Wildings

by Eleanor Glewwe

wildings-by-eleanor-glewwe

 

 

Do your kids (and you) love the magic of Harry Potter, InkHeart, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe? Do they love fantasy fiction but have run out of books to read? I know my middle grade reader has read just about every fantasy book under the sun. I was happy to pass on Wildings to her after I read it, I know she is going to fall in love with this book. I had not read or heard of the book Sparkers so this was my first introduction to the magical world that Rivka, Arik and other Wildings live in. I will go back and read it this book was so good I didn’t want it to end. I loved that Rivka is a strong girl who doesn’t back down if she feels she is doing what is right! We need more books with good, positive girls. This book deals with the topic of racism within the magical world and Rivka doing everything she can to reunite and change the laws so other wildings can be reunited with their families. Grab a copy for your fellow bookworms and gift it this holiday season. I really hope this story line continues I would love to read more and see where they go from here.

summary: Rivka is one of the magical elite and the daughter of an important ambassador. But she harbors a deep secret: She once had a twin brother, Arik. When Arik failed to develop his own magical abilities, the government declared him a wilding, removed him from his home, placed him with non-magical adoptive parents, and forbade him any contact with his birth family. Now it is as if he never existed at all.

But Rivka refuses to forget her twin brother. Even though she knows she could lose everything—her father, her friends, even her freedom—she sets out to find Arik. She has nothing to go on except her still-new magical powers and her love for her brother. Can that possibly be enough to bring them together again, when all of society believes they belong apart?

Thank you Viking Books for Young Readers for allowing me to read Wildings. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Love and Chicken Nuggets

Series: Pippa Morgan’s Diary
Author: Annie Kelsey

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Love and Chicken Nuggets by Annie Kelsey

summary: Meet Pippa Morgan, a small girl with a BIG imagination.

Pippa’s class has just been given a project all about “love”—gross! Luckily, there are lots of things she loves—like chicken nuggets and TV detectives, and her best friend forever, Catie Brown. But now that her mom is single, Pippa wonders whether she needs a little more love in her life. She comes up with a way to handle two problems at once…by making her mom the subject of her school project! Will Pippa be able to find her mom a husband? And can she get Catie to taste chicken nuggets for the first time ever? You’ll have to read her super-secret diary to find out!

ALSO BY ANNIE KELSEY: Pippa Morgan’s Diary

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Pippa Morgan's Diary by Annie Kelsey

summary: Sometimes a little white lie can land you in a whole lot of trouble…

Pippa’s new BFF Catie Brown is perfect. So perfect, that Pippa tells her a teeny tiny lie—that she once auditioned for Voice Factor—to impress her. And it works.  It works so well, in fact, that Catie enters Pippa into the school talent show.

 The only problem? Pippa can’t sing. Not at all.  In fact, her singing is so bad it scares the neighbors. But if she doesn’t participate in the talent show, Catie will know she lied. But if she does participate, the whole school will find out what a horrible singer she is…including Catie! It’s up to Pippa to put an end to this pesky problem!

Freddy The Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado

by Janice Dean (the weather machine)

illustrated by Russ Cox

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado by Janice Dean (the weather machine) illustrated by Russ Cox

 

I really have enjoyed the Freddy the Frogcaster books and this one I really think is my favorite by far. The author Janice Dean has tackled scary weather events for children and has succeeded in making this moments less scary. She does a wonderful job at describing weather from what’s it’s like to be a meteorologist, which is a hard job I know I got a taste of it in one of my college environmental science classes. She has also tackled hurricanes, blizzards and now tornadoes. I have experienced all 3 and I can tell you they are scary for kids and adults. In Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado the readers (and listeners) will learn all about tornadoes and see where the tornado alley that meteorologist always talking about. Kids that live in places with the possibility of tornadoes know to look at the sky as the storms are building and rolling in. The author has created a likable character, what is it about frogs they are just so adorable. Her writing style is simple but not so simple that it won’t hold an upper elementary aged reader. We can’t wait to see what weather emergency Janice Dean comes up with next.

summary: Get ready for a whirlwind of adventure with Freddy the Frogcaster when a famous storm chaser visits Lilypad!

In her fourth book, well-known meteorologist Janice Dean tackles some scary weather. Freddy the Frogcaster is faced with one of the most ferocious and devastating kinds of weather: the tornado.

