Friday, December 30, 2016

George and the Unbreakable Code by Lucy and Stephen Hawking: Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.
Something mysterious has happened to the world's computers resulting in banks giving out free money, people getting free food because the supermarkets can't charge. Computer glitches resulting in free airplane tickets sounds great until the aircrafts are shut down too. Best friends and neighbors, George and Annie, set out on a cosmic space adventure to find out who is hacking computers and causing the strange events on earth.

With the help of a computer named Cosmos, Annie and George pass through a portal that will take them to space. Here they meet up with an army of space robots and a villian with a quantum computer dressed in a onesie. The seriousness of what is happening on earth is undercut by the silliness of the villain.

The budding scientist and computer wiz might love the non-fictional information dumps rampant throughout the book. However, many readers will find the information distracting from an already ho hum plot. The fiction and non-fictional information did not enhance one another as much as it should for a children's book. Best read by an older middle grade reader who loves scientific facts and has an open mind of what might happen when facts meet fiction.

Rating:  ★★★✬☆

Publishing Information

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers (9/6/16)
ISBN: 9781481466271
Ages: 8-12

This book can be purchased on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Book Review: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

As owners of an awesome garage and an"exquisitely detailed" lowrider car, Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria the mosquito, and El Chavo Flapjack the octopus, couldn't ask for a better life. Earthquakes literally rock their world and Genie, their beloved cat, winds up missing. Following the cat's trail leads them on an exciting adventure through a corn field and ultimately through a trap that leads to the realm of the Aztec god of the Underworld, Miclantecuhlti.

After the three friends plunge into a cave, they meet up with the legendary La Llorona who thinks Flappy is her long lost child. She is the least of their worries. When they finally find the caged Genie, they come face to face with Miclantecuhlti. Will they be able to rescue their beloved cat from the god of the Underworld? It's not all "pun" and games but the jokes abound and with the endless Spanish vocabulary, the reader gets laughs and learning at the same time. The exquisite illustrations add to the fun. The reader will enjoy figuring out the puns and looking at the pictures so much that the cultural references and Aztec lore will come as a sneaky bonus. A playful graphic novel for the reluctant reader.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:

Publisher: Chronicle Books (July 5, 2016)
ISBN: 973-1452138367
Pages: 128
Ages: 8-12

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring by Gilbert Ford

Book received at no charge for review purposes

When Richard James worked as an engineer for the United States Navy, he never thought he would stumble across an invention for a toy. His job was to create a device that would keep the ship equipment from vibrating. His mind raced after watching a torsion spring fall from a shelf and take a walk.

Richard's young son let go of the springs by the stairs and it walked all the way down. With the help of his wife, Betty, Richard named his new toy. The Slinky was born. The husband and wife team sold their first run of Slinky's in one day and built a machine to manufacture the Slinky to keep up with the greater demand.

What happens with the production of the Slinky will fascinate the young budding inventor or engineer. The dioramic illustrations add visual play worthy of one of the most beloved toys in American History. An informational book that feels more like fun that learning.

Rating ★★★★☆

Publishing Information

Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 2016)
ISBN: 9781481450652
Pages: 32
Ages: 4-8