetry
  • Short Stories
  • Plays
Brand new books, old-and tattered out-of-print books. Both are welcome! 

No list is required, but, you can make one as you go if you like. The fun thing about this challenge is that everyone's list is going to be unique!

Is a blog required? Are reviews required? No. If you do blog, I'd love a link to your blog so I can read your reviews and book recommendations. If you review books on GoodReads, leave a link to your profile so I can friend you and follow your reviews!

If you're on twitter, you can contact me @blbooks and talk cats OR books!

You can comment on this post or any challenge-related post to update others on your progress.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

2018 Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January - December 2018
# of books: minimum of 2

Love drinking tea? Love reading books? Love reading a book while drinking tea? Have I got a reading challenge for you! In 2018, I'll be hosting the Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge again.

Who can join? Anyone who enjoys reading. You don't need to have a blog. You don't need to have a twitter account.

Are coffee drinkers welcome? Well. You can still join in, I suppose. But you might be outnumbered by tea drinkers.

Which books count towards the challenge? Any book that you primarily read while drinking tea. Not every single page needs to have been read while drinking tea. (I'm not that strict!!!) But this challenge is all about celebrating SLOWING DOWN and SAVORING the moments.

How many books? Is there a set minimum? This challenge is about QUALITY and not quantity. It's not about reading fifty books or even twelve books. This is an anti-rush reading challenge. Enjoy where you are in a book, and, engage fully in it. Live in the book.

This challenge has a focus on SHARING. How can you share? Several ways:

1) When you sign up in a comment below, share one favorite tea and one favorite book. And if you've got one handy: a favorite quote.
2) If you write a post on your blog announcing the challenge (and making a place to keep track of what you've read), consider sharing a bit about yourself--your reading and drinking habits. You might consider a longer list of recommendations!
3) If you're on twitter, tweet me as often as you like. @blbooks OR @operationbible Tweet about favorite teas, favorite books, favorite authors, favorite quotes, what you're currently reading, what you've just finished reading, etc.
4) Consider adding me and fellow participants to your blogroll, and cheer on other participants by reading reviews and leaving comments.
5) At the end of each month, I'll publish a check-in post. You can leave comments sharing what you're reading, what you've read, tea recommendations, etc. Even if you haven't finished a book, you can share where you're at. Remember, it isn't about how many books you read per month!

Be aware that comment moderation is turned on. So if you sign up for the challenge, and don't see your comment published, it just means I haven't published it...yet. But I will.

Do ask questions if you have them. I'll do my best to answer them.


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

2018 Picture Book Reading Challenge

Original artwork by Charles Haigh-Wood (1856-1927)
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six picture books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work.
Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_1. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
_5. Title beginning with C
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
_16. Author beginning with H
_17. Title beginning with I
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
_26. Author beginning with M
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
_41. Title or Author beginning with V
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_46. An alphabet book
_47. A counting book
_48. A color word in the title
_49. A number word in the title
_50. Concept book of your choice— picture book
_51. Concept book of your choice — board book
_52. bedtime book —board book
_53. bedtime book — picture book
_54. book that rhymes —picture book
_55. book that rhymes — early reader OR board book
_56. holiday of your choice — board book or early reader
_57. holiday of your choice — picture book
_58. wordless picture book
_59. new to you author
_60. new to you illustrator
_61. favorite author
_62. favorite illustrator
_63. free choice
_64. fairy or folk tale adaptation
_65. fairy or folk tale traditional
_66. a title with the word “first” in it
_67. a book set in the state you live
_68. a book set in a place you’d like to visit
_69. a book set in an imaginary place
_70. a book set in the past — fiction or nonfiction
_71. a book set in the present
_72. picture book for older readers — fiction
_73. picture book for older readers — nonfiction
_74. early reader — fiction
_75. early reader — nonfiction
_76. picture book with photographs
_77. one word title
_78. long title (four or more words)
_79. oversized book
_80. tiny book
_81. a book about playing (hide and seek, tag, or peekaboo, etc.)
_82. a book about school
_83. a book about hobbies (art, dance, music, crafts, sports)
_84. a title that is a question
_85. a title that is an exclamation
_86. an award winner or an honor book
_87. a collection (of poems OR stories)
_88. a book with animals (fiction)
_89. a book with animals (nonfiction)
_90. a book about books or reading
_91. a book celebrating family
_92. first book in a series
_93. any book in a series
_94. book with an adventure or misadventure
_95. a book about a pet
_96. A title with the word “yes” or “no” in it
_97. A title with the word “big” or “little” in it
_98. a classic published before 1968
_99. a book you think should be considered a classic
_100. Out of print
_101. Library book
_102. Impulse Pick
_ 103. Board book published in 2018
_ 104. Picture book published in 2018

