That time of year

Our bushes were beautiful but they were bare. We noticed that the caterpillars hadn’t shown up yet and we were concerned that it has been too hot for them. Then, the next day, they arrived! We counted about 25 of them crawling around on the bushes. This number was a bit less than last year, I can’t take myself away from them when they arrive, I’m constantly checking on them throughout the day and just watching them. After 3 days, all but 1 of them have disappeared. We’ve only located 3 pupas hanging nearby ( we bet the rest are hiding under the bushes) and now, I check on them. This is such an amazing process!!

Continue reading “That time of year”

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan Higgins

5 stars Children’s

I love Penelope because she’s more than a T-Rex. Penelope loves to go to school and the students in her class don’t treat her any different just because she’s a dinosaur.  Instead of playing cops-n-robbers, they play cops-n-dinosaurs so Penelope can play with them.  Penelope loves to read, play, and draw just like any other child plus Penelope has feelings just like they do too.  Penelope’s favorite thing to do in the whole wide world is, to rock-out on her guitar!

Penelope gets so excited when the teacher announces a talent show that she’s the first one to sign up. She had to walk past Walter the Goldfish to get to the signup sheet, now that’s a brave dinosaur.   Rehearsing over and over again at home, Penelope is ready for the big night when she can play on stage.

When they have a school rehearsal, Penelope freezes!  What!?! Penelope can’t move.  She can’t play her guitar.  What will happen on the night of the talent show when everyone comes to watch Penelope rock-out? 

Doubt has started to creep into Penelope.  She wonders about her ability to play.  How can she get the confidence she needs to play?  A cute book about this fantastic dinosaur and her classmates.   

Bird Hugs by Ged Adamson

5 stars Children’s

What a fantastic uplifting book! Bernard is different, I mean really different.  He’s a bird with really long wings.  While all the other birds are learning how to fly, Bernard is grounded. He’s tried to fly but it didn’t work out.  He’s had a few friends who have encouraged him but things just haven’t worked out.  Eventually, everyone leaves him as they’re birds, as they fly off to find themselves new homes which leaves Bernard sad and then, I’m sad just thinking about him. 

One evening Bernard hears something that changes his life forever.  Bernard discovers that the noise is someone who is more heartbroken than he is.  Wanting to help, Bernard wraps his long wings around the sobbing orangutan and gives him a huge hug. This hug is a huge success for the both of them.  

I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was great that Bernard tried to come up with solutions to his issue and that he became emotional during this time.  We can’t deny our feelings and Bernard definitely felt many emotions coming to terms with his gift.  I loved that Bernard went out of his way to find the source of the noise when he heard it and that he did what came nature to him, when he saw that it was the orangutan. The ending was fantastic and it left a huge smile on my face. I need this book!  It reminded me of the book, Donna O’Neeshuck Was Chased by Some Cows which I have loved for years.  

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman

4 stars Children’s

The illustrations inside this book are wonderful.  I enjoyed how the author included the child in each of the interesting images.  From playing in the ocean with a pair of elephants, to jumping on a trampoline with a kangaroo, to playing hide-n-seek with a snow rabbit on a winter day, all of the pictures in this children’s book have a playful, magical feeling to them.

This book is about love and how that love continues wherever someone may travel. I have to admit that the first couple pages felt quirky to me as I read them.  I didn’t quite understand exactly what the author was trying to say.  It wasn’t until a few pages later that I finally understood where this book was headed and I ended up enjoying the book.  I liked that this book rhymed, as it helps creates the mood and the rhyming didn’t feel forced. I thought this was a sweet book with a great message.   

The Little Kitten by Nicola Killen

5 stars Children’s

What a great book by Pumpkin and Ollie, as these two friends discover a new friend while outside playing. They both enjoyed having their new friend around but its Ollie who realizes that perhaps their new friend can’t stay with them forever.

I liked how the book included a few cutouts on its pages and the use of the foil-colored details on some of its other pages really stood out.  I thought the illustrations were crisp and adorable. The use of shades of white, orange and black throughout the book worked for me also.  I like this series.     

There is a nice surprise at the end of the book. While this book could be seen as a seasonal book, I wouldn’t read it only during October.  5 stars

Could You Survive The Jurassic Period? by Matt Doeden

5 stars Children’s

Now, this was fun!  I’m so glad to see these books on the shelves. I have always wondered why they didn’t market these younger adventure stories sooner.  I remember reading and loving The Choose Your Own Adventure Stories that my sons would read, when they were younger.  They’re wonderful and addictive, once you get started.

Reading a You Choose Your Way book is like being the captain of a ship, as you’ll get to choose your own destiny in the book.  You, yes you, are a character in the story.  After reading a section in the book, you’ll be asked two questions and you’ll have to decide which one of the questions you want to do.  Don’t think too long, just put yourself in the story and act.  It’s pretty simple yet your consequences are another story as they could be simple or severe. Oh, there’s no peeking, so you shouldn’t look ahead to see if you should do the first task or the second one, just make a decision and go for it. Continue in this fashion until you reach the page where the book tells you that you’ve reached The End. Now, you won’t be at the end of the book heck, you haven’t even read all the pages, so start the book over and choose some different options this time and see how you do this time.  It’s really quite fun!

