Review: Does Frankenstein Get Hungry?

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From Penguin Random House: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/538536/does-frankenstein-get-hungry-by-john-solimine/9780399546419
About Does Frankenstein Get Hungry?
In this monstrously funny picture book, an inquisitive young girl with some pressing questions proves these creatures may not be so scary after all.

Tucked up in her bed, a little girl wonders about the creatures rumored to go bump in the night. But instead of pulling the covers over her head, she comes up with a list of important questions, like:

Does Frankenstein get hungry?

Does Dracula floss his fangs?

Does the boogeyman have boogers?

Does the thing that lives beneath my bed get lonely under there?

With each inquiry, the little girl’s confidence grows–proving monsters are no match for her imagination! From debut talent John Solimine, this laugh-out-loud picture book has all the silly and gentle reassurance kids need for a good night’s sleep.

This book is adorable, funny, and sure to make young ones (and older ones too) smile. The release of this book in mid-August set it up perfectly to be a great confidence booster for our young children who are about to be inundated with imagery of monsters and spooky things for the fall season. I love that this book draws the young readers in and they want to know what the next question will be, they want to know who will be in the next image. I received this book in mid-August and the students in my classroom (who range from pre-k – high school) have been picking it up and enjoying the message and illustrations ever since.

However, I do have one major issue with the book and that is that the rhythm of the words falls apart in a few places. A big part of children’s literacy in the early stages is the prediction of rhythm and words on the upcoming pages and when that rhythm breaks down for a second, it can cause issues for the emergent readers. While this book does have a great rhythm, the cadence in a couple of places seems to stutter and pull readers out of the story for a moment. This is not, by any means, a large detractor from the book itself and I still highly recommend that you pick this up to read with the tiny people in your lives.

I give Does Frankenstein Get Hungry a 3.75 out of 5 dragons. Munch on Frankenstein’s Monster…munch on.

**I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own.**

Review: Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy

 

 

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Last Stop in Brooklyn
By Lawrence H. Levy

“It’s the summer of 1894, and an infidelity case has brought PI Mary Handley to a far corner of Brooklyn: Coney Island. In the midst of her investigation, Mary is contacted by a convicted man’s brother to reopen a murder case. A prostitute was killed by a Jack the Ripper copycat years ago in her New York hotel room, but her true killer was never found. Once again it’s up to Mary to make right the city’s wrongs.”

 

I wish that I could tell you I loved this book. All of the mystery, murder, retro elements are there for me and, by all right, I should have fallen in love with this story. I did not. The descriptions went overboard, the story seemed bland, and the dialogue left me cringing. I rated this a 2 stars and have happily left it behind.

 

*I was sent this book free of charge by blogging for books*

When God Made You | Picture Book Review

When God Made You

by Matthew Paul Turner

Illustrated by David Catrow

A picture book of verse all about how God made,

and is proud of, the child reading it.

This  book is well written, beautifully illustrated, and just a bit too repetitive for my taste. It felt as though the author had a great idea and then pushed to hard, stretched too far, and made something that should have been beautiful and reassuring into something that felt forced and too long. Had the book been a few pages shorter, we (my daughter and I) probably would have given it 4.5 stars/dragons. As it stands, I give the book 4 dragons for the whimsical and adorable illustrations, and 2.5 dragons for the elongated storyline.

Overall, we are rating this book 3 dragons. It is very cute and an interesting read for young children, but ultimately too long and redundant for my taste.

*I received this from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own*

The Fir Tree – Review

The Fir Tree is a story I had heard before, but did not know well. The sad tale is a cautionary fairy tale with traditional Hans Christian Anderson tropes and an ending that will bring a tear to your eye. In this beautiful green, cloth bound edition, the illustrations of Finnish artist Sanna Annukka elevate the story to new heights of beauty and devastation. Gorgeously rendered and written, this book is definitely worth the read. 4152frzf4cl-_sx282_bo1204203200_*this book was sent to me in exchange for a fair and honest review by blogging for Books*

Color Your own Tattoo…

Megan Massacre, a tattoo artist and reality tv star, designs and creates gorgeous artwork for her customer’s bodies. Marketing those skills outside of television and tattooing, Ms. Massacre has created a coloring book of her designs entitle Marked in Ink and published by Crown Publishing. Guys…this book is gorgeous! Even if you never ever plan on getting a tattoo, this book is a beautiful and well made testament to art of many kinds.

The paper is heavy duty, the pages are printed on one side for easy display, and the artwork is amazing. I high suggest you go and check this out. 618ksslhCaL._SX372_BO1,204,203,200_

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas | Book Review

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Written By: Lynne Cox

Illustrated By: Brian Floca

Published 2014 by Schwartz & Wade

Children’s Picture Book

Based on a True Story

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Author and swimmer Lynne Cox was on a trip to Christchurch, New Zealand gazing down at the waters of the Avon river when a boy asked if she was looking for Elizabeth, their elephant seal. Once she heard the story, Lynne knew she had to share this with the world! After some research and seeking permission from the town of Christchurch, Lynne brought us this beautiful book.

Brian Floca, a Caldecott award winning illustrator, created a beautiful look of pencil and watercolor looking images that marry the story and illustrations wonderfully.

This book follows the true story of Elizabeth, the elephant seal. Normally, elephant seals live in the cold waters of the ocean and no one is quite certain how or why Elizabeth wound up in the Avon river, but wind up there she did! A beloved member of the community, Elizabeth was quite happy to sun herself in Christchurch until the day she discovered her new favorite spot, across a busy road. The people of her town were afraid for her life and had her towed out to sea…three times. Elizabeth continued to find her way home.

