Black Cat & White Cat {spotlight post}

by: Claire Garralon

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Black Cat & White Cat by Claire Garralon

 

Black Cat & White Cat is an appealing black-and-white board book about friendship from French author Claire Garralon.

Black Cat and White Cat want to be friends, but in a world of black and white, someone is always hard to see! Can they find a way to play together without someone disappearing? In the face of adversity, friendship prevails, and Black Cat and White Cat set off to find a place where they can play happily together.

 The high-contrast words and shapes are perfect for the youngest eyes, and the fun story will keep children engaged.

Black Cat White Cat back cover

I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur

By Heath McKenzie

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I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur by Heath McKenzie

 

I Wanna Be A  Great Big Dinosaur is such an adorable picture book. What kid doesn’t love dinosaurs, hey even adults love them. This picture book revolves around a kid who wants to be a dinosaur and just his luck there is a T-Rex willing to help teach him the ropes. This book would be wonderful for read aloud. I know so many picture books are read for bedtime but  I think this one is too much fun for kids and they would want to act out the dinosaur lessons. I would gift this book to any kid whether they are a  boy or a girl. This picture book would make a great new mom baby shower gift to a kid’s birthday gift. This would be absolutely perfect for a classroom dinosaur unit.  Add I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur to your kids summer reading list and have a blast!

summary: Want to find out what it takes to be a Great Big Dinosaur?  This book is for you!

More than anything in the world, one little boy wants to be a great big dinosaur. And he’s in luck! A great big T. Rex shows up to teach him how to stomp and roar just like a dinosaur. But dinosaurs aren’t so great at soccer or video games… Maybe being a little boy isn’t all bad?

 A story about being whoever (or whatever) you want!

thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, and Heath McKenzie for allowing us to read and review I Wanna Be A Great Big Dinosaur. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free picture book. Also I am not an affiliate to any of the Buy Now links so I receive no money if you click and buy. Just wanted to make buying this adorable picture book easier.

Bailey

The Puppy Pals series

by Susan Hughes

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Bailey Puppy Pals series by Susan Hughes

 

This series is perfect for every dog or pet loving reader, or listener. The book is simple enough to build reading confidence in the beginning reader. It would also be a good read aloud and hold the listeners attention. The book is really good and enjoyable. I think it would be a great addition to elementary aged kids summer reading list and will appeal to both boys and girls.

 

 

summary: Meet Bailey, a playful yellow lab puppy!

It’s a new school year and things haven’t been great for Kat so far. She’s being teased, and her best friend Maya is in a different class. But things start to look up when her Aunt Jenn opens a kennel and dog-grooming salon, and the girls are allowed to help out with a puppy named Bailey! But is the responsibility of watching someone else’s pup too much for Kat and Maya to handle?

Excerpt from Bailey:  Puppies were running across the grass. Dozens of puppies.

Some were black, some were brown, some were white with black spots. Some puppies were red and shaggy, some were gray with white muzzles. All the puppies had smiling faces and wagging tails.

Kat was sitting on her front steps. Her eyes were closed. She was having her favorite puppy daydream. And it always ended the same…

The puppies jump around, begging for her attention. Her mother and father smile at her.

“Of course you can have a puppy, Katherine,” her mom says.

Her dad sweeps out his arm. “Pick any one you want!”

Kat smiles too. She looks at all the puppies, and she tries to choose. The little toffee-colored Irish terrier that jumps into her lap? The shy gray schnauzer looking at her, his head cocked to one side? The black pug so tiny that—

Aidan’s running shoe nudged her leg, and Kat opened her eyes. As usual, her brother was listening to music. He pulled out one of his earbuds. “Come on, Kat,” he said. “Let’s go! We’re going to be late for school.”

Kat sighed. The daydream was over. She sent a mental message to the puppies: I’ll come back and visit soon!

She ran to catch up with Aidan. The sun was shining. A squirrel chattered at her from the branch of a chestnut tree.

“Do you think Mom and Dad will ever let me get a dog?” Kat asked her brother as they walked.

Aidan shrugged. “You’ve asked them a million times. They always say no.’”

“That’s because they travel so much for work. But I don’t!” Kat protested. “And I’d be the one looking after the dog.”

Aidan bounced his basketball as he walked. “I don’t know, Kat. I think you should forget about it for now.”

Kat sighed. She knew he would say that. He didn’t care if they got a dog or not. Her parents both liked dogs, but she was only the only one who was truly dog crazy.

Kat and Aidan reached school just as the bell rang.

“Later, alligator,” Aidan said to Kat. He hurried over to the seventh and eighth grade entrance.

“See you soon, baboon!” Kat called after him.

She rushed across the playground. But she didn’t get in her lineup. Instead, Kat went over to the other fourth grade line.

“Maya!” she called. Her best friend hung back as her class made its way into the school.

“There you are, Kat-Nip! Late again!” Maya said with a grin.

