Wednesday, August 5, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Aaron Zenz











Title: The Hiccupotamus
Author/Illustrator: Aaron Zenz
Publisher: Scholastic
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
There was a hippopotamus
Who hiccupped quite-a-lotamus
And every time he got'emus
He'd fall upon his bottomus

Why you should read it:
All I can say is everything about this picture book is cute! Cute illustrations, cute rhyme, cute premise. Who hasn't struggled with a bout of hiccups that just wouldn't go away? Oh how I laughed as I eagerly turned the pages to see what would happen next. What a delightful addition to any home library!

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5...grab it!
 

**Rating scale**
 

 5 out of 5...grab it!

 4 out of 5...think about it.

 3 out of 5...take or leave it.

 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5...forget about it!
 
 


 
 
Blurb: Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD
 
 

Monday, August 3, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER G





The letter G for me this week is going to be easy. It stands for GIVING BACK and it's something I try to do every day. It doesn't matter whether you are a READER or a 'RITER or both...here are some things I've done over the years to give back to the wonderful reading and 'riting community. What are some of the things YOU have done? Tell us in the comments section and keep up the great GIVING BACK work!

1. DONATE BOOKS...if you were on Facebook yesterday you might have seen my post about my latest book drive results. Every summer I host my annual book drive for local elementary school libraries. I've been doing this for eight years now and due to the generosity of too many people to include in this post, I have been able to donate literally THOUSANDS of books to my local schools. In just a couple of weeks I will be delivering over $5.000 worth of books for this year's donations. This will bring my total donations to over $165,000 to date!!

2. FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION...before I became a published author with my picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, I did everything I could think of to help promote my fellow writers by sharing THEIR books with other readers through my FREE AUTHOR PROMOTION events. The last year I did it I had close to 2000 autographed books and swag items to hand out at my booth for the Children's Festival of Reading.

3. WRITERLY WISDOM SERIES...if you click on the "For Writers" link to the right of this post, you will discover an entire year's worth of posts dedicated to helping beginner and established writers improve their own writing skills. Many wonderful authors, agents, and publishers generously provided guest blog posts every week for an entire year covering everything from deciding what kind of writer do you want to be to overcoming writer's block to school visits and marketing your books. 

4. STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB...this is for the readers out there who like receiving a FREE bimonthly newsletter filled with games, puzzles, coloring sheets, mazes, and the latest STORY CATCHER news as well as fun nature and animal facts. Teachers use parts of the newsletter in their classrooms and even homeschoolers share it with their kids as part of their reading activity. I love doing them and my readers seem to enjoy them so it's a win-win for everyone!

5. STORY TIME AT THE MALL...for the past couple of years I've been going to the local mall and reading to the children who visit the play area there. The kids love being read to and get excited if I read a book they are already familiar with and the parents thank me for the unexpected surprise reading for their children.

6. READ TO ME VOLUNTEER...I am an approved READ TO ME volunteer and have worked with my local elementary schools to visit select classrooms where I read to the children or even help tutor children who have difficulty learning to read. My picture book, THE STORY CATCHER, about a little girl struggling to learn how to read, is based on a very real girl and my working with her for the entire school year before she finally began to read on her own.

7. GIFT BASKET DONATIONS...there are many festivals, school carnivals, and local events where I am invited to provide a crafts booth and share my love of reading with people. I always provide door prizes and baskets at my own booth where people have a chance to win a basket of free books. I even decorated my car one year for a church TRUNK OR TREAT and gave away hundreds of FREE books as well as candy to the children who stopped by to visit with me.

As you see there are many different ways to GIVE BACK as both a reader or a 'riter. There's nothing more powerful as a gift than instilling in children the love of reading. To open their minds to the magic to be found within the pages of a good book. And if I'm lucky enough, I will have many more years to keep paying it forward every way I can. What are YOU doing to GIVE BACK??








Blurb: Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords


JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD
       




Wednesday, July 29, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: David Catrow





Title: Funny Lunch
Author/Illustrator:David Catrow
Publisher: Orchard Books
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
Max creates a hilarious lunchtime adventure as he serves up one hysterical meal after another at his own diner.

Why you should read it:
I think David Catrow might be one of my favorite current illustrators. I've read many of the books he has either written or illustrated and love every one! Max is such an adorable character and I had to smile at his eagerness to show off his culinary skill. Mr. Catrow's artwork style is so distinctive that I find myself pouring over each page, inspecting every nuance as I find myself drawn into each engaging storyline. FUNNY LUNCH is no exception and would be a great addition to any home or school library.


Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5...grab it!
 

**Rating scale**
 

 5 out of 5...grab it!

 4 out of 5...think about it.

 3 out of 5...take or leave it.

 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5...forget about it!
 
 


Blurb: Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD

Monday, July 27, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER F









 One of the genres readers and writers enjoy is fantasy. What better way to indulge one's love of magical worlds and mythical beasts than to dip one's toes in the waters of another realm? To help celebrate the letter F this week, I thought I would tease you with the opening to my Young Adult fantasy story I'm writing entitled LUNDAR. Whether crossing time portals to forage for survival or fighting a dark lord to help secure the future of the waterfall city, the world and people of LUNADAR are what fantasy is all about!



Lunadar: Homeward Bound
By: Donna L Martin

             The setting sun bathes the deck in an unnatural light.  The men are restless.  They have been too long from land, too long from home and it weighs heavily upon their spirits.  This night will be a rough one with choppy seas and razor sharp tongues.  My hand is firm upon the railing and my body sways in rhythm to the waves.  My eyes peer into the fading light as if to see land just beyond the portal.  I will get no rest this night.

             Voices waft up from below, a harsh word muttered here and there as the men settle down in cramp quarters which reek of sweat and dirt from many days at sea withonly each other and the moonlight for company.   My body begs for rest but my mind races.  Crowded with the what-ifs and what-could-have-been of another life time.  Too late to change things.  The sea is my master and I follow wherever it leads me.  

             I struggle to stay awake.   Many depend on me to lead them through the rocky maze which lies before us.  But I am confident.  I know this path well, having traveled it many times.  Truth be told,  I could steer this ship through these waters with my eyes closed.  Every rock and shell is as familiar to me as the stars in the northern sky.

             The maze is done and once again we are on the open sea.  A solitary moon looms before me, the only other thing awake at this time of night.  Midnight hour. Witching hour.  A time when the portal opens between the here and now to stretch into the outer world.  My heart races as if mere wishing could make these sails quicken the journey.  At last we are homeward bound and another moon will not rise before we are once again in the arms of our loved ones.  All that stands between them and me is the moon. 

*********************






 
 
Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD
 
 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Heidi Howarth





Title: The Littlest Lighthouse Keeper
Author: Heidi Howarth
Illustrator: Daniel Howarth
Publisher: QEB Publishing Inc
Ages: 4-8



Synopsis: 
Will Henry and his new friends be able to save the day when the lighthouse keeper goes out?

Why you should read it:
The youngest readers out there will enjoy meeting a little mouse named Henry who lives by the sea in a lighthouse. Everything is going great for Henry until the human goes away for the day and he is left all by himself when a storm approaches. With the help of some new friends, Henry discovers he has what it takes to become the littlest lighthouse keeper.


Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5...think about it.
 

**Rating scale**
 

 5 out of 5...grab it!

 4 out of 5...think about it.

 3 out of 5...take or leave it.

 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5...forget about it!


Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD
 

Monday, July 20, 2015

THE ABC'S OF READING & 'RITING: LETTER E





Today's letter E is for ECLECTIC...

I've always been a voracious reader ever since my older sister, Janet, helped teach me how to read.  When it came time to teaching my own son how to read, I encouraged him to read a variety of different genres. A good read is a good read no matter whether it's a picture book, mystery, middle grade humor, or nonfiction. Here are some of my favorites I've read over the years...






A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens...The plight of the French peasantry demoralised by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution.





