Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sparrow Road review

Sparrow Road

It's the summer before seventh grade, and twelve-year- old Raine O'Rourke's mother suddenly takes a job hours from home at mysterious Sparrow Road- a creepy, dilapidated mansion that houses an eccentric group of artists. As Raine tries to make sense of her new surroundings, she forges friendships with a cast of quirky characters including the outrageous and funky Josie. Together, Raine and Josie decide to solve the mysteries of Sparrow Road-from its haunting history as an orphanage to the secrets of its silent, brooding owner, Viktor. But it's an unexpected secret from Raine's own life that changes her forever. (goodreads summary)

The summary above is a wonderful description of Sparrow Road and I don't think I could add more to it without giving away some spoilers that are important to the story.  Raine is very puzzled by the recent summer move to this mysterious house but finds herself fitting in quite well. When she first arrives, there are many rules that she must follow. One, that is particulary unusual and does not like, is no talking during the week except on Sunday. Another rule is she must not bother the others so they can work in peace. When Raine meets the artists for the first time, she feels comfortable and they all seem to take her under their wing. They inspire her to use creativity and encouraged Raine to challenge her ownself through writings.  There is a wonderful sense of place among all the characters. One artist, Diego, leaves Raine pondering the question "what if, what was or what could be." The house is made for dreams and among the quiet and peacefullness each person is finding out who they are. There is also a history behind the house that the character Lillian plays a big part in.  Raine eventually finds out more about her past and how things are finally connecting as to why she came to Sparrow Road in the first place.  She finds a truth that is hard to accept but learns acceptance along the way. I really liked this book and think it would make a nice summer read. It focuses on family, love and forgiveness, and finding your own sense of place.  The chapters were short and the text easily flowed. I wish I had a Sparrow Road I could visit this summer but will just enjoy the book for now. I think this is a just right book for ages 11 and up.~

Title: Sparrow Road
Author: Sheila O'Connor
Genre: Fiction
Pub. Date:  May 2011, Putnam
Hardcover, 246 pgs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tour de France - Viva Le Tour!

Product DetailsThe Tour de France is the world's most challenging bike race. Sporting Championships offers a compelling look at the world's most prestigious sporting events.

We are huge Tour de France fans in my household and for the last 3 weeks have spent everyday watching the race. The cities and countrysides of france was spectacular once again to view as well. I am so excited today because my favorite racer from the BMC Team, Cadel Evans from Australia, has won the yellow jersey of this grueling and intense race. I have followed him for several years now waiting for this day that I knew would eventually come for him. These riders are athletes like I have never seen. Today it is Cadel Evans Day in Australia and even though I am in the states, my family and I are celebrating too! 

I picked up this nonfiction book at our local library last week.  Children have so many heroes in just about every sport so why not find a hero in Road Racing too? These racers push themselves to their limits throughout the year with several races worldwide. The mountain stages are incredible to watch along with the sprinter stage riders who take it fast to the end for the win. This book is packed with the history of the Tour de France, rules of the ride, proper cycling equipment and even a section on women and cycling. It talks about several key riders over the years who have made a huge impact on the cycling world. It is a great start for any child interested in learning more about the Tour de France. We are bummed that the Tour is over but are eagerly anticipating next years race.  Try something new and taking up bike riding is great exercise and nothing is like feeling the freedom of riding the open road.  I think this is a just right book for ages 8 and up.~ 
Viva Le Tour!!

Title: Sporting Championships Tour de France
Author: Grant Gilbert
Genre: Nonfiction
Pub. Date: 2008, Weigl Publishers
Hardcover, 32 pgs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Blogger Hop - July 22

Book Blogger Hop

Thanks to  Crazy-for-books for hosting this hop, I hope to hop on from time-to-time......I also found some new blogs and I am looking forward to knowing what others are reading and saying! 

What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

My Answer:  This was a tough one but I think the one I struggle with most is Dystopian. I have tried a couple of books this summer but just couldn't get into it. I start them but they don't catch my interest so I've abandoned them both. They just sat on my table and I didn't find myself picking them up as much as I would another type of genre.

Maybe I haven't found the right ones? If there are any suggestions, I'd love to hear them and find one that sparks my interest and become a future fan!  Have a great weekend........

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hush, Little Horsie review

Hush, Little Horsie

Mama horses around the world promise to watch over their little ones as the foals frolic and play and eventually fall asleep in this soothing bedtime story. Young horse lovers will drift off with Ruth Sanderson’s stunning horses in their minds and the promise of their own parents’ enduring love in their hearts.  (goodreads summary)
What could be better at the end of a busy day than a wonderful bedtime story to cuddle up with. This book is not only beautiful with its gentle and peaceful illustrations but the words will melt your heart. The rhyming text is very easy to read-aloud and builds on the loving bond between mother and child. There are plenty of horses and darling ponies that will capture the little horse lover. In the end, a mother and her little girl are reading a bedtime story and she drifts fast asleep. I have always enjoyed books written by Jane Yolen and the illustrations by Ruth Sanderson make for a perfect pairing on this one. This story will definitely give happy sweet dreams and will make a fantastic bedtime story that will soon become a favorite. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 2-6.~

Title: Hush, Little Horsie
Author: Jane Yolen - illustrated by Ruth Sanderson
Genre: picture book
Pub. Date: September 2010 Random House
Hardcover, 32 pgs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flutter: The story of four sisters and one incredible journey review

Flutter: The Story of Four Sisters and an Incredible Journey: The Story of Four Sisters and an Incredible Journey

Big things are about the happen at Maple's house. Mama's going to have a baby, which means now there will be four Rittle sisters instead of just three. But when baby Lily is born too early and can't come home from the hospital, Maple knows it's up to her to save her sister. So she and Dawn, armed with a map and some leftover dinner, head off down a river and up a mountain to find the Wise Woman who can grant miracles. Now it's not only Lily's survival that they have to worry about, but also their own. The dangers that Maple and Dawn encounter on their journey makes them realize a thing or two about miracles-and about each other. (goodreads summary)

Maple is determined to help find a miracle to save her baby sister Lily who is born premature. Her heart is not strong enough and Maple knows that the Wise Woman of the Mountains is not just a Folklore but the miracle she must find to save Lily to help bring her home. The Wise Woman is known to be watching over a pool of miraculous water found in the Green Mountains of Vermont that is able to heal the sick back to health.  Maple sets out to find the special water but is interrupted by her eleven year old sister Dawn when she attempts to leave during the night. The girls decide to take a canoe down the river together to Peninsula State Park and from there this adventure story begins. During their 30 mile trip they encounter wild animals, poachers and the two embark on a dangerous journey together as the power of hope guides them to save their sister. 

I have read many adventure survival stories and feel that this debut novel was pretty good.  The story focuses on hope, love and true sisterhood. I enjoyed the writing style as it was very descriptive and placed me right alongside the two sisters journey into the wilderness. Many scenes were full of action and definitely heart pounding a couple of times. The adventures the two encountered did seem a little too intense for girls of such a young age of 9 and 11 though.  But then again, the author portrayed the characters with courage, being level headed and calm remembering their skills to problem solve instead of falling apart in harrowing situations. Stop and think first set the tone more than once when the girls reached a dangerous situation.  The story showed strength and the love of family along with some serious determination to help one another.  When the girls witnessed poachers in the fields killing a deer and owls, it could be something sensitive readers may find a little difficult to read.  I wanted to hurry past these parts quickly myself.  It did make for a fast paced and quick read.  I found myself picking up the book at any chance I could to see what happened in the end. I took away from the book enjoying the folklore and that believing in a miracle can happen. I would like to read more books by this author in the future. I think this is a "just right book" for ages 11 and up.