Sign up by leaving a comment. Do indicate which option you're leaning towards. And if you have a blog, please leave your blog address so I can visit you.

Reviews are not a requirement. But if you do review, you can share links to your reviews. I'm thinking of having check-in posts on the 15th of every month.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Groovy Joe Dance Party Countdown

Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2017. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Groovy Joe is totally fun. He's a song-singing, tail-wagging party of one! And he rocks like this. Disco party bow wow! Disco party bow wow! Knock! Knock! Who's there? One! One who? One more dog is going to disco with you! How many dogs are there now?

Premise/plot: Groovy Joe is ready to DISCO. Though this starts out as a me-party, a party of one, it soon turns into a big dance party! Groovy Joe is always happy to open his door and welcome more into his home.

My thoughts: Eric Litwin's original Pete the Cat books made me giddy. Those original books are: Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes, Pete the Cat Saves Christmas. I love them all. I especially love singing Four Groovy Buttons and I Love My White Shoes. There's something magical about the stories and songs--and how seamlessly the two work together. I fell in love with the character and his GOODNESS NO! philosophy of living life. That "Goodness No!" philosophy is back with Groovy Joe. And I think a lot of the things I absolutely loved about his earlier work is present in this story.

This one features math--addition. (Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons was all about subtraction.) It follows a definite pattern. "Does Joe get upset? Goodness no! He keeps rocking!" And it features a moral--as many of the Pete the Cat stories did. The moral of this one is: "There's always room for one more!"

Watch him perform part of the storyListen to the whole story.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Among the Hidden

Among the Hidden. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 1998. 153 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: He saw the first tree shudder and fall, far off in the distance. Then he heard his mother call out the kitchen window: "Luke! Inside. Now." He had never disobeyed the order to hide.

Premise/plot: Among the Hidden is the first book in Margaret Peterson Haddix's fast-paced futuristic middle grade series. Luke Garner is a shadow child, an illegal third child; his parents are farmers in a rural community which gave him small doses of freedom--if freedom means breathing fresh air outside--now and then. But when the woods around his house are bulldozed to make room for more houses--or apartments--even that small bit of liberty is lost. Luke "lives" his life in the attic and on the stairs. His family fears the Population Police so much that they don't even allow Luke to eat with them in the kitchen. Things seem to be getting progressively worse; so much so that his mother decides to get a job--in a factory, I believe--leaving Luke alone in the house. One day Luke notices that one of the neighbor's has his lights on when no one is supposed to be home. Then he sees a face; could Luke have found another hidden child? Could this child be his friend? Only if Luke dares to disobey his parents and go outside. Is there life outside the attic?

My thoughts: I remember discovering this series a few years after I first started blogging. It was LOVE. I remember that it was winter. While I had the first two or three checked out at the same time, I finished them all in one day and a snowstorm kept me from getting the rest of the series right when I wanted them, no, NEEDED them. Long story short, CHECK OUT ALL THE TITLES AT ONCE. That's my advice to you. I found the series to be fast-paced, compelling, thoughtful. I really loved Luke and his new friend, Jen.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Revealed

Revealed. (The Missing #7) Margaret Pterson Haddix. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 448 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Jonah saw the man before the man saw him.

