The Ruby Rose Show by Sindy McKay

December 21, 2010

The Ruby Rose Show is part of the We Both Read series, a series of books meant to be read by parents and children together.  The pages alternate with the left side page containing more complex text to be read by the parent and the right side page containing easier reading material suitable for early reading levels to be read by the child.

The Ruby Rose Show is the story of Molly, her friend Abby and Molly’s big sister Sarah as they try to get to the concert of their favorite singer, Ruby Rose.  Molly is impatient to get there , but along the way they encounter a few mishaps which slow them down.  Once they do arrive, they find that Sarah does not have her credit card and they cannot get in to see the show.  Molly sneaks in backstage, is almost thrown out by security, but is rescued by some new friends they had made along their way.  These friends are able to help them stay to see the show and even provide an extra surprise or two.  Molly realizes how lucky she is to have had this experience and to have Sarah as a big sister.

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Fancy Nancy: My Family History by Jane O’Connor

December 21, 2010

Fancy Nancy is a favorite of many little girls.  This new addition to the series has Fancy Nancy and her classmates writing reports about their ancestors.  Fancy Nancy talks to her grandfather to see if any of her ancestors were famous or had exciting adventures; she is disappointed to learn that they seemed quite ordinary (a fancy word for plain).  While writing her report, she embellishes the truth to make her report more interesting.  When she realizes that her grandpa is coming to school, she remembers the story he told about his father and lying, realizes that she has lied, and rewrites her report.  When grandpa arrives, he brings something along that leads Fancy Nancy to believe she got “being fancy” from her great-grandfather.  This Fancy Nancy story reinforces the concept that exaggerating (a fancy word for stretching the truth) is really lying.  This book also gets the reader to think about how they are related to those who came before them; it is a way to introduce the subject of genealogy and ancestors (a fancy word for people in your family who lived long ago) to the reader.    My Family History is another charming addition to the Fancy Nancy series.


Tough Chicks by Cece Meng

October 21, 2010

One Halloween when my oldest daughter was in preschool or kindergarten, she wanted to be a Power Ranger, just not the pink or yellow ones (who were the girls).  This is the same child who loved playing with her Thomas the Tank Engine trains, and enjoyed being Daddy’s little assistance when he was working on a project.  She would have loved the book Tough Chicks, and so will any girl who is part tomboy or just has a wide variety of interests.  This book reinforces the idea that it’s okay to be different and have different interests.

Penny, Polly and Molly are tough chicks from the moment they leave their shells to strut and zoom around the farm.  They wrestle worms and race bugs  and roll in the mud, while their mother keeps insisting to all the other barn animals that they are good chicks.  The tough chicks even get into trouble with the farmer when he finds them in his tractor.  They try to do things like the other chicks do, but are a bit of a failure at the things they try.  When they end up saving the henhouse and the day, the farmer and all the animals finally agree with Mama Hen that they are good chicks.


Code Quest: Hieroglyphs: Solve the Mystery from Ancient Egypt

September 24, 2010

Code Quest: Hieroglyphs is like two books in one – part fictional mystery story, part interactive activity book.  Readers are introduced to the fictional Dr. Cameron Stone who is an archaeologist.  As he visits his favorite Egyptian museum, he stumbles upon a mystery.  The mystery involves a missing gold cat statue and a mysterious woman.  The story takes place both in the museum and in ancient tombs in Egypt.  As the mystery unfolds, readers learn about Ancient Egypt,  how the ancient Egyptians wrote using hieroglyphs, and are then asked to decode some of the hieroglyphic clues in the story.  As each code is solved, it moves the story along.  The book does an excellent job of involving the reader in the story while teaching them about Ancient Egypt and hieroglyphs.   A CD is included with the book which gives the reader the ability to write their own messages using hieroglyphs.  This book would be an excellent resource for a lesson plan on Ancient Egypt.  Or a great book for any child with an interest in Ancient Egypt or secret codes.


A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

September 22, 2010

This is a review of the ARC of A Long Walk to Water which will be published in November of 2010. I was drawn to the book by the title, as the school where I work has made H2O For Life our service project for the year.  We are all learning what a difference water, both wells and sanitation can make in the lives of poor people in some of the countries of Africa, especially in the lives of young girls and their chances for education. 

The book follows the stories of two young people in Sudan, and their eventual intersection.  Nya, a young girl who must fetch her family’s water every day, often multiple times; and Salva, one of the Lost Boys, whose life is drastically changed by war.  They are both survivors and their stories are inspiring.  The book is based on a true story.


Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

August 30, 2010

I remember my daughter and her friends being really into this book back when they were in junior high (she’s headed off to college on Saturday).  I had always intended to take a look at it, but never did until I recently saw a poster advertising the movie based on the book.

Flipped is the story of two neighbors, Bryce and Julianna, who meet when Bryce moves into the neighborhood when they are in second grade.  The book is told in a he-said, she-said alternating format as they mature on their way to becoming 8th graders.  It starts out with Julianna having an immediate crush on Bryce and he running scared from her.  Eventually everything flips and he begins to like her just as she begins to decide she’s just not that into him.

The novel is cute and humorous, but does touch on some serious subjects along the way.  Van Draanen’s characters are well-rounded, even the secondary characters of the story.  It is a quick enjoyable read that should make a great family movie.


The Story of September 11, 2001 by Kathleen Tracy

August 26, 2010

The Story of September 11, 2001 takes a detailed look at a day that, for most of us, is permanently etched in our memories.  But now, nine years later, there are school-aged children who have no first-hand memory of what happened that day.  Personally, I usually gravitate to fiction over non-fiction, but a recent conversation with my almost 13-year-old son about how little he remembers from September 11th, prompted me to pick this book up.  The conversation made me realize that quite a few kids would probably be interested in finding out more. 

The book begins with a look at the day as it was experienced by the country: the first and second planes hitting the Twin Towers, the FAA’s discovery that other planes were non-responsive and possibly commandeered, the halt of all air traffic, the plane hitting the Pentagon, the plane crash in Pennsylvania, and the collapse of the towers.  It then gives background information on The World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden, the hijackers, the heroes of the day, the Pentagon, the Taliban, and how the U.S. decided to fight back.  For those not familiar with what took place that day, this book covers everything they need to know.  For those of us who do remember, it serves as a tribute to those who lost their lives on a horrific day in American history.