Title: Flutter
Author: Erin E. Moulton
Genre: realistic fiction, middle grade
Pub. Date: May 2011, Penquin Books
Hardcover, 200 pgs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Blogger Hop - July 15

Book Blogger Hop

Thanks to  Crazy-for-books for hosting this hop, I hope to hop on from time-to-time......I also found some new blogs and I am looking forward to knowing what others are reading and saying! 

This week’s question comes from Veronica who blogs at: Read Books, Have Fun

How/Where do you get your books? Do you buy them or go to the library? Is there a certain website you use like paperbackswap?
My answer:  The majority of the books I read come from my local libraries. When I see something new come out, I order it in right away to get on the wait list. Since I have such a big TBR pile I don't mind waiting. Although, the turn around is usually pretty fast. The next place I will get books from is our local independent bookstore.  We love going there on the weekends, grabbing a coffe and checking out the great selections. I feel it is so important to support our library and local bookstore. Sometimes I will order from Amazon if it is something I really want but that I can't find but that is rare.

Can't wait to see how everyone else finds there books. Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One Little Blueberry review

One Little Blueberry
One little blueberry can cause a lot of trouble! Two ants, three ladybugs, four bumblebees and more hungry bugs all want it for themselves. Who will get the tasty snack? (back cover)

When one little blueberry suddenly falls off a tree and rolls down a hill, it catches the attention of many bugs along the way. This is a cute number counting book from 1 to 10 with catchy rhyming text. The pages are large, bright and bold with shiny features on the blueberry and some of the bugs which will be fun for young children because they will want to touch and feel it.  The sentences are simple and quick with a surprising twist in the end.  Children will enjoy counting to ten and practicing their numbers while the blueberry rolls along.  I think this is a "just right book" for ages 3-5.~

Title: One Little Blueberry
Author: Tammi Salzano
Illustrator: Kat Whelan
Genre: picture book
Pub. Date: March 2011, Tiger Tales
Hardcover, 24 pgs.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Ice Cream King review

The Ice Cream King

It's just another summer day until Teddy visits the Thrill Chill Ice Cream Shop. Magically, he enters a world with ice cream fountains, whipped cream lanes, volcanoes that erupt with vanilla fudge, and even an ice cream moon! But soon Teddy notices that something very important is missing. What could it be?  (back cover)

Here is a cute book for a hot summer day!  When the server at the ice cream shop places a crown on little Teddy's head, he finds a magical world of ice cream "just for him" and declares himself the ice cream king!  The pictures start out subdued but turn bright and colorful when Teddy enters his magical kingdom of anything he wants. It was a pleasant surprise and I loved how the imagination runs wild in this story. I felt the best part of this book is that it contained a quiet and gentle message in sharing. Will make for nice discussion afterwards.  I think this is a "just right book" for ages 3-7.~

Title: The Ice Cream King
Author: Steve Metzger
Illustrator: Julie Downing
Genre: picture book
Pub. Date: March 2011, Tiger Tales
Hardcover, 26 pgs.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Blogger Hop - July 1

Book Blogger Hop

Thanks to  Crazy-for-books for hosting this hop, I hope to hop on from time-to-time......I also found some new blogs and I am looking forward to knowing what others are reading and saying! 

This week’s question comes from Sue who blogs at Cookie’s Book Club ! Thanks for submitting a question for our Hoppers, Sue! Be sure to visit her blog and tell her thank you!

What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?

My Answer:  What a great and thought provoking question this week!  I have abandoned books before I finished the first couple of chapters because the sentences were short and choppy or the characters feel lost. Sometimes you can just tell right away that it's not working. I think the first thing that hooks me in are the author's sentences. Are they descriptive and thoughtful word choices that are fluent?  I think another thing would be the characters and if the writing gives me a connection in anyway to them. 

I enjoy books with messages and characters that are role models for our young adults and middle grade. When I do find a good selection of authors, I always search out more books by that one because I love the writing styles.