Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review for Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki

Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki
December 1, 2010
32 Pages
Ages 4-8
Fiction/Children’s Books/Valentine’s Day/Animals

Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? is a cute Valentine’s Day tale that will delight children of picture-book age.

Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? stars a huge pink hippo who wonders, “Who will be my Valentine?” Will it be the leopard? No, he drives a car and Hippo rides a bike. Could it be the butterfly? No, he reads a book and Hippo likes the movies. Will it be the lion? No, he doesn’t even want to discuss the possibilities and, besides, he roars all the time.

There are several animals that hippo talks to about being her Valentine throughout the story, but each of them say no, refusing because of their differences in interests. This saddens Hippo, but she doesn’t give up on finding her perfect match. She knows she is different than other animals, but surely there is some animal out there who will suit her. She is big, pink, and has a beautiful smile. Will she find that one true love?

The authors of Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? are also the authors of Who Will Haunt My House on Halloween? and Who Will Guide My Sleigh Tonight? This story follows the pattern of their other books, bringing in unique animals and outrageous possibilities. Fans will be reassured with their similarities. Who Will Be My Valentine This Year? is a story that speaks of differences, friendship, and acceptance. Children between the ages of 4–8 will be mightily entertained by Hippo’s quest.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Review for World of Wonders: The Most Mesmerizing Natural Phenomena on Earth by Elisabeth Roman

World of Wonders: The Most Mesmerizing Natural Phenomena on Earth by Elisabeth Roman

Abrams Books for Young Readers
December 1, 2010
192 Pages
Ages 9-12
Nonfiction/World of Wonders/Earth Sciences/Zoology
Sent by Abrams Books

World of Wonders is an amazing voyage through stunning images that depict life and planet Earth in its most natural and awe-inspiring form.

Have you ever wondered what the heaviest flower is? Or which fish lays the most eggs? Or what volcano is the most active? The one discussed here has an eruption that lasts for decades. Cool, huh?

World of Wonders is a collection of the most unusual and unique animals, natural wonders, and plant and/or tree species. Each of the pages asks a question, then right below it, flipped upside down, is the answer. Below that is a detailed explanation that reveals the truth about some of the world’s mysteries. Full-page pictures of each topic enhance the experience.

There are around 90 facts. Some, many readers will have learned and or heard about at some point in their lives. But there are several facts about everyday objects, animals, and phenomena that many people may have never heard about before, and certainly have never seen, which makes the reading experience a more intriguing one. The table of contents is at the end of the book, instead of the beginning under the specific questions for easy identification.

The World of Wonders is a tremendous book of amazing facts from around the world. It doesn’t focus on one topic but varies into length, distance, time, temperature, growth, age, danger, animals, caves, sand, mountains, and much more. There is a lot to learn and enjoy throughout the pages. Children between the ages of 9–12, as well as adults, will enjoy reading this book.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review for Banana! by Ed Vere

Banana! by Ed Vere

Henry Holt and Co.
November 23, 2010
32 Pages
Ages 4-8
Fiction/Children’s Books/Bananas/Animals

Banana! Is a nearly wordless tale about two monkeys and their battle for a banana.

Banana! Begins with two monkeys walking and seeing each other. One of the monkeys is holding a banana. The other monkey spies the banana and decides that he would like it, but the other monkey refuses to give it up. When the monkey demands it, the other monkey refuses, waiting for the proper words. The monkey then goes into various versions of trying to get it.

First, we have the demand. Doesn’t work. Then he goes for the tantrum with the tears, sprawling out onto the ground like a child in a toy store. The performance doesn’t quite get it done. The other monkey merely places his finger to his ear, waiting patiently for the proper words. After some time, they’re finally said. When the monkey hands over the banana, the other monkey takes it and begins to walk away. Now the original owner of the banana is left with none. So he asks the monkey politely if he could have the banana back. Does it work? Do we have another episode? Or, can the monkeys find an equitable compromise?