Revealed is the seventh book in the Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The books usually feature a brother-sister team of Jonah and Katherine Skidmore. These two have been time-traveling essentially since book one with various other "missing" children from history. These children, more often than not, have all grown up in the same neighborhood/community. Chip, for example, is one of Jonah's best friends and Katherine's boyfriend. Usually each book focuses on one specific period of time, the children go there, solve or resolve a problem, and return to the twenty-first century. Revealed is NOT like that at all. For better or worse.

If I were to describe the reading experience it would go something like this: The author throwing a hundred balls into the air and telling readers: catch as many as you can, good luck.

Some of the story threads:

Who is Jonah? Is he Charles Lindbergh's son? Does he want to be? What if he is? What if he isn't? If he isn't, what happened to the real son?
Why does Charles Lindbergh kidnap Katherine? Which Charles Lindbergh kidnaps Katherine? Did he kidnap her because he's on their side? Or did he kidnap her because he's on their enemies side?
Why did practically all the characters--with the exception of Jonah and Charles Lindbergh--de-age? Why did all the adults in all the surrounding area become teenagers? Why is Katherine now a baby? Was it simply that it took going to this big of an extreme to get Jonah to think and act on his own?
Why do Gary and Hodge play such a large part in this novel? Why does Jonah believe anything they say? Are Gary and Hodge lazy or stupid or both lazy and stupid?
Shouldn't time travel have some logic to it? How did time split? Did time split? How did time un-split?
Why did Katherine's age get fixed but nobody elses?

The good news is that I think the novel is still action-packed, premise-focused. I think for those readers who can't get enough time travel this one can still work. I also think it is a bit amazing that I can jump right into the seventh book without having reread books one through six. I think, however, that might be a sign that character development is simple.

This book is different from the other six books. It essentially has readers going back and forth and back and forth between these time periods: the twenty-first century, the time hollow cave, 1932, and the plane-crash-landing of thirty-six (sometimes thirty-five) mysterious babies which happened thirteen years ago. There isn't a firm date on this "thirteen years ago" because I think Jonah has been thirteen since the series began in 2008. There is a bit of a difference between 1995 and 2002. Also the same scenes keep getting revisited. Hence why it is important for Jonah to notice what clothes Lindbergh happens to be wearing every time he sees him--"which" Lindbergh is this?!

I didn't hate it. I didn't love it. I am glad I finally read it.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Monday, October 09, 2017

This Beautiful Day

This Beautiful Day. Richard Jackson. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: This beautiful day...has everyone dancing and spinning and swinging around, has all of us stamping and stomping our feet on the ground...

Premise/plot: Readers see what one family does on a rainy day. This book answers the question, "Can rainy days be beautiful?!"

My thoughts: I liked this one. I definitely liked it. But it's not a book best appreciated with a brief, quick scan. This is a book that demands your fuller attention. I noticed so much more the second time I read it. I can only imagine that a few more times will bring even more detail to my attention. For example, notice the endpapers. The opening endpapers are black, white, and gray--a stormy day indeed. The closing endpapers are a huge contrast: we see a beautiful BLUE sky with a happy-happy family running, jumping, playing.

The illustrations make this one WONDERFUL. Without a doubt the illustrations make a good book, GREAT. I love how expressive and lively the illustrations are.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Week in Review: October 1-7

Mouse and Hippo. Mike Twohy. 2017. Simon Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
A Perfect Day. Lane Smith. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Hooray for Books. Brian Won. 2017. HMH. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Choo Choo. Virginia Lee Burton. 1937/2017. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Pop-Up Shakespeare. The Reduced Shakespeare Co. Illustrated by Jennie Maizels. 2017. Candlewick. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Dollmaker of Krakow. R.M. Romero. 2017. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
 Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics. (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #2) Chris Grabenstein. 2016. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Library]

