Book Review: The Haunting of Granite Falls

The Haunting of Granite Falls by Eva Ibbotson
The Haunting of Granite Falls 
by Eva IbbotsonKevin Hawkes (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Young Alex, the laird of Carra, is forced to sell his ancient and dilapidated Scottish castle to an American millionaire. Poor Alex is heartbroken to be leaving his ancestral home, but worst of all is the parting with his ghostly friends who haunt the Castle of Carra. When the millionaire tears down the castle and transplants it in Texas where his ailing daughter, Helen, can enjoy it, the ghosts accompany the ancient stones of their home, and uncover an evil plot to kidnap Helen. The good ghosts befriend a mysterious phantom hand, and rely on Alex to help save poor Helen from her kidnappers!

This has all the charm and silliness that I’ve come to love in Ibbotson’s books! The writing is fresh with a whimsical story-telling style. I love how weird and wacky the characters are, and how every detail about them carries weight in the story. The plot is full of preposterous surprises and plenty of action.

One of the best things about Ibbotson’s writing is how she takes ordinary things and turns them upside down to the astonishment of the reader.

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Book Review: Kid Authors

Kid Authors by David Stabler
Kid Authors: True Tales of Childhood from Great Writers 
by David Stabler (Goodreads Author)Doogie Horner (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This collection of short biographies of famous authors focuses on each author as a child, and what childhood experiences and situations led that person to become a writer.
Including interesting biographies about authors such as Lucy Maud Montgomery, Laura Ingalls Wilder, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, Roald Dahl, J.K. Rowling, Sherman Alexie, and Stan Lee; this book covers authors from a wide variety of backgrounds and time periods for an eclectic look at what inspires readers to become writers.
Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Is a Worry Worrying You?

Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff
Is a Worry Worrying You? 
by Ferida WolffHarriet May SavitzMarie Letourneau (Goodreads Author)(Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This is such a fun and hilarious book about dealing with anxiety and learning not to worry. I love how the more serious advice is interspersed with funny examples. The advice includes simple things like activities to take your mind off your worries, and encouragement to face your worry and see if it really makes sense.
The silly examples include things like, If you are worried about a hundred elephants coming over for tea, but you don’t have any teabags, then offer them lemonade instead!

The cute illustrations make the book so fun to read, and really enhance the advice given.
Above all, this book encourages children to talk about their anxiety with a friend, and share their worries with parents, so that those fears lose their power over you. Continue reading

Book Review: Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work

Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work by Edith Van Dyne
Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work (Aunt Jane’s Nieces, #4) 
by Edith Van Dyne (Pseudonym)L. Frank Baum

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads
In this fourth book in the series, Kenneth is getting involved in politics and is sadly losing the election to become a State Representative. The three nieces decide to help him in his campaign, and they fight against dirty politicians, ignorant country voters, and shady political dealings that threaten to overwhelm the campaign. Along the way, they befriend the country people, and help a farmer to find his missing daughter.

I get bored with politics, so I didn’t especially enjoy the plot, but I liked how the mysteries were surprising and interesting. I loved how the girls help Kenneth to set up a rally that throws their opponent’s arguments out the door, how they discover the underhanded political deals, and they aid in solving the mystery of the missing farmer’s daughter. Continue reading

Book Review: Brave Red, Smart Frog

Brave Red, Smart Frog by Emily Jenkins
5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This delightful collection of familiar fairy tales is told with a fresh voice and enchanting writing!

Including new versions of Snow White, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and several others that are less well-known, this book provides a crisp new look at these old tales while still remaining true to the main stories.

While the basic plots remain the same, it’s the sparkling dialogue and little inside jokes that make these fairy tales so enjoyable to read and reread.

The lovely illustrations bring the stories to life and give a nod to classic fairy tale illustrators like Arthur Rackham and Walter Crane. I love how elegant the illustrations are! Continue reading

Book Review: The Children of the New Forest

The Children Of The New Forest by Frederick Marryat
The Children Of The New Forest (Puffin Classics) 
by Frederick Marryat

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

During the English Civil War, the four Beverley children are orphaned when their wealthy father is killed fighting for the restoration of King Charles. Their grand home is burnt down and they are supposed dead, so they find shelter with a kindly old forester. They each learn to hunt, harvest, and care for their little cottage, living in seclusion deep in the forest. But the oldest boy, Edward, is restless and he dreams of going to war as his father did.  Continue reading

Book Review: I Hate Reading

I Hate Reading: How To Get Through 20 Minutes of Reading A Day Without Really Reading
I Hate Reading: How To Get Through 20 Minutes of Reading A Day Without Really Reading by Arthur Bacon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whahahahaha! This is hilarious! The perfect book for kids who hate reading and would rather play outside. This book offers tips on how to trick your parents into thinking you are reading, when really you are just moving your eyeballs from side to side on the page. Such a funny book with almost no illustrations, but still colorful and clever.

What a great way to take the pressure off when a kid doesn’t care for reading, and get them interested in reading again! This book is very sneaky about getting kids to read, because when you’re laughing you will WANT to read. Continue reading

Book Review: Seven-Day Magic

Seven-Day Magic
Seven-Day Magic by Edward Eager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this last book of the series, a whole new set of characters take center stage for another magical adventure! These children love visiting the library every week and checking out piles of books, and when Susan finds a mysterious old book without a title, she opens it to discover that the book is all about her and her friends making wishes and going on adventures! The children take turns making their wishes on the book with mixed results. Wizards and dragons are not all they seem to be, and when they begin mixing the magic with other books and modern-day events, things get out of hand until the children can learn to follow the magical rules and find their own happy endings.

Yet another wonderful book in this series! The winsome and wild writing takes you to a new world of magic and fantasy, every page drawing the reader into the story. The characters are complex and delightful, making you truly care about each of them.

I love how there are many many references to classic books like Robinson Crusoe, the Wizard of Oz, and countless others. As always, Edward Eager highlights several children’s books by Edith Nesbit, which these characters have all read, of course!

Reading it for the second time was just as entertaining as the first!

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Picture Book Review: Pirates in the Library

Pirates in the Library
Pirates in the Library by Nadia Ali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When a librarian makes a treasure map to help people find books in the library, a pirate crew thinks they will find real treasure, gold and diamonds, and they storm into the library! The pirate crew soon finds better treasure in the books they read and enjoy, but the pirate Captain is harder to convince. It’s up to the courageous librarian to show the Captain just how precious books can be.

This cute little story is full of fun and laughter, and I like the way that the crew all pick very different books on many subjects, and all their choices are detailed both in the text and in the illustrations. The cook finds a recipe book, the first mate reads a book about mutiny, and even the parrot finds a book about birds! Continue reading