Kat made a funny face back at her. Maya had called her “Kat-Nip” for as long as she could remember. “You love dogs but your name is Kat? How goofy!” she’d say. Maya often teased her, and Kat teased her back.

It was all in fun, since they had been best friends forever. Even though they lived on opposite sides of town, they had known each other since nursery school. They played soccer on the same team. They took swimming lessons together. Most of all, they talked about dogs together. Maya was probably the only person in the world who loved dogs as much as Kat.

Until this year, Maya and Kat had always been in the same class. But a few children had moved away over the summer. So Maya was put in the third-fourth grade split class, and Kat was put in the fourth-fifth grade split class.

The girls didn’t like it. Not one bit.

School had started last week. The first few days had been tough. Kat hoped it would be better this week, but it didn’t seem likely.

“Joke of the day: what does a mother dog call her pups when they come in from playing in the snow?” Kat asked.

Maya thought for a moment. “I don’t know. What?”

“I’ll tell you at recess!” Kat said, waggling her fingertips at her friend. She turned to run toward her lineup.

“Hey, not fair! Tell me now!” called Maya. “That’s torture!”

“Nope! Oh, and I have some really awesome news to tell you,” Kat called over her shoulder. “Puppy news!” she added, taunting her friend.

“Seriously? And you won’t tell me what it is until recess? You are horrible!” Maya put on her grumpy look, but she couldn’t hold it for long. Kat started to laugh, and Maya did too.

“See you!” Kat teased. She ran to the back of her own line which had just disappeared into the school.

Coming Soon: Riley

Release Date: August 2, 2016

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Riley Puppy Pals series by Susan Hughes

summary:  Best friends Kat and Maya love helping out at Tails Up! Groomers. The best part is helping to exercise the adorable puppies that stay there. When a sweet golden retriever puppy named Riley is boarded at the groomer, Kat and Maya couldn’t be more excited! Riley is super-sweet and friendly.

 But when a new girl named Grace shows up in Kat’s class, she finds herself wishing Grace was as easy to get along with as Riley. Kat is disappointed to find herself paired up with Grace, who can’t seem to get that mean look off of her face! But is Grace unkind, or is she just lonely? Maybe Riley can help her figure it out!

About the Author:

Visit the authors website

Susan Hughes

Susan Hughes is a writer and editor, and has been writing children’s books and articles for nearly twenty years. She has received numerous nominations for Canadian children’s writing awards. She lives with her family in Toronto. 

 

 

thank you Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for allowing us to read and review Bailey. All thoughts and opinons are our own and not influenced by the free book.

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.

Ava and Taco Cat

by Carol Weston

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Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston

Excerpt from Ava and Taco Cat:

December 28

Dear Brand New Diary,

I’m really worried. At dinner tonight, Mom said that right before closing, a man came into the clinic with an injured cat. He’d found him shivering in a tree! The cat was scrawny and scared and his neck had a gash and his left ear was bitten up. The man got the cat down and took him to the nearest vet—which was Dr. Gross’s.

“Poor cat!” I said.

“Is he going to be okay?” Pip asked.

“I don’t know,” Mom said. “Dr. Gross stitched him up and gave him antibiotics. If he makes it through the night, we’ll call the shelter in the morning.”

If!?” I said.

Mom nodded. “I think a coyote got to him.”

“What’s his name?” Pip asked.

“No idea. But he’s neutered, so he’s not feral.” Pip and I know that “feral” means wild, and “neutered” means he can’t make baby cats. But does Mom know that stories about hurt cats and dogs make me sad?

“What does he look like?” I asked.

“He’s honey-colored,” Mom said. “But his right leg and paw are white, and he has a white zigzag above his nose.”

“Awww,” I said, trying to picture the cat’s sweet little zigzag.

“No chip or collar or anything?” Dad said.

“No identification at all,” Mom said.

Soon Mom and Dad and Pip were talking about other things, including dinner, which was stuffed eggplant—blecch! (Dad just started a terrible tradition of “Meatless Mondays.” At least tonight he also made plain bowtie noodles for me.)

Well, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lonely that cat probably felt all by himself in a cage at Dr. Gross’s. I wished we could go check on him. But no way would Mom agree to go back to work after she’d already come home and put on her slippers.

I was trying to imagine what it must have been like for the skinny cat when the coyote started attacking him. He must have known it was life or death. He probably thought he was a goner for sure! It was lucky he was able to scamper up that tree, but then he must have been too afraid to come back down. And maybe too weak? I bet he was starving as well as stuck and petrified! Poor little thing!

Suddenly my nose and eyes started tingling. I blurted, “May I be excused?” but it was too late! Teardrops fell right onto my bowtie noodles.

“Are you crying?” Pip asked, surprised.

“Oh Ava,” Mom met my eyes. “I’m sorry I brought it up.”

Dad gave my hand a squeeze, and I ran upstairs and splashed water on my face. I don’t know why I was getting so upset about a lost honey-colored cat. But I was. I am.