Board Book Suggestions for Cybils
Picture Book Suggestions for Cybils
Bunny's Book Club. Annie Silvestro. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
This is a Good Story. Adam Lehrhaupt. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Wolf in the Snow. Matthew Cordell. 2017. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
This & That. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2017. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
A Band of Babies. Carole Gerber. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. 2017. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Board book: I'm silly. Jennifer L. Holm. Illustrated by Matthew Holm. 2017. Random House. 22 pages. [Source: Library]

Irena's Children: A True Story of Courage. Tilar J. Mazzeo. Adapted by Mary Cronk Farrell. 2016. 288 pages. [Source: Library]
 Uncomfortable. Brett McCracken. 2017. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Sing a New Song: A Woman's Guide to the Psalms. Lydia Brownback. 2017. Crossway. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Reading Between the Lines. Gene Edward Veith Jr. 1990. Crossway. 254 pages. [Source: Gift]Twenty Questions with the ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible
 My Autumn with Psalm 119 #3
My Autumn with Psalm 119 #4

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics. (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #2) Chris Grabenstein. 2016. Random House. 288 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Just about every kid in America wished they could be Kyle Keeley.

Premise/plot: Love books? Don't mind gimmicks? Pick up a copy of Chris Grabenstein's Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics.

Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics is a premise-driven novel with little to no character development. The plot consists solely of gimmicks--or games. In the first book, four kids got the chance to win spots in commercials for Mr. Lemoncello's games. In the second book, there's a nation-wide rematch. Kids from all over the United States are given the chance to compete in a week-long "Olympic" event at Lemoncello's amazing library in Ohio. The twelve games allow for a lot of name dropping--book titles, author names, plot descriptions. But mostly silly, over-the-top, fantastic gimmicks. Will Kyle, Akimi, Sierra, and Miguell win again? Or will they meet their match in Marjory Muldauer?

My thoughts: I am not one for gimmicks. I am one for reading books. I am one for libraries. But can a book's sole strength come from name-dropping books and authors and still be a good book? Isn't a little character development ever needed? The plot comes solely from the kids--all devoid of characterization essentially--playing games and solving puzzles. That being said, it was a quick, easy read. It didn't require a bit of thought. I don't regret the time I spent reading it. 

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Choo Choo

Choo Choo. Virginia Lee Burton. 1937/2017. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Once upon a time there was a little engine. Her name was CHOO CHOO. She was a beautiful little engine. All black and shiny.

Premise/plot: Choo Choo was originally published in 1937. The original illustrations by Virginia Lee Burton have been colorized by Lauren Pettapiece. Choo Choo is the story of a little engine who is a bit naughty. What does she do that is naughty? She decides one day that she does NOT want to pull cars anymore--she wants to run free and go where she wants. This doesn't work out well for her!!!

My thoughts: I haven't decided if Choo Choo is more or less naughty than Thomas the Tank Engine. I do know that I like this one. The text is quite enjoyable. It is a bit text-heavy so this one might be great for train lovers with a longer attention span. (Freight Train is light on text, Choo Choo is NOT.) But the illustrations are what really make this one so delightful.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10
 
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Friday, October 06, 2017

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

 First sentence: There was once a small boy called Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and what's more he wasn't very old either. His house was next door to an old people's home and he knew all the people who lived there.

Premise/plot: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge has many friends; but his most special friend has four names just like him: Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. When he hears that she is losing her memory--or has "lost" her memory, Wilfrid sets out in search of it. But first, he has to know exactly what a memory is. So, being young and curious, he asks. Equipped with descriptions of exactly what memory is, he sets out on a quest. Will the items he collects be just what Miss Nancy needs?

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I loved the descriptions of memories:
  • "Something warm, my child, something warm."
  • "Something from long ago, me lad, something from long ago."
  • "Something that makes you cry, my boy, something that makes you cry."
  • "Something that makes you laugh, my darling, something that makes you laugh."
  • "Something as precious as gold, young man, something as precious as gold."
I love the celebration of friendship as well. This picture book is just a gem.