The artwork in this story really hits spot on with the preschool and kindergarten level. With the spare text the child can figure out in his or her own way what is going on in the story and what that compromise might comprise.

Ed Vere is also the author and illustrator of various children’s books including Chick, Everyone’s Elephant, Getaway, and Everyone’s Hungry. They are all illustrated and written in the same manner as this one.

Banana! has a larger format than most picture books, perfect for a child or students to view the simple, intense, and expressive illustrations. Young children will enjoy this 32-page hardcover picture book teaching them about manners in a subtle but powerful manner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review for Care of Creation by Christy Baldwin

Care of Creation by Christy Baldwin
Tribute Books

Care of Creation is a children’s view of how to respect and take care of the Earth for a healthier future for all.

Care of Creation is a story of Christian influence, which tells of our obligation to take care of the earth and all that is on it. Each page is filled with ways to protect and take care of the environment while incorporating verses from the bible. Topics discussed include pollution, recycling, cleaning up in our communities, transportation, water conservation, using alternate sources of energy, energy conservation, and much more. The author even includes an interactive guide in the back of the book to further discussion.

This story is an easy way to talk with children about their responsibilities in taking care of the environment. Children will find there are many things that can be done in each state or country; but there is also much that can be done right in our own homes, cities or towns, which can ease our impact on the environment. Every effort, no matter how small, can help the environment in some way. The author shares her passion and love of the earth, teaching the reader much about how we can combat serious environmental concerns and problems that will make our world a safer and healthier place to live, if we do it together.

Children between the ages of 4–8 will especially enjoy the colorful illustrations of this informative and educational story. To learn more about the author and her works or about her publisher, check out the following links:

Book web site:  http://www.careforcreationbook.com/

Christy Baldwin Facebook:


Tribute Books website:


Tribute Books Facebook:


Tribute Books Twitter:

Christy Baldwin Bio:  

Writing has been a passion of Christy's since she was very young. As a child, she loved to write stories for her grandfather and poems just for fun. She lives in Mason, Ohio with her family and is active in church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and volunteering with various organizations. Christy has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and a master's degree in Special Education from the University of Scranton. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her kids and being involved in their schools. Her previous children's titles include Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night and Remembering Wilma.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Interview for my Crypto-Capers Series

Come and check out Katie Hines blog at http://katiehines.blogspot.com/
She has interviewed me about my writing, my books and much more. Look forward to reading any comments or questions anyone has.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcoming Events for the Month of November

Here are some of the locations I will be during the month of November. During these events I will be offering some great deals on the purchasing of my Crypto-Capers series for the holidays. Readers will be able to buy all 4 books in the series in a set for $40. Saving quite a bit a money per book, normally selling for about $12.95 a piece in the stores, which is still a reasonable price. I look forward to signing these books for you. It is my holiday special. See you there!

November 11th
I will be at Gerych's in Fenton Michigan celebrating Ladies Night Out from 6-9pm. There are going to be lots of great things for women to enjoy in this wonderful store. Much pampering to be had. http://www.gerychsflowers.com/

November 15th
I will be at Huckleberry Railroad at Crossroads Village from 4-9pm for Ladies Night Out. For more information please check out the following link. http://www.geneseecountyparks.org/christmas_LNO.htm

November 20th
I will be at Royal Oak High School PTSA Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair from 10-5pm.

November 26 & 27
I will be at the Chesaning Craft Show right after Thanksgiving from 10-5pm both days. Great Christmas shopping opportunities.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Review for Discover Science Insects by Barbara Taylor

Discover Science Insects by Barbara Taylor

November 9, 2010
56 Pages
Ages 9–12
Nonfiction/Children’s Books/Science/Insects

Discover Science Insects is one of six books in the Discover Science Series. This book gives a close up look into the lives of insects and how they function, adapt and survive.