SILAS MARNER by George Eliot...A gentle linen weaver is accused of a heinous crime. Exiling himself, he becomes a recluse, only to find redemption in his love for an abandoned child who mysteriously appears one day in his isolated cottage.





MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE by Marguerite Henry...Set in the island town of Chincoteague,Virginia, the book tells the story of the Beebe family and their efforts to raise a filly born to a wild horse.






A DIFFERENT CLASS BOYHOOD by JP Rambling...From humble beginnings in a small coal-mining community, where life was largely idyllic, Joel is thrust into the alien environment of a plush boys' boarding school and things begin to unravel.




CHASING LINCOLN'S KILLER by James Swanson... Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the man hunters, this book is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth.







DON'T FORGET TO WRITE by Pam Hobbs...In June 1940, 10-year-old Pam Hobbs and her sister Iris took the long journey from their council home in Leigh-on-Sea to faraway rural Derbyshire during England's countrywide Operation Pied Piper in an attempt to save the children from Hitler's bombs.






THE THREE NINJA PIGS by Corey Rosen Schwartz...Why does this wolf think he can come to town and blow all the houses down? These three little pigs just aren't going to take it from that bully anymore! The first starts aikido lessons---he'll make mincemeat out of that wolf! His brother learns a little jujitsu--he'll chop that guy to pieces!







HAMPIRE by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
On the farm, the critters knew,
At night while they were sleeping,
Past barn and pens,
Past lambs and hens,
A HAMPIRE went out creeping.




THE MONSTORE by Tara Lazar...The Monstore is a one-stop shop for all your monsterly needs in this enormously funny story that's full of friendly, kooky creatures.



I'm heavily into picture books these days...reading an average of 300-400 books a year...along with all the other books I read, but so far my all time favorite book is...




THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein...The book follows the life of a female apple tree and a boy who are able to communicate with each other; the tree addresses the human as "Boy" his entire life. In his childhood, the boy enjoys playing with the tree, climbing her trunk, swinging from her branches, and eating her apples. However, as time passes he starts to make requests of the tree.


How about you? What are some of your favorite reads over the years? Do you have an all time favorite? Share with me in the comments below...





 
 
Blurb:Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle ¦ Paperback ¦ B&N ¦ Smashwords



JOIN THE STORY CATCHER FAN CLUB!
Membership includes:
 

Membership Certificate

Bi-montly Newsletter full of mazes, puzzles, games, news, and other goodies
Reading Log for earning STORY CATCHER AWARD



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Robin Caroll





Title: Samantha Sanderson Off The Record


Author: Robin Carroll 

 
Publisher: Zonderkidz Publishing  
 
Ages: 9-11



Synopsis:
Sometimes decisions are almost impossible to make. When the school's grades are tampered with, Samantha Sanderson must enlist her best friend Makayla's help in hacking the system to discover the virus that was used and who committed the crime. But when the lead suspect is her new found friend, Felicia, Sam must choose whether to stick by her friend at all cost or report the story as she sees it.

Why maybe you should read it:
Middle school can be a challenging journey at best but for most kids, it's a maze of dealing with rising hormones, peer pressure, and all sorts of daily distractions. All Samantha wants to be is a good investigative reporter, but tough choices threaten to get in her way when the "evidence" involving grade tampering at her school points to a new friend being the culprit.

Older elementary school age kids will be able to relate to Samantha and might even find themselves struggling with some of the same challenges. The bonds of friendship are tested and Samantha discovers the type of person she wants to become in SAMANTHA SANDERSON OFF THE RECORD.  A good addition to any home library.
 
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5...think about it.


**Rating scale**


 5 out of 5...grab it!


 4 out of 5...think about it.


 3 out of 5...take it or leave it.


 2 out of 5...maybe not for you.


 1 out of 5...forget about it!

 
 
(Disclaimer: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers http://booklookbloggers.com book 
review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the 
Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx 03/16cfr255 03.html ("Guides Concerning the use of 
Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.")