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Hooray for Books

Hooray for Books. Brian Won. 2017. HMH. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: "Where is that book? It's my favorite!" Turtle said. He searched his entire house--but no book.

Premise/plot: Turtle cannot find his FAVORITE book. Did he lend it to a friend? He visits his friend one by one to see if his book can be found. Each friend offers him a different book to read instead--one of their favorites. But Turtle wants HIS favorite book. Will Turtle find his book again?

Hooray for Books is the third in a series. Readers can also enjoy Hooray for Hat! and Hooray for Today! If you've read the previous books, chances are you'll enjoy this one all the more.

My thoughts: This book could have had a tragic ending. I can definitely relate to Turtle. There is nothing worse than being caught up in the panic of not knowing where your favorite book is. Until the book is found, how can normality ever be restored. In some cases, it can't. One then must seek out a new copy of a favorite book. (Which leads to the potential of a happy dance if you find the original, "lost" copy). When the search is on--the SEARCH IS ON--nothing can or will stop you. (I can relate to Turtle being completely disinterested in his friend's books. I will commend Turtle for being polite and not getting angry or pushy.) When the book is found, Turtle celebrates by reading it THREE times in a row. (If my favorite book was a picture book, I would so do this.) Will Turtle lend his book again? Here's where Turtle and I part company. Turtle does. He borrows his friends' books, and he lends out his again. (I personally am of the opinion that if you only have one copy of your favorite book, it should not be loaned; that's why you *need* multiple copies of your favorite book.)

The book celebrates stories, books, and friendship.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Dollmaker of Krakow

Dollmaker of Krakow. R.M. Romero. 2017. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: There once was a little doll named Karolina, who lived in a country far from the human world. The Land of the Dolls was a large kingdom that stretched countless miles in any direction one could think of.

Premise/plot: The Dollmaker of Krakow is historical fantasy set during the Second World War. Cyryl Brzezick is a dollmaker living in Krakow; one day he's carving a wooden doll from a memory. Without knowing how or why, he discovers he's called a soul into the body of the doll--that soul is Karolina. She is a living doll. And the two become close friends. Though he worries that not everyone will understand and accept his magic. He urges her to stay quiet when others are about. And even before the Nazi soldiers come storming into Poland, into Krakow, into their lives, not every face is a friendly face.

The dollmaker and Karolina become extremely close with a Jewish man (Jozef Trzmiel) and his daughter (Rena). There will come a time when this friendship is tested and proved. Will Karolina and the Dollmaker find the courage and strength to stand up to EVIL?!

My thoughts: This fantasy novel is compelling. (I read it at the same time I was reading Irena's Children--a nonfiction biography.) Perhaps I found the nonfiction biography even more compelling and engaging than this fantasy novel. But that's not to say there isn't a place for historical fantasy. This book involved two wars: the war in the human world involving the Nazis and the war in the Land of Dolls involving the invading RATS. I would have much rather the focus been on the human world. The rat segments just didn't captivate me. That being said, it's not my place to review what "should have been" or what "could have been." Did I like it--yes or no? I definitely liked it. Was it sad? YES.

Favorite quotes:
"When a human cries out for a doll, there is always a reason. They need you and you may find that they have what you need too."
The depth of the look that passed between the Dollmaker and Karolina could not be conveyed in a single word; it was too full of every story and victory and long night they had shared with each other. It was too full of love. And so the Dollmaker chose not one word but two. "Live well," he told her.
Magic is an odd thing. It never takes the form you'd expect.
You can destroy a person, Karolina, but destroying their story is far more difficult. No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.
Dolls were like children; they could not hide their joy.
An entire lifetime spent without believing anything marvelous would be gloomy and dull.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day. Lane Smith. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The warmth of the sun...felt good on Cat's back. Cat liked to be in the flower bed where the daffodils grew. It was a perfect day for Cat. The cool of the water was what Dog liked best. When it was hot, Dog sat in the wading pool that his friend Bert filled for him. It was a perfect day for Dog.

