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Friday, July 22, 2016

Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson: Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange review.

It's been a month since Benjamin Putter's father passed away. It's hard for an eleven-year-old to describe what it feels like to lose a loved one but Benjamin is convinced the lump he feels in his throat is a golf ball caused by his loss. If that isn't enough, he hears his father's voice coming from his urn imploring him to scatter his ashes on the 18th hole of the famous Augusta National golf course. He has no idea how he's going to get there but he knows he must.

As he begins his journey, Benjamin meets up with a spunky girl named Noni who is determined to travel with him. Together they face obstacles that seem insurmountable. They also face the ugly inner demons of lingering racism and have to come to terms with what they see and hear as opposed to how they feel.

Strong writing and plot pacing make for a poignant and heart warming story. However, young readers may be turned off by the heart breaking subject matter. While it's written for middle grade, it may be too deep and unsettling for the younger end age group.


Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2016)
Pages: 336 hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1481448390
Ages: 8-12

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Sound of All Things: Book Review

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.


On a summer day in 1930 the sounds of Brooklyn surround a boy from the clatter of the Coney Island roller coaster to the crash of the ocean waves. His deaf father reaches into his son's world and asks him to sign the sounds he hears. It's hard for the boy to find different words to describe loud noises.

 A trip to the library helps him feel the words so he can share with his father and mother who is also deaf. Though he envies the children around him who parents who can hear, the boy manages to find joy in sharing his gift with his parents.

Author Myron Ahlberg treats the family's relationships with respect as he draws on his own experience of growing up with deaf parents. He tenderly shows how love can soften resentment. Padpoulas period details in the illustrations transform the reader flawlessly into a different era. A poignant reminder of the importance of treating each other with love and respect.

Rating  ★★★★★

Publishing Information:

Peachtree Publishers (March 2016)
ISBN: 978-1-561-45-833-2
Ages 6-10

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Friday, April 1, 2016

The Somewhat True Adventures of Sammy Shine by Henri Cole: BOOK REVIEW

Book received at no charge in exchange for an honest review.



Sammy Shine is perfectly content living in a shoebox in Hank's room. All of that changes when Hanks' brother sends Sammy on an accidental adventure in a remote control airplane.

No matter how hard he tries, Sammy can't avoid crashing into the Great Woods. He's totally unprepared to face life in the wilderness and he has no idea how to get home. To top it off, his plane disappears. Luckily, he meets some new friends, including a mouse named Phoebe, who agree to help him find his plane. The evil weasel, Mustela, and his band of rats try to thwart their plan.

It's hard to resist Sammy, the adorable mouse from the black and white illustrations. They convey so much more than the lacking in suspense plot. Though the character development falls short at times, young readers will still manage to fall in love with the adorable Sammy
even if they have to slowly skip along instead anxiously running ahead.

Ample illustrations and short chapters lend itself to a great read aloud book or a step up from the first chapter book for the early reader. I'm splitting my review on this one for a 5 star on the illustrations to a 3 star on the story.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
ISBN 978--56145-866-0
Ages 8-12

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Book Review: Claude in the Country by Alex T. Smith

Book received at no charge to facilitate my review.
Get ready for a wild ride. Claude and Sir Bobblysocks have arrived at the farm with all of their quirky humor intact.

Boredom builds when Claude is cooped up indoors until he can stand it no longer. He sets out for a walk in the countryside on a quest for fresh air with his best friend, Sir Bobblysocks. Before long they come across Mrs. Cowpat, the farmer, at Woolybottom Farm and hilarity ensues when they are invited to help her with the farm chores. Claude tries his hand at gathering eggs, acting as a sheepdog and riding a horse but getting the pigs ready for the county farm brings out the fun and charm that young readers have come to expect with Claude.

It never ceases to amaze what what is expressed in the simple hues of black, white, and red like the soft pink of a pretty pig to the angry red of a blazing bull. All while the reader cheer on Claude in his new adventure. Is it enough to get Claude to move to the countryside forever? Another fabulous rendition of an endearing character perfect for the early reader.

Rating 

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