The end of the book has some information on elephant seals that is very interesting and a great addition. I always love when authors include facts in the back of their books because it can lead to some amazing conversations with your child or students.  If you are a teacher working with students on either book reviews or science presentations dealing with animals this book could be something wonderful to help them along. I highly recommend this book for all ages!

 

Cover/illustrations – 4.5/5

Story/Writing Style – 4.5/5

Relatability – 5

Characters – 5

Things to learn – 5

Star Rating – 4.8

 

#ColoringAmerica | A Review

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I would like to talk to you today about yet another coloring book (I KNOW, I KNOW…I have an addiction. It won’t be fixed). But this one is pretty cool guys. I received God Bless America: A Patriotic Coloring Book recently, just in time for the 4th of July (WOOHOO!)

Now, when I requested this book for review from blogging for books, I had a few preconceptions to contend with.

#1 – the pictures would be simplistic..

FALSE! There were 9 illustrators given quotes to work with. Some are rendered simplistically, but nicely, while some are so gorgeously sketched for us that I don’t want to color the images. I want to leave the play of black ink on thick white paper all alone and stark with the quote woven throughout the page.

#2 – The quotes would ‘typical’…

FALSE! The quotes in this coloring book are a mixture of well and lesser known pieces from historically important people and documents. Each page has a beautiful illustration (apparently we’re meant to color them, I don’t know if I can!) and on the back of that page the full quote that phrase is pulled from (the song, the stanza, the paragraph) is listed, along with some information about the year, the author, etc. Bible verses are freely used.

#3 – This would be a ‘normal’ coloring book…

FALSE! I was SO wrong! This coloring book includes historical facts and information on the person who said or wrote the words in question, 9 different illustrators and hand letterers, an online quiz about the information in this book, and a SPOTIFY PLAYLIST to listen to in order to create a multi-media experience while coloring.

I am so enthralled with this book. I was looking for a new coloring book to add to my shelf and what I received is a book that I will be proud to use as a teaching tool. A book that contains historical facts, coloring pages, and a musical playlist is something that can be an amazing aid in helping students to remember facts about our nation and its history. These lessons could take many forms, like students creating a short presentation (perhaps multi-media even) around their chosen or assigned quote, writing prompts, and even a small group creating a lesson over the quote.

This book earned a 5 star review from me. If you enjoy coloring and are a patriotic American (Or just enjoy history) I would very much like to recommend this book to you!

Review | Shylock is My Name

I was supremely disappointed by this book. I couldn’t get into most of the storyline because it was two middle aged Jewish men spouting cranky rhetoric…which I knew would happen to an extent because it is a retelling of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. But the way this is written was too much for me and I have DNFed this book after the first 100 pages.

For a full(er) review see:

The Dirty Word Society – Lit Journal Review

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of my videos over on BookTube, but there has been a pretty big trend there lately and that is #HotandSticky Summer Writing Challenge. This writing challenge is being headed up by the insane and amazing guys over at Stripped Cover Lit and is basically a much less crazed version of NaNoWriMo. For each day during the next 4 months (June 1st – October 1st technically) we are to write 488 words…culminating in having over 61,000 words at the end of this deal (I’m managing to stay both ahead and behind all at once). BUT they weren’t content with reading, reviewing, and writing…they weren’t even content with challenging us all to that as well…NO! They have also now started something called The Dirty Word Society (psa – not nearly as fun as you’re thinking right now…).

I’ll link the announcement video here- Dirty Word Society – but BASICALLY they are creating bi-monthly videos that include a call to action and HOPEFULLY have us all participating in the task. This will hopefully have us all changing into better writers, readers, literary people, etc.

So…this first task (as they say in the video) is to read in a literary journal and then review either the entire journal, a piece taken from the journal, etc. So…I’m changing it up a bit, of course, because what fun is there in every single one of us playing by the implied rules??

Most of the people who are participating in this Dirty Word Society Challenge will be doing so with the tried and true, popular, well known, adult literary journals. The ones run and written by ‘grownups’, by people who have already made the decision to write, by adult types…And yes, those are incredibly vital pieces of the world. However, they are not the only ones. So what else is there? I am so glad you asked…because on top of the literary journals you might already know about, like Thorn, Georgia Literary, Southern Review, Tin House, The Atlanta Review, and The New Yorker, there are some amazing and fun literary journals begging for you to pick them up…like The Thorne a literary magazine written, compiled, and published by the junior high students of Hawthorne Scholastic Academy.

Take a moment or two, bask in the amazing idea that 6th, 7th, and 8th graders not only chose to turn in work, but chose to submit to an editor and work together to compile their own literary magazine. I am impressed with their drive. It takes a lot of work and determination to do something like that, especially when you’re still in school and dealing with everything middle schoolers have to handle!

Ok, now that the moment has passed, let’s talk about what they included in this work of literary phenomena. There are poems, short stories, and personal essays from 12-14(ish) year old students that are raw, well written, and creative in ways that I don’t even know if adults can tap in to. While many, including Adrian and Dalton of Stripped Cover Lit, maintain that literary magazines hold the future of literature between their covers, I hadn’t really paid much attention to that belief until now. This collection of words written by students holds the key to the future of literature. I don’t even know them and I’m beyond proud.

I don’t like to pick favorites BUT – there is an essay about determination in learning to ride a bike written by a 6th grader named Atticus that is incredible, a poem by Isabella (another 6th grader) that is amazingly creative and fun, and a poem by Alana, an 8th grader, that uses a poem by Countee Cullen as a starting off point and jumps in full throttle and all three of those made me stop and marvel at the talent of such young authors (though those were by no means the only ones that had me pausing!). Even if you don’t enjoy reading Literary Magazines or Journals, I would definitely suggest looking at this one. I picked up the kindle e-book version for around $3 and it was worth every penny and more.

5 out of 5 dragons go to The Thorne literary magazine and to those who put it together!