Saturday, March 24, 2012

Chomp by Carl Hiasson

Not realizing this was going to be such a funny book I was quite surprised to find myself smiling and laughing throughout! It will be impossible to watch reality TV without questioning the scenery and dialogue and wondering just what is real and what isn't. Although the book is long it will grab reluctant readers (especially boys) with it's non-stop action, sense of adventure and (rather mild) aspects of danger. The relationship between Wahoo and his Dad is so loving and hearfelt. The book makes me think that perhaps Julie (Wahoo's sister) has a story to be heard and for sure I would like to know more about Tuna. However none of this distracts from a very satisfying ending.

Recommended for fans of Carl Hiassen, adventure books, animal stories and action books. There is also a small romance thread. Reluctant readers could easily be drawn in especially if they enjoy any of the above situations. I won't be surprised to see this made into a movie someday. Read as an eBook arc courtesy of Random House Children's Books via Netgalley.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk by Megan McDonald

As a big fan of Stink and Judy Moody books I was not surprised to find that I loved this book.  What I was surprised about was that it was scary!  Not in a bad way, in a good way.  My students are always asking for scary books and now I can point them in the direction of Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk.  This can also serve the purpose of introducing them to Megan McDonald's wonderful books and terrific characters.

The word play is fabulous.  The illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds are awesome and help move the story along.  There is enough humor to offset the scary parts.  The siblings relationship is authetic and the parents offer just enough support.  Recommended for fans of Judy and Stink or readers new to these books, students asking for scary books, second graders and up and reluctant readers.  Every school library should have this one and it's on my wish list!  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Candlewick Press via Netgalley.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen by Donna Gephart

Olivia Bean lives with her mom, almost step-dad and little brother.  Each evening she watches Jeopardy! and does amazingly well against the other contestants.  She used to watch the show with her dad but he ran off with her best friend's mom and her best friend.  With the opportunity to try out for the kids Jeopardy! Olivia Bean wants to win not only for the money and the glory but also for the chance to fly to Los Angeles where her dad lives.

Sadly, Olivia Bean's dad is one disappointing parent.  Luckily her step-dad is the complete opposite.  He and her neighbor give her the help and guidance that she needs and I held my breath when the possibility of the dad ruining everything nearly happened.  This is a terrific story about a smart girl, an adorable little brother, love and friendship.

While reading Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen I felt as if she was one of my students.  Flashback about seven years ago when one of my students was on Jeopardy!  I knew how hard she had studied and I knew how proud her sister, parents, teachers and friends were.  We were all even invited to a party to watch the show.  Needless to say I really enjoyed this book and I recommend it to fourth graders and up.

Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Random House Children's Book via Netgalley. Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen will be available March 13, 2012.