It’s just so sad to think of him all alone in a cage instead of a home.

Ava, Upset

Summary: Ava desperately wants a pet for her eleventh birthday—but gets way more than she bargained for when she adopts T-A-C-O-C-A-T.

When Ava Wren hears about an injured yellow tabby with mismatched ears, she becomes obsessed and wants to rescue him. She even picks out a perfect palindromic name: T-A-C-O-C-A-T. But when Taco joins the family, he doesn’t snuggle or purr—all he does is hide. Worse, Ava’s best friend starts hanging out with Zara, a new girl in fifth grade. Ava feels alone and writes an acclaimed story, “The Cat Who Wouldn’t Purr.” What begins as exciting news turns into a disaster. How can Ava make things right? And what about sweet, scared little Taco?

The New York Times called AVA AND PIP “a love letter to language. ” With this second diary, Girls’ Life advice columnist Carol Weston hits another home run

Also by Carol Weston:

Ava and Pip : 

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

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Meet outgoing Ava Wren, a fun fifth grader who tries not to lose patience with her shy big sister. When Pip’s 13th birthday party turns into a disaster, Ava gets a story idea for a library contest.

But uh-oh, Ava should never have written “Sting of the Queen Bee.” Can Ava and her new friend help Pip come out of her shell? And can Ava get out of the mess she has made?

Ava XOX: 

Ava XOX by Carol Weston

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Love is in the air—and Ava thinks she’s allergic

 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Ava couldn’t care less. That is, until a new girl, Kelli, asks out Ava’s friend Chuck…and he says yes! What?!? Ava is NOT okay with this. But since when does she think about boys? For the first time ever, words fail Ava. She isn’t sure what she’s feeling (Like? Love? Friendship? Frustration?), or what “going out” even means. After all, fifth graders aren’t allowed to go anywhere by themselves, are they?

 To top it off, Pip’s friend Tanya is being bullied for her size. Ava wants to help—but, uh oh, it’s not as easy as she imagines.

Carol Weston

About the Author:

Carol Weston has been the “Dear Carol” advice columnist at Girls’ Life since 1994. She is the author of fourteen books including the two Ava Wren titles, The Diary of Melanie Martin (Knopf), three other Melanie diaries, and Girltalk: All the Stuff Your Sister Never Told You (Harper Perennial, Fourth Edition). She lives in New York City. 

Connect with the author: Website FacebookTwitter Youtube

Rafflecopter Giveaway for 2 copies of Ava & Taco Cat: Runs April 1-April 30th (US & Canada only)

Summerlost

by Ally Condie

Read an 32 page excerpt

Giveaway: Ally Condie Prize Pack: 5 finished copies of SUMMERLOST, paperback copy of ATLANTIA, copy of book one of MATCHED

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Summerlost by Ally Condie

 

 

A Spring 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Top 10 Pick!

Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Most Anticipated Children’s and YA Books of Spring 2016

 

 

 

 

Praise:

“Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Multiple, seemingly random details, including a family of turkey vultures that now roost outside Cedar’s window, an absurd soap opera narrative of a woman buried alive, and Leo’s quest for a trip with his father, coalesce into metaphors that help Cedar make sense of her grief and the life she now has to look forward to. Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections.” – BCCB

“A moving tale of friendship and loss. I loved these characters—I wish we could have been friends when I was a kid.” –Brandon Mull, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Five Kingdoms series

“Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.” – The Novel Novice

“A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set.” – Booklist

“Honest, lovely, and sad.” – Kirkus Reviews

“A sweet, heartfelt story.” – School Library Journal

“Achingly good.” – Summer Laurie, Books Inc.

Letter from Ally:

Dear Readers,

I think most of us have had our hearts broken. Sometimes we can see it coming, and sometimes it comes down with the unexpected force of a sudden gale of wind or a rising of waters that we thought were still and safe. Loss is universal to human experience, but the way we each feel and recover is one of the most personal things we do.

In Summerlost, Cedar is dealing with the loss of her father and younger brother. And my intent was to show how hard their deaths are for her. But this is also a book about the healing power of friendship. Most of us have been broken-hearted; I hope that most of us have also discovered the miracle of friendships that were just what we needed. Cedar and Leo’s friendship is based on someone I met when I was twelve. Like Leo, my friend was fun and liked to enlist me in crazy adventures (although we never gave a secret guided tour of our town the way they do in Summerlost). And, like Leo, he thought I was wonderful and of worth at a time when I needed it most.

SUMMERLOST is my attempt to pay tribute both to the pain we feel and the friendships that save us. Thank you so much for supporting this book, and for your willingness to give Cedar’s story a try. I hope it makes you think of a wonderful friend of your own, whether that is someone you met in the pages of a favorite book or outside, in the world where it is often hard and beautiful to live.

Best wishes and happy reading always,

Ally Condie