Premise/plot: A Perfect Day is a near-perfect look at differing perspectives. Cat. Dog. Chickadee. Squirrel. Readers meet them one by one. Not everyone will have a perfect day....all day. Enter BEAR.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one very much. It starts off perfectly lovely. Readers meet a cat, a dog, a boy named Bert, a chickadee, and a squirrel. As much as I "hate" to say it, the Bear MAKES the book. There would be no story without the Bear. The Bear makes for some conflict. My favorite illustration of the book is the spread where Bear has the corncob--formerly Squirrel's corncob--in his mouth seemingly grinning. The text reads: It was a perfect day for Squirrel. The WAS appears in a different font and a different size from the rest of the text giving it emphasis. This "was" emphasis continues as readers see what else Bear needs for his perfect day.

The back jacket flap shows a snapshot of a bear eating birdseed out of a bird feeder. My guess is this one is based on a true story.

Text 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Mouse and Hippo

Mouse and Hippo. Mike Twohy. 2017. Simon Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Whoa! Oops, excuse me, I had an itch. Your itch was me...and HELP...I can't swim!

Premise/plot: The story opens with a mouse painting the ocean. His easel is set up on a rock...or is it?! Turns out that Mouse's "rock" is really HIPPO. After Hippo saves Mouse from drowning, Mouse volunteers to paint him. But how does a mouse get all of Hippo to fit on his small canvas?! Mouse paints what he sees, and he uses his largest brush to do so. Hippo is delighted--absolutely delighted--with his portrait. Hippo then decides to paint a portrait of Mouse. Hippo paints what he sees--as Mouse did--and Mouse is charmed with the results. (Hippo uses a tiny brush to paint Mouse.)

My thoughts: This book is ALL about perspective. Well, that's an exaggeration. It's equally about friendship, art, and perspective. How do YOU see the world around you? How do you represent what you see on the page--or the canvas--in front of you?

The text of the book is all dialogue. Hippo's words are in black. Mouse's words are in brown. It could work as a traditional read aloud--in the home, at school, at the library. Or. It could be a book a parent and child read together. One could read the part of hippo. The other could read the part of Mouse. I think either way it could work well.

Personally, I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. It made me smile again and again. I thought the illustrations were absolutely perfect. I thought the text was great as well.
Gee--you don't really know how big a hippo is until you try to paint one! 
Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Monday, October 02, 2017

Pop-Up Shakespeare

Pop-Up Shakespeare. The Reduced Shakespeare Co. Illustrated by Jennie Maizels. 2017. Candlewick. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Welcome to the world of William Shakespeare! William Shakespeare lived from 1564 to 1616 and is still, centuries later, thought to be the greatest playwright ever.

Premise/plot: This pop-up book was written by the Reduced Shakespeare Company and illustrated by Jennie Maiezels. One spread is dedicated to William Shakespeare himself. One spread focuses on Shakespeare's comedies. One spread focuses on Shakespeare's histories. One spread focuses on Shakespeare's romances. One spread focuses on Shakespeare's tragedies. Something is said about each and every Shakespeare play. The emphasis is sometimes more on what the plays have in common than on what makes each play unique.

My thoughts: I liked it. I like the idea of liking it anyway. Some pop-ups work better than others. The pop-up for the tragedies, for me, proves problematic in closing the book again. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the pop-ups to lay flat again and fit together. The flaps on the front page--particularly on the bottom corner of the right hand page--absolutely refused to open. The flaps and pop-ups worked well for the most part, but be prepared to turn the book around a lot. Every inch of space in the book has teeny tiny print filled with information.

I would say this is definitely a picture book for older readers. I don't see how actual children could have any interest at all in Shakespeare and his plays. For that matter, the content of Shakespeare's plays wouldn't be suitable for children.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

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.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

My Blog List

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP