Terrible Twin Mania

Fields, Jan. Terrible Twin Mania. Illustrated by Tracy Bishop. Minneapolis, MN: Magic Wagon, 2014.

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Terrible Twin Mania was my free book this month in my review box from Mid America Books. I was not familiar with this series so I decided to read it.  I love the concept behind the series Meri’s Mirror. Meri is a quiet girl with few friends beyond those she meets in the books she reads. In a previous book in the series she discovered that the mirror she received as a gift is special. When she leaves a book in front of the mirror the characters come to life within the mirror.

In Terrible Twin Mania new students join Meri’s class at school – twin brother and sister. Twins are nothing special to Meri, she has a set at home. But her class goes wild over the twins and Meri behaves in a way that could be perceived as jealous. Meri is reading The Little Princess and, when Meri places the book in front of her mirror, Sarah comes to visit. Meri talks over her problems with the twins with Sarah and develops a plan of action for improving the situation.

I think that my second and third grade girls will love this new fantasy book. If you’d like to add Terrible Twin Mania (Meri’s Mirror) to your library, it is available from Amazon. Thanks for using my affiliate link which helps support this children’s literature blog.


Did you take the B from my __ook?

Stanton, Beck & Matt. Did you take the B from my __ook? New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2016.

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What would happen if you removed a letter from an entire book? If you take the letter B away, blue becomes lue and boots becomes oots. Beck and Matt Stanton have taken this concept and focused the book around it. I can see uses for this book at the kindergarten or pre school level when you are introducing the letter B. The simple sketches complement the text well.

I can imagine loud laughing as the children get silly along with the text. I’m sure I will find out in the next couple of weeks as I will be sharing this book and others from the Children’s Choice Award list with my students. I encourage you to get this fun book for your students.

Books That Drive Kids CRAZY!: Did You Take the B from My _ook? is available from Amazon if you’d like to add it to your library. Thank you for using my affiliate link which supports this children’s literature blog.

The Heart’s Appeal

Delamere, Jennifer. The Heart’s Appeal. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2018.

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Julia is an independent young woman in late 1800’s London. When she was young, her father was lost at sea and her mother later died. She and her sisters spent their remaining growing up years in George Whitfield’s orphanage. Julia’s heart’s desire is to become a doctor. She is in the final months of her “pre-med” instruction when she assists a stranger during a train accident. It turns out that he is one of the lawyers in a case which is attempting to shut down the women’s medical school she hopes to attend. Julia and Michael (the lawyer) find themselves in love but forced apart by the powerful man who has hired him. The Heart’s Appeal is a story of learning to follow God even when it doesn’t seem to be the same as your desires.

The Heart’s Appeal is book two in the London Beginnings series. Fortunately, you do not need to The Captain’s Daughter, which is book one in the series, before reading The Heart’s Appeal. I’m sure that there is back story that you miss out on, but it does not diminish the enjoyment.

Jennifer Delamere research into the time period is evident. As is her understanding of following the Lord in your life. I think that my middle and high school students will enjoy this book; yours may as well.

I want to thank Bethany House Publishers for providing the review copy in exchange for this review. The book will be placed in my school library.

Friends Stick Together

Friends Blog Tour

Harrison, Hannah E. Friends Stick Together. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers Group, 2018.

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Friends Stick Together is a good picture book about being a friend – especially when your friend isn’t just like you. Rupert is a rhinoceros who is refined – he likes to read, listening to classical music, and eating dainty sandwiches. Levi is a tickbird and is far from refined – he likes corny jokes, popping wheelies and other things that aren’t so refined. Rupert struggles to like Levi, in fact Rupert is rather mean to Levi. Then, one day, Levi doesn’t show up at school and Rupert discovers he misses him. Rupert goes to Levi’s house and makes up and they are friends again. Friends Stick Together can be used by teachers to help students realize that friends don’t have to be just like you and that it is okay to be different.

One area of concern for some audiences could be Levi liking “armpit farts” – I think the kids will giggle over that reference but some audiences may feel the reference is inappropriate.

Hannah Harrison seems to understand children – she has captured the voice of children well. Her illustrations were created using acrylic paints. Friends Stick Together will probably be on my Mock Caldecott list next fall.

I want to thank Penguin Young Readers for sending me this book in exchange for the review. The book will be placed in my school’s library.


My Friend Maggie

Harrison, Hannah E. My Friend Maggie. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016.

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Most children have been tempted to forsake a true friend in an effort to gain the friendship of a popular child. My Friend Maggie explores that concept. Paula, a beaver, is friends with Maggie, an elephant. They do everything together until one day Veronica starts pointing out Maggie’s faults. Paula knows she should stand up for Maggie, but doesn’t. Then Veronica turns on Paula and starts making fun of her – guess who stands up for Paula. Maggie!

Once again Hannah Harrison has expressed the voice of a young child – she does an excellent job of expressing how young children think and feel. She chose to portray her characters as animals, which helps tell the story without pointing out the negative features of an actual child. Hannah Harrison used acrylics to paint the illustrations which go beyond the text in this picture book.

I want to thank Penguin Young Readers Group for providing me with a copy of My Friend Maggie in exchange for this review on my children’s literature blog. The copy I received will be placed in my school’s library.

Watch for information tomorrow on Hannah Harrison’s latest book.

Bernice Gets Carried Away

Harrison, Hannah E. Bernice Gets Carried Away. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015.

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Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Bernice is at a birthday party and that is just how she feels. She gets a piece of cake without a rose on it. They run out of cold strawberry-melon sodas so she get a warm prune-grapefruit one. One of the big kids smashes the pinata before she gets a chance to swing and the only prize she can find is a gumdrop that has been stepped on. Bernice is in a bad mood. When the balloons show up she grabs them all and flies away. As she flies, she passes other creatures in a bad mood so she decides to share the balloons. As she floats down to the ground the party-goers on the ground begin to share as well.

Hannah Harrison has captured the voice of a young child in a bad mood – we’ve all been there. Her storyline encourages children to share, even when in a bad mood, in order to brighten the lives of others. Hannah Harrison is also the illustrator of this picture book. She used acrylic paints on bristol board to create the artwork. She chose animals to portray the characters of her story. The facial expression of her characters really show the feelings of those characters.

I want to thank Penguin Young Readers Group for the copy of Bernice Gets Carried Away which I received in exchange for this review on my children’s literature blog. The copy I received will be placed in my school library.

I will be looking at Hannah Harrison’s latest book on Tuesday. Be sure you check it out.

Extraordinary Jane

Harrison, Hannah E. Extraordinary Jane. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014.

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I am a Jane. I felt ordinary growing up. I am sure there are others like me out there. Extraordinary Jane would have been the picture book for me when I was young and it could be the picture book for young children who feel they aren’t good at anything. Hannah Harrison compares Jane to her family members and the others in the circus and finds she is ordinary in a world that is extraordinary. Hannah Harrison has a knack for portraying the voice of a young child. Jane is actually a dog, in fact the only human character is the ringmaster.

Hannah Harrison used acrylic paint on bristol board to create her realistic paintings which illustrate the story. The illustrations do a great job of showing what Jane is like – going beyond the text.

I want to thank Penguin Books for Young Readers for sending me the copy in exchange for this review, it will be added to my school’s library. I will be reviewing Hannah Harrison’s newest book Friends Stick Together on April 17.

It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles

Prelutsky, Jack. It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles. Illustrated by James Stevenson. New York: HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2000.

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In anticipation of Poetry Month, I recently added It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles to our school library. One of our teachers, loves anything by Jack Prelutsky and since we didn’t have this book yet, she asked me to add it.

Jack Prelutsky does a great job of capturing the silliness of childhood into poetry. Things kids think of, even if they never actually carry it out, are portrayed in his poems. What would happen if you ate a bunch of sponges? “I Took a Sip of Water” answers that. What would happen if you ate 10 desserts right before bed? “I’m Tortured by Insomnia” tells you. Over 100 poems are included, I’m sure there is something to appeal to most of the children in your class.

James Stevenson’s drawings illustrate the poems. His cartoon style seems appropriate for the book. As a whole It’s Raining Pigs & Noddles reminds me of some of Shel Silverstein’s work.

If you do not have It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles yet, it is available from Amazon. Thank you for using my affiliate link which helps support this children’s literature blog.

Gingerbread for Liberty

Rockliff, Mara. Gingerbread for Liberty: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution. Illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2015.

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Gingerbread for Liberty! is one of the picture books on this year’s Land of Enchantment list. If my students are any indication, it will win the award. My third through fifth graders overwhelmingly voted in favor of Gingerbread for Liberty winning the award.

Gingerbread for Liberty! How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution tells the story of a little-known hero of the war, Christopher Ludwick. The picture book is really a short biography of Ludwick. Author Mara Rockliff tells his story in an engaging way. He was born in Germany but came to America where he started a bakery in Philadelphia. He loved his new country so much that when the Revolutionary War began he wanted to help.

Mara Rockliff repeats the quote from Ludwick, “There are no empty bellies here. Not in my America.” I think my students favorite quote from the book though is Ludwick’s wife stating, “…and you are old and fat” when he says he going off to fight in the war.

Vincent Kirsch used watercolor and masking fluid to create his illustrations which have a wood cut feel. They are different than what my students are used to and I was happy to expose them to a different style.

Gingerbread for Liberty!: How a German Baker Helped Win the American Revolution is available from Amazon. Thanks for using my affiliate link which helps support this children’s literature blog.

Cricket in the Thicket

Murray, Carol. Cricket in the Thicket. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.

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Cricket in the Thicket is one of the books I added to our library this  year for Poetry Month. Carol Murray has included over 20 poems about bugs in this picture book illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Each poem is followed by a fact about the same bug. The book closes with three pages of notes about the bugs represented in the book. Poem titles include: “Let’s Hear it for the Dung Beetle,” “Termite Taste,” and “Daddy, What Long Legs You Have!” Melissa Sweet used watercolor and mixed media to create her illustrations. They complement and go beyond the text to give readers many things to look at besides the text.

Cricket in the Thicket could be used as part of a poetry unit. It could also be used as part of an insect unit. The facts included make this picture book a useful non fiction resource. Teachers could use this as a spring board to students writing their own poetry about insects.

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems about Bugs is available from Amazon if you’d like to add it to your library. Thank you for using my affiliate link which helps support this children’s literature blog.

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