The table of contents provides a great breakdown of what to expect in the book. It begins by covering what an insect is, insect senses, insect hunters, life cycles, and much more. Each page has close-up pictures of the insects discussed along with good detailed explanations. Even some of the insect mouthparts that are very rarely seen without a microscope because of their extremely small size, are pictured and discussed, creating a good understanding of the function of these parts and how the insects use them in different ways to get what they need to eat.

The book covers various types of insects including ones that fly, live on plants or land, live on humans or animals, and ones that live or utilize the water. There is a broad range for the interested reader to learn about.

At the end of the book are lots of great features that parents and teachers will find useful and beneficial. The first part is a craft section that teaches children how to study the insects in their own backyard, how to create a butterfly, and how to make insect models and mobiles. There is a section that includes a glossary discussing the terms used throughout the book.

Another section includes a note for parents and teachers. This section is to help teach and reinforce various elements of the science and language arts curricula. It also provides cross curricular lessons in geography, art, and math. This is superb for a teacher in a regular school or home school setting. It offers a lot of great ideas that will get children thinking about the information and applying it at the same time.

An added element is an insect quiz that maximizes reading comprehension with chances to refer back to the text for the answers. At the end of the book there is also a further research section informing the reader of other books, websites, or places to visit to learn more.

Overall, this book is an excellent source for children to learn about insects. It briefly covers enough information to interest the reader and getting them into wanting to learn more about these underrated—and often dismissed as disgusting—creatures, which, as this book proves, are really very interesting.

Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers series for children. Look for her new release in the Crypto-Capers Series: Book 4: The Chest of Mystery.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Book Review for Mummy Mazes: A Monumental Book by Elizabeth Carpenter

Mummy Mazes: A Monumental Book by Elizabeth Carpenter

(Workman Publishing, November 4, 2010)
ISBN 10: 0761160744
ISBN 13: 978-0761160748
36 Pages
Ages 9-12
Fiction/Children’s Books/Mazes/Ancient Egypt

Mummy Mazes is an amazing amalgamation of history, meticulously designed mazes, and archeology.

Mummy Mazes is an oversized book that takes the reader on an exciting expedition along with Professor Archie Ologist to uncover the history and mystery surrounding ancient Egypt.

Readers will have to crawl through dark and eerie passageways to find false doors that lead to hidden chambers and long-lost tombs filled with Egyptian treasure. They must sift through the sands of the pyramids and drift precariously through the Nile, learning and exploring as they go.

Readers will learn about astronomy, various symbols of importance, and about arcane information such as why Egyptians wore such luxurious wigs. The book also features facts about mummies and monuments, ancient Gods, and the meaning of a pharaoh mask. A plethora of information fills each and every page, tantalizing the reader into wanting to know more.

What makes this book unique is the layout. Each page is poster sized at 12 x 17½ inches, folding neatly in half into a convenient, portable size that will fit in any bag. The pages tear out so when the reader has completed the mazes, they can decorate and color them. On each page is a picture of a monument, artifact, or Egyptian object. Inside each object, and sometimes around the pages in other areas, are intricately designed mazes that whisk the reader all over the page in search of the right path.

Hieroglyphs also abound. These symbols are used in many ways. There are three passages near the start and about three at the finish areas to challenge the reader to figure out which is the correct hieroglyph to begin their journey into the maze —and to finish it. The hieroglyph at the correct endpoint, along with its page number, is used in the back of the book to decode a secret mummy’s message using a cartouche translator.

And just in case it is needed, the back of the book also contains the answers to all of the wonderful mazes.

Overall, this book was well researched and designed to incorporate many educational skills, including a plethora of fun elements that will captivate the reader while satisfying their love of solving mazes. This book is perfect for children the ages of 9–12.

With its tremendous amount of information, Mummy Mazes satisfies the social studies requirement for the national U.S. elementary school curriculum. Author Elizabeth Carpenter is also the author of Dinomazes and is the founder of Mazeology.

Reviewer Renee Hand is the award-winning author of The Crypto-Capers series for children. Look for her new release in the Crypto-Capers Series: Book 4: The Chest of Mystery.