Young readers will learn all about how big storms occur and produce some of nature’s most destructive weather. Chock-full of storm science lessons in the back, children and adults alike will learn valuable life-saving information.

As Freddy reminds us, please be prepared and know what to do and where to go when the next bad storm comes your way!

thank you so much Regnery Kids and Janice Dean for allowing us to read and review Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

The Girl in the Tower

by Lisa Schroeder

The Girl In The Tower by Lisa Schroeder

 

I’m all about fairy tales and retellings. Many will say this is a retelling of Rapunzel however I think it is better. This book has some similarities but that is where it ends. Lisa Schroeder is a wonderful story-teller and we have enjoyed many of her books. The Girl in the Tower was a delightful book and we enjoyed every minute of reading this book. You will be rooting for Violet and wishing the story doesn’t end. We would love to read more books about Violet. The character and world building is so vivid and descriptive that you really feel that you are in that fairy tale right along with the characters. This book is geared towards middle grade and upper elementary but I just about any one who loves a great fairy tale. The art work is by one of favorites Nicoletta Ceccoli, her illustrations are simply amazing and so perfect for this story. The Girl in the Tower is delightful in every way. Add it your you elementary and middle school readers summer reading and enjoy some magic.

summary: Ever since she could remember, Violet and her mother have been locked away in a tower by the evil Queen Bogdana, who has the kingdom under her spell. The queen has all she wants except one thing-beauty. Violet possesses this beauty. She also has a secret: though she is very small, both her spirit and her heart are mighty.

When Violet is summoned by Bogdana to start training to become a real princess, it seems like her life might be taking a turn for the better. But hope quickly fades when Violet’s mother is expelled from the castle and they’re forbidden to see each other ever again. With everyone’s lives in the balance, it’s up to Violet to break the spell and reunite her family.

thank you MacMillan Children’s Publishing, Lisa Schroeder and netgalley for allowing us to read The Girl in the Tower. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Earth Day middle grade books

There are many great Earth Day reads for upper elementary and middle grade readers. Today I’m going to share 2 that are the favorites right now with this age group. We really loved Fuzzy Mud and Chomp was a great book also, Hoot is our favorite but Chomp is right up there. Both these books raise awareness and might just get your reader asking questions and researching ways to help their local environment.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

 

Courage just meant pretending to be brave. “After all, if you’re not scared, then there’s nothing to be brave about is there?” (P. 15) this is one of my favorite lines from the book. I love it and it is so true.

Fuzzy Mud was written by a favorite kid lit author of mine and he did not disappoint! This book has 2 main themes throughout the story and does an excellent job and making them both work through out the storyline: Bullying and the Human Impact on the Environment. This book is a beyond 5 stars for me, I loved how it flowed so well and has mystery and suspense in it. This book would appeal to upper elementary and middle school. I think it would be a good classroom read aloud and would fit in perfectly with a science unit on the environment. This book even talks about secret senate meetings (loved reading those “transcripts”) the CDC and NIH are even mentioned and a part of the book. Fuzzy Mud helps raise awareness for the environment and I hope it goes on to win awards.

Tamaya: A sweet girl who wants to do the right thing. Even when that right thing means going back into the Fuzzy Mud woods to help find the kid who is the biggest bully she has ever known. She is scared because she knows there is something very wrong about the Fuzzy Mud but she is going to be brave because it’s the right thing to do.

Marshall: A good kid who is the target for the school bully. He hates school and just wish he could be invisible. He doesn’t have any friends anymore and he wish life was like before the bully targeted him. However he is best friends with Tamaya and she has gone missing and he knows where she is heading. Now he just needs to put on a brave face and go searching for her even it means facing the one who has made his life awful.

Chad: Oh Chad is that bully that targets one kid and makes his or her life horrible. Maybe he doesn’t have a great home life? Or maybe he is just mean? Either way he is mad and he has his sights set on Marshall. However he is going to cross paths with both Tamaya and Marshall in the woods and to get away Tamaya is going to expose both her and Chad to the Fuzzy Mud.

In the end all 3 come together to help each other out…

summary: Be careful. Your next step may be your last.

