I grew up being read to out of this book as well. When I found we had it at the library I became SO excited!
First Line: “Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep, and can’t tell where to find them;”
Summary: All of the mother goose nursery rhymes you grew up with (or your kids will) are included in this book alongside beautiful illustrations.
Maggie: *Did not participate*
Conor: 5 stars
Mama Lala: 5 stars
Their Thoughts: Conor opens the book repeatedly to the “Humpty Dumpty” and “Hey Diddle Diddle” Nursery Rhymes. He carries his board book version at home around. I think we found our favorite.
My Thoughts: I grew up being read to out of this book as well. When I found we had it at the library I became SO excited. My kids like it so much we actually found a board book version of it for Conor to have, and a regular picture book version for the family library. I am so happy we all get to share this memory.
My Thoughts (SPOILERS): This book makes me want to research. I know I’ve heard of the Orisha before…
First Line: “T- minus five days.”
Summary: There is magic in this world, and the rest, and nobody knows it. One day Maya watches the color drain from the world, and wonders if she is going crazy. Then her dad disappears– literally– and Maya knows something is going on. When the truth is revealed to her, she knows she must go save her father.
Rating: 4.5 stars! I know something about this book must not be perfect, but I cannot think of it!
My Thoughts (SPOILERS): This book makes me want to research. I know I’ve heard of the Orisha before, I believe it is an African folklore, but i want to KNOW. I want to compare these characters to the Gods they are based on. I want to dive deep into the mythology.
A little warning, I wanted to read this book with my daughter, who is 9. I’m a little glad I didn’t. Some kids could handle this book at that age, and others would have nightmares. I’m not sure which side my girl would land on, and that is why I’m glad I didn’t share. The villain is quite creepy, and he can kill you in your dreams (which is why I was timid to share with my young one).
All in all, it’s a wonderful book, just be sure your creepy kid won’t get nightmares before you bring it home to them.
You can check it out at the library via the link above. Hope to see you soon.
Its Chelsea again– Lala the Library Lady. Today I’m here to tell you about some new fun going on at the library.
Last semester I started a weekly blog post titled “Mom and Me Book Reviews”. It’s been fun sharing my nightly book choices with both my children AND each of you! For those of you who haven’t read one of these, the process goes a little something like this: My I read a book to my kids. A lot of nights this means just my oldest, because my 18 month old isn’t ready to cooperate for bedtime books yet. She tells me what she thinks of the book, and I tell you. I also tell you my “mommy” opinion of the book, because that matters too! I can like a book and not think it appropriate. I can also think something is a good book, but not enjoyable. All of that is explored in our book reviews.
Well, this month we are taking “Mommy and Me Book Reviews” a step further. Starting this semester (January 18th) there will be a scavenger hunt and wiggle walk matching the book review theme!
Don’t know what a wiggle walk is? Let me tell you! It’s exactly what it sounds like– a walk meant to make you wiggle and move! Better yet, this made-of-chalk wiggle-walk is OUTDOORS so you and your family can do it any time during the week– day, night, library open or library closed. Each week new themed directions will be drawn on the sidewalk on the west side of the building by the parking lot. A “swirl” might suggest that you twirl, and an “line” might be a balance beam. The next week, maybe you’ll jump on all the stars or dash down all of the lines. Whatever it is, its sure to keep you moving, and sure to be fun!
The scavenger hunt will also be indoor/outdoor as much as possible. Some items may only be seen inside, but others will be visible from outdoors, so keep your eyes open for items matching that weeks theme!
Speaking of themes, stay tuned because each theme will be announced here weekly!
This week’s theme, is THE UNIVERSE. Keep your eyes out for stars, planets, sunshine and moons!
“We need to keep them safe until the time is right.” said the woman.
Summary: Frank and Phoebe’s mom is missing and their father has been killed. Brad is nervous about protecting someone while in a wheelchair. Ella is whisked away from her family by a stranger. Jinx is a misfit that nobody wants. Together they will have to learn to work together as a team to save everyone they love.
Kristen’s Thoughts: It was a great book, the author was great at bringing the characters to life.Lots of adventure and comedy tying in with an exciting mystery. It’s a book I would read again and again and is great for all ages as my grandfather couldn’t put it down. The book comes to life with every turn of the page and leaves you wanting more. If you like giant robots, super powers and random socks you’ll love this book.
book was especially fun. It’s about a little girl and her monkey saying
“Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, we went to see, we went to
see…” and each time they see a different animal.
My Thoughts: This book was actually recommended to me by the Beanstack App. Which if you haven’t signed up for you really should. I use the app to log books for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program for Amelia. Each week it sends me an email with book recommendations and this week’s was Monkey and Me.
Now, I don’t know if they intended it to be this way, but I
made it into a song, and after a few times Amelia was singing along which I
couldn’t even take. It was SO CUTE! After we read it a few times through, the
rest of the day I would hear her sing it, which it turn made me sing it too,
and became somewhat of a learning game. I would sing the phrase, then choose an
animal and ask her what noise that animal makes. SO MUCH FUN!
I think she would give it a solid 5 stars, I foresee us checking this book out
Man, Thanksgiving hit, and all my book-related newsletters and websites have been filled with “Best of 2018” and other types of end-of-year book lists. My first response was “Can you not wait until the end of the year? What if the best book of the year gets released in December?!”
But alas, the lists have not slowed down and there are so many of them I don’t know where to start or how to decide which ones I should choose books from! In other words, all these lists have me a little paralyzed. Kind of. I mean, now that I’ve looked at so many lists of what are supposed to be the best books of the year, I have no idea how to manage my to-read list, because now I want to read everything.
So, to help you build a TBR (to be read) pile for 2019, here is a Top 10 of the lists we’ve found, from the traditional, to the not-so-traditional.
This review will not look like one of our normal reviews, because this graphic novel isn’t a story with a first line, or story, but a fun collection of ideas.
I love the subtitle of this book—”An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity” because I feel that’s the essence of this book. I’ve read a couple reviews that indicate that this book isn’t great at motivating or being a self-help book. However, I’m not sure that’s what it’s meant to be.
If you’ve ever consciously engaged in the creative process in any way (art, writing, creating in any form including sewing, fiber arts, paper crafts, anything!) you’ll find some familiar feels in this book. From variations on a blank page to a walk in the park, I love the thoughts and experiences shared in this fun book.
The pictures are so detailed and fun to examine. And it seemed like on every page I found words or a picture that just spoke to me and my own creative experiences.
The First Line: Asha lured the dragon with a story.
Summary: In a land where stories are poisonous and lure fire-breathing dragons, Asha, the daughter of the dragon king, is the most feared dragon hunter in Firgaard. As a child, Asha was addicted to telling the ancient stories of her people despite their power to call the dragons. When Asha’s storytelling brings a dragon to her village, killing hundreds and permanently scaring her, Asha is deemed the Isakari, the epitome of a cursed and corrupted god. But when Asha is charged to hunt and kill the greatest dragon of all, she unlocks buried secrets about her past. Joined by her dagger-throwing cousin, a mysterious slave, and the stories of the gods, Asha’s quest for freedom and redemption challenge everything she knows about her world and herself.
Highlights: This book is epic! From the amazing, axe-wielding main character to the unique world view and social structure of Firgaard to the intense fight scenes with giant, fearsome dragons, this book has everything you could want in a fantasy story. Storytelling is vital to this world, and the author makes that prevalent by including ancient stories in between the chapters of the book. These stories read like myths or fables and are just as intriguing as the present-day tale. What also sets The Last Namsara apart from a traditional fantasy narrative is Asha’s journey from resistance to acceptance. Firgaard upholds a rigid slave order with a sect of people who are collared and treated as less than human. Through Asha’s story, she finds herself connecting with a particular slave and sympathizing with his struggles. The villains in this story are so enticing. Asha is engaged to Jarek, the commandant of the Firgaard army, and his harshness and possessiveness are delightfully terrible. Of course, what also makes this story so epic are the dragons with their great, powerful wings, poisonous fire-breath, and an affinity for storytelling!
Lowlights: While I absolutely adored this book, some might find it a little confusing in the first fifty pages or so because of the unique terminology of the class system. Specific groups of people, such as the slaves, are called skrals, and the soldiers are called soldats which both took some getting used to. I had also wished there was a map of the world in the book to be used as a reference when the author describes other lands or areas within Firgaard. In the beginning, Asha was incredibly cold toward a slave and while she does eventually warms up to him, some readers might find that she takes a little too long. Readers also may find it difficult to keep the old stories and legends straight, particularly about the gods Namsara and Iskari. However, within one hundred pages, I found that all of these things were quickly rectified, and the story flowed incredibly well.
FYI: This book will be a part of a companion trilogy with the next two books having different main characters. Asha and her company will be featured as side characters. The next book is set to release in 2018.
The author, Kristen Ciccarelli, also filmed a beautiful video about her journey to writing The Last Namsara while sculpting a dragon mug from scratch! Check it out here on YouTube!
Before Game of Thrones ignited our TVs with swords fights, dragons, and bloody battles, another television show was charming audiences across the globe. In 2010, Downton Abbey made everyone, including me, wish to be British. From sipping tea in the parlor to donning glamorous early 20th century dresses at parties to Maggie Smith’s snappy comebacks, the world of Downton inspired us with stories of lords and earls and the secret world of the servants below the stairs. When the show ended its sixth and final season in 2015, I definitely felt a Britain-sized hole in my daily life until I found the most wonderful book series that any BBC fanatic would enjoy.
The Secrets of the Manor series by Adele Whitby is best described as a Downton Abbey story told by the children of the era. The series, written for 4th – 7th graders but great for any age, starts with the Chatswood family at Chatswood Manor. The series spans across England, the United States, and France with each book revealing hidden family secrets about love, betrayal, and power.
Beth’s Story, the first in the series, follows the great-granddaughter of the family matriarch as she prepares for her twelfth birthday and the gifting of the coveted family heirloom, the sapphire Elizabeth Necklace. When Beth’s lady’s maid is accused of a terrible crime, Beth embarks on a quest through both the manor and her own family history to clear her name. The series continues on to tell the story of Beth’s cousin, Kate, their great-grandmothers Elizabeth and Katherine, and Beth and Kate’s children.
This series will delight any historical fiction lover or even a reluctant reader in search of some adventure, travel, and friendship. The series would be an excellent read-aloud story for the whole family or a great choice for school projects. Of course, the series is also excellent for adult readers seeking a quick but engaging read.
There are a few downsides to the series that I should point out. While each book could act as a stand-alone, it is best to read them in order. Many of the main characters traditionally have the same name, but use nicknames to distinguish them among each other. Despite the book including a family tree, the names of the characters and how they are related can get confusing. The series also ends abruptly at book 8 and the author Adele Whitby must be a pseudonym with no means of contacting her. I became so obsessed with the series that I actually tried contacting the publishers to ask if they’ll release more books, but I haven’t heard back from anyone. If I do, I’ll definitely let you know!
Despite these minor issues, the Secrets of the Manor series is a remarkable collection of stories set in an enchanting place and time. Laced with history, family drama, and warmth, the series is sure to delight you and make you crave a cup of tea.
This book actually gets 4.5 stars from me. Click on the title above the cover to get to the book in our catalog.
First Lines: Wherever I turned my head, I thought I saw her: a woman people described as striking, beautiful even. That would never have been my choice of words.
Summary: One of Agatha Christie’s most famous mysteries has never been solved: her mysterious disappearance for 11 days in December 1926. She left her home on a Friday evening and one of the largest missing person hunts in history was launched. This novel imagines what might have happened during those days. It begins as she leaves her literary agent and is preparing to board a train in London. She feels a hand at her back that pushes her as an oncoming train is arriving, and pulls her back just before she falls in front of the train. Her rescuer, however, is no hero. Rather, he insists that she is going to commit a murder.
Highlights: I have loved Agatha Christie’s books since I first read What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw when I was in seventh grade. This book is gutsy in taking on telling a story of what may have happened to Dame Agatha during those days she was missing. The story is cleanly told, from varying points of view. Don’t gloss over the “Editor’s Note” before the first chapter, and then go back and read it again after you’ve finished the book. It will be that much more enlightening. This book has a truly vile villain, other interesting characters, and a plot line that completely works for me.
Lowlights: I had just a little difficulty getting into the first dozen pages or so. Honestly, that could have been me rather than the writing. I fully expected a Chrsitie-esque unraveling at the end of the book of how the whole story went down, but that doesn’t happen. However, that didn’t hurt the story at all for me. And there’s a little information that isn’t completely cleared up at the end, so if you like every little thing all tied up in a neat little bow, you won’t get that here.
Just a little more: This is a great imagining of what could have happened during Agatha Christie’s disappearance. I recommend it for anyone who loves a good mystery, and especially for fans of Dame Agatha. I received an advance e-copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.