In this You Choose story, you are in the science museum with your class, looking at a dinosaur fossil exhibit with your friend Eduardo, who is dinosaur obsessed. Eduardo shows Jasmine that he knows his dinosaurs, after she expressed her reaction to the exhibit. The class is moving on but the three of them stay at the exhibit.  Eduardo sees this as the perfect opportunity for which he makes a suggestion and now, the three of them are reaching for the dinosaur fossil. Black-Out!

They awake to a blue sky, ferns surrounding them and a shadow flying by. Wait, that was not a shadow!  That a pterosaur!

Reading a You Choose story, you get to choose your own path throughout the story.  I was cautious my first time through and I lived a long life. A long, studious life. I reread the book over and over again, taking different paths each time and well, I didn’t do so well in my other lives.  I had great adventures, saw many things but living a long life was not one of them. “As you faced your doom, you can’t help but feel cheated.”  So, yes, you can get eaten in this book but it’s not in a gross and descriptive way, you die. 

The illustrations in the book are gray, dark green and white in color.  Again, nothing gross in nature but the dinosaurs look fierce and they’re not cartoonish. You need to be aware of this when letting young ones read this book. These books are like having a collection of stories at your disposal. I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.  5 stars.

Kitty and the Treetop Chase by Paula Harrison

5 stars Children’s Chapter

This is a series but you don’t need to read the previously books in the series to enjoy this one.  I hadn’t read the previously books and I really enjoyed this children’s chapter book.  This is a quick-paced story as Kitty is faced with a few obstacles as she solves another mystery using her superpowers with her cat crew at her side.

In this adventure, Kitty’s father has just finished creating a tree house for her and she can’t wait for her first sleepout. Mother has just informed Kitty that tonight, some good friends are coming over for dinner with their son, Ozzy.  Mother thinks that Kitty should invite Ozzy to her sleepover.  What?!?  Kitty thought the tree house would only be hers.  

When the family arrives, Ozzy seems too quiet for Kitty but nevertheless, she invites him to her sleepover.  During the night, big changes occur for these two. 

This was a fun adventure.  I liked how there was some emotional ties and the mystery had a few layers to it.  The storyline was easy to read but not childish.  It was a good story. 

The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers

5 stars Children’s

Located deep under the ground, beneath the store Perfect Pets, there’s a lab.  In this laboratory, Green Rubber Suits create Perfect Pets.  The lab is also home to the not-so-Perfect Pets.  These not-so- Perfect Pets are called Failed Projects and they’re all stuck living under individual bell jars on one of the lab’s shelves.

Barnabus has wondered about the world outside the laboratory but it wasn’t until after, the Green Rubber Suits marked the Failed Projects did he decide to do something.  Barnabus is a clever one as he gathers all the Failed Projects together so they can escape the lab.  With fantastic, bright illustrations, you will love the journey that this team undergoes to find their way to freedom.

I adored these illustrations.  The Failed Projects looked very adorable and unique. I enjoyed how they worked together and stayed together as they planned their trip.  I loved the heavy pages of this book too.  This is a fun book to read.

Dinosaur Countdown by Nicholas Oldland

3.5 stars Children’s

I liked how straight-forward this book was. It wasn’t busy, filled with unnecessary things or words, it stated the facts and that was it. This book counts down from ten to one and then on the final page, the author reminds us that, yes dinosaurs are extinct.

Each number is given a two-page spread and on those two pages you get a specific dinosaur, the number (1-10) and you get the number written our in words and you an adjective for that dinosaur . So, for 9: it reads 9 nine lazing deinosuchus and includes 9 of them on the page in their various shades of color. What? I don’t know what a deinosuchus is? But, I bet a few children do. There were included in this book, dinosaurs that I knew too. Now, I like dinosaurs but some of these dinosaurs have names that I haven’t heard before. At the back of the book, the author has included how to pronounce some of the dinosaur names, which does help.

It was an okay book but I think the pronunciations would have helped me more, if they were on the page with the dinosaur. I also didn’t care for the illustrations as they didn’t match the language of the book. I did like the added adjectives in the book and again, the simplicity of the book , I enjoyed. 3.5 stars

Up The Creek by Nicholas Oldland

5 star Children’s Picture Book

I think we all can relate to this book, even as adults.  Our dear friends bear, moose, and beaver are spending the day in the great outdoors but instead of listening to nature, they’re bickering.  Fighting over just about everything, as they spend the day canoeing together. 

I laughed as the friends ended up going around in circles, as they tipped their boat and as they encountered some scary waters but these three just couldn’t get along even after each struggle.  There were other adventures that these three had while on their canoeing trip and I smile just thinking of them.  The illustrations in this book are terrific as they work so well with the text.  This is a entertaining book yet it’s also one that has some important lessons tucked inside it.