Fifth grader Tamaya Dhilwaddi and seventh grader Marshall Walsh have been walking to and from Woodridge Academy together since elementary school. But their routine is disrupted when bully Chad Hilligas challenges Marshall to a fight. To avoid the conflict, Marshall takes a shortcut home through the off-limits woods. Tamaya, unaware of the reason for the detour, reluctantly follows. They soon get lost. And then they find trouble. Bigger trouble than anyone could ever have imagined.

In the days and weeks that follow, the authorities and the U.S. Senate become involved, and what they uncover might affect the future of the world.

 

Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

Chomp by Carl Hiassen

 

I  grabbed Chomp from the local library as an ebook. It was a bundle that also included Hoot, Flush, and Scat. It was a some fun reading and I think upper elementary and middle grade kids would love this set either all together as an ebook or individually as a physical book or ebooks. Hiaasen writes with such a great flair and creative flow that I can’t imagine anyone not loving his books. Readers will enjoy the plot and settings of the books as well as the likable characters. I love the sarcastic humor that is always sprinkled throughout any of his books and Chomp did not disappoint. Chomp delivers a great message about Carl Hiassens passion for the environment and how things we are doing are affecting plants and animals. He doesn’t preach it so much so that it turns off the reader or goes over the younger reader’s head. Chomp as well as any of his books would be great read alouds for the home or classroom. You could use any of his books as a jumping point for further action and study of your own local environment and habitats.

summary: Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one.
When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out.
They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .
It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .

thank you so very much Penguin Random House for kids, Delacorte Books for Young Readers and Louis Sachar for allowing me to read and review this. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars it was so good! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Once Was A Time

by Leila Sales

Publication Date April 5, 2016

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Once Was A Time by Leila Sales

 

Once Was A Time is a time travel book for upper elementary and middle grade readers. It touches a little on the WWII in England but not a large amount.  That would be my only wish for this great little book. I  wish there was more during WWII but understand why there wasn’t as much as I would have liked. This book is about 2 best friends that are inseparable till sadly they are. It follows Lottie as she tries to cope with the fact that she jumps through a portal and abandons her dad and best friend Kitty. She ends up in the middle of nowhere USA in the 2000’s. She is not only living with the guilt and also trying to figure out what might have happened to them but also trying to figure out how all this stuff and life works in the future. She is essentially an orphan just like the girl in her favorite book “The Little Princess”. All the references and talking about this children’s classic makes me want to read it and soon! 🙂 Kitty has to decide who she wants to be in the future since she is never going to be able to jump back to the time she is really from. She has to let go of the guilt and decide who her real friends and new family is. As if that isn’t enough for most people she also has to do all this while being a tween. Once Was A Time is a really great book that I think the age group it is written for will enjoy it very much.

summary:  In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte’s scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty’s fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

thank you Chronicle Books, Leila Sales and netgalley for allowing me to read Once Was A Time. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.

Charmed: Fairy Tale Reform School

by Jen Calonita

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Charmed Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita

Charmed is book 2 in the Fairy Tale Reform School series. This series is simply adorable and magical. Perfect for read alouds or as silent reading. The author does an amazing job at reminding the reader what happened in book 1 in case they don’t remember or haven’t read Flunked. However I say spend the weekend or a week and read Flunked than Charmed. It will be a fun weekend or week of reading. This series is one I hope continues on for many more books. Perfect for all the fairy tale loving kids who have  outgrown the picture books and ready for a more involved storyline. Great book series for get for home, classroom teachers, school librarians or as a gift.

summary: It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.

Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her.  As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.

 Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

Charmed book excerpt:

The Magic Mirror’s voice crackles throughout the school, “Let the first annual Fairy Tale Reform School WAND WHAT YOU WANT hour begin!”

            I hear students cheer and wands begin popping up in kids’ hands as we walk through the halls. POP! My wand arrives in my hand; long, dark-gray and nicked like its seen a few battles. What to try first… I’m just about test the wand out, when I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I dive out of the way just as a classmate casts a spell on the girl next to me, turning her into an ice sculpture.

            POP! POP! POP! Kids begin casting all around me. The crowded hallways is suddenly full of talking woodland creatures, toads, fireworks, and a pretty impressive cloud raining licorice. Kids are cheering, fighting, and the sound of all those wands working is enough to give me a headache.

            SLURP!

            The chaotic hallway disappears and a new empty hall arrives in its place. The magic hallways are always changing for security reasons, but I happen to know this hall leads to the school courtyard. More students appear and new spells begin zapping around me. I run out into the quiet school courtyard to test out my wand in peace. The warm sun is shining bright high above the castle walls, making me wistful for adventure. I can never sit still for long.

            “We hope you enjoy your wand experience, but remember, all wands disappear at the hour mark so choose your magic wisely,” I hear Miri continue. I’m relieved to find no mirror in the courtyard, which means she can’t see what I’m up to. That magic mirror is forever tattling on students for bad behavior. “Flying is not advised.”

            “Not advised, but she didn’t say it was against the rules,” I say to myself. I flick the wand over my stuffy, uncomfortable pale blue uniform and turn it into a comfy peasant shirt and pants. I get rid of my ugly school shoes and swap them out for my beloved high-lace up boots. Now that I’m comfortable, I get to the task at hand. I’m sure an actual spell would work better, but since I don’t know one, I just imagine myself flying and bam! I’m slowly floating up, up, up in the air. Score!

            A Pegasus flies by pulling a coach with four students in it.

            “HI GILLY!” they shout and wave.

            When you save your school from a wicked fairy, people tend to remember your name. Even if you don’t remember theirs.

            “Hi!” I say, lying back like I’m floating on a cloud. Wow, this is relaxing. I stretch my arms wide and — oops!

            My wand falls from my grasp. Uh oh. I begin to plummet, spinning, faster and faster with no sign of stopping. Before I can even think of a way to break my fall, WHOOSH! I feel my body hit a blanket, bounce up, then land again on a magic carpet being steered by my friend Jax.

            “Ten minutes into WAND WHAT YOU WANT and you’ve already had a near death experience?” Jax says, a glint in his violet eyes. His curly blond hair looks white in the bright sunlight. “You’re getting sloppy.”

            “I’m not getting sloppy!” I’m seriously offended by that statement. “How’d you even know where to find me?”

            “I thought to myself, ‘What would Gilly do with wand access for an hour?’ and I knew right away you’d try to sneak home for a bit,” Jax says.

            My usual partner in crime steers our magic carpet over the castle walls and across the vast school grounds. Below I can see students fanned out on castle rooftops, in the garden mazes, near the lake, all casting away with various results. Jax flies the carpet faster, the wind whipping our hair and making it hard to see. I push the hair away from my eyes and strain to see home. There, beyond the gleaming pillars of Royal Court, where the princesses who rule our kingdom live, is my small village of Enchantasia. Somewhere down there, my family is working, playing and hopefully missing me as much as I miss them. The carpet is nearing the Hollow Woods which separates us and the village–CRACKLE! Our magic carpet is stopped by an invisible wall that keeps us from escaping school grounds. Clever of Flora to put the barricade up during wand training. Oh well. Leaving was a long-shot, but maybe I could wave my wand and at least see what my family was up to. “My wand! I realize. “I need to go get it.”

Also by Jen Calonita

Flunked Fairy Tale Reform School (book 1)

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Flunked Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita

summary: Would you send a villain to do a hero’s job?

 Gilly wouldn’t call herself wicked, exactly…but when you have five little brothers and sisters and live in a run-down boot, you have to get creative to make ends meet. Gilly’s a pretty good thief (if she does say so herself).

 Until she gets caught.

Gilly’s sentenced to three months at Fairy Tale Reform School where all of the teachers are former (super-scary) villains like the Big Bad Wolf, the Evil Queen, and Cinderella’s Wicked Stepmother. Harsh. But when she meets fellow students Jax and Kayla, she learns there’s more to this school than its heroic mission. There’s a battle brewing and Gilly has to wonder: can a villain really change?

About the Author:  

Jen Calonita

Jen Calonita is the author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series and other books like Sleepaway Girls and Summer State of Mind, but Fairy Tale Reform School is her first middle-grade series. She rules Long Island, New York, with her husband Mike, princes Tyler and Dylan, and Chihuahua Captain Jack Sparrow, but the only castle she’d ever want to live in is Cinderella’s at Disney World. She’d love for you to visit her at Jen Calonita and keep the fairy-tale fun going at Happily Ever After Scrolls

 Social Networking Links:  Author Website – Book Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram

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thank you so much Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for allowing me to read Charmed Fairy Tale Reform School. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the free book.