Book Review: Masterminds

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Masterminds (Masterminds, #1)
by Gordon Korman
3 out of 5 stars

The town of Serenity is not as serene as it seems. Eli and his friends begin to discover that their seemingly perfect town is hiding dark secrets.

I really liked the mystery in this book, and the gradual unravelling of the secrets that the townspeople are hiding. The adventure aspects of the story are exciting and kept my attention, but sometimes felt far-fetched and unrealistic. I was rolling my eyes a couple of times.

The characters are smart and emotional, and they all have such unique personalities. I really enjoyed getting to know each of them, and seeing how their flaws and strengths push the story forward. They each react in different ways when they discover what is really going on in the town, and I can’t wait to see what further character development they might have in the rest of the series.

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Picture Book Review: Welcome to the Symphony

Welcome to the Symphony by Carolyn Sloan

Welcome to the Symphony: A Musical Exploration of the Orchestra Using Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5
by Carolyn Sloan
5 out of 5 stars

Three little mice attend an orchestral concert and learn about how the different instruments work together to create beautiful music as they play Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (That’s the famous one that goes da-da-da-duh). The mice learn about the concertmaster, the conductor, and all the sections in the orchestra. They learn about tempo and dynamics and themes in music.

As each instrument is introduced, the reader can push the button to hear music played by that instrument. What makes this really special is that the recording plays the exact music that is in the illustrations next to that instrument. If there is a staff drawn next to the oboe playing G, F, E, D in the Treble Clef, then we hear the oboe play those exact notes in the recording. This kind of attention to detail is what makes this book truly special!
(The only instrument recording that does not follow the music written in the book is the trombone, but you know how trombonists are. They rarely follow the rules! haha!)

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Book Review: Mistress Masham’s Repose

Mistress Masham's Repose by T.H. White

Mistress Masham’s Repose
by T.H. WhiteFritz Eichenberg (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
Delightful book!!
Rereading it for the second or third time, I have enjoyed it just as much as the first time.
Orphaned Maria lives in a crumbling old palace that her ancestors built on an extensive estate full of gardens and obelisks and temples and monuments. But there is no money to repair the palace, and she lives in poverty with her governess and one old cook.

When Maria is exploring around an island in a small lake, she encounters the tiny Lilliputian people who Gulliver brought back to England after his travels. They are in danger of being discovered by Maria’s evil guardians, the vicar and governess, and Maria must use all her ingenuity to save them from being kidnapped and sold as slaves.

I love how imaginative this book is. My favorite parts are the scenes that describe how the Lilliputians make their living on the Mistress Masham’s Repose island. They fish, and hunt, and train mice as their horses. They have their little homes in the roofs and hollow pillars of the Repose cupola, and keep their tiny farm animals in stables built into the steps of the structure.

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Board Book Review: Your Nose! and Perfect Piggies!

Your Nose! by Sandra Boynton

Your Nose!
by Sandra Boynton
5 out of 5 stars
A fox parent sings a song to their little fox cub all about their cute nose. Apparently this nose is the best nose to ever exist! It must be extraordinary and lovable with a magic all its own, because it makes the fox parent so happy to see that little fox cub nose. I loved this cute book! The illustrations are adorable, and each animal character boops their noses together in the sweetest way.

Perfect Piggies! by Sandra Boynton

Perfect Piggies!
by Sandra Boynton
5 out of 5 stars
A passel of pigs sing a song about how amazing pigs are, because of their delightful ears, curly tails, their snouts, and their general pink plumpness. Other animals may be smarter or more stylish, but these pigs are fabulous and chubby and they have mega-watt smiles. Those pigs are just so cute and cuddly! The illustrations are very sweet and silly, and I love the simple cartoon art style. Every page is so bright and colorful that it is sure to attract the attention of young readers.

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Picture Book Review: Robobaby

Robobaby by David Wiesner

Robobaby
by David Wiesner
5 out of 5 stars

Cathode (Cathy for short) is about to become a big sister when her parents order a new baby robot. The baby arrives in the mail, but requires some assembly. Mother tries to put the baby together, and Father tries to read the instructions, but they can’t get the gears to attach to the clockwork innards of the child. They call for help! What can Cathy do to help save the baby?

The cuteness level in this book is through the roof! The story is so clever and original, and I adore all the funny characters. There’s Uncle Manny who tries to help assemble the baby. The neighbor brings her little twins to meet the baby. And of course, Sprocket the dog will help big sister Cathy to save the day!

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Comic Review: Arkhamaniacs

Arkhamaniacs by Art Baltazar

Arkhamaniacs
by Art BaltazarFranco Aureliani
4 out of 5 stars

Little Bruce Wayne meets some strange tenants in an apartment building owned by Wayne Enterprises. The Joker, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Penguin, and all the classic villains are young people and children, and Commissioner Gordon is the supervisor of the apartments. The villains only want to have fun and play games with little Brucie! But Alfred insists that they should follow the rules and not make trouble.

I liked the comedy in this comic! The Joker is always getting up to crazy hijinks, and dragging Bruce along. They get up an insane game of pirates at a pool party, and that is the perfect backdrop for some truly hilarious adventures.

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Picture Book Review: Hello, Neighbor!

Hello, Neighbor! by Matthew Cordell

Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers
by Matthew Cordell
5 out of 5 stars

This book tells the true story of how Fred Rogers first began to be interested in television production, and how he began broadcasting the show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The story is told in a simple way for children to understand, but it captures the heart of the show through Mr. Rogers personality. He exhibited such a strong kindness and compassion that it reached people personally even through the airwaves of television. I love that this book expresses the true heart of Mr. Rogers and demonstrates just how special and original his TV show really was.

One of the things that is mentioned in this book is that Fred Rogers was a minister, and his faith played a huge role in the type of person he was and how he formed his famous TV show for children. The sincerity and love in every episode are beautifully represented in this book.

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Picture Book Review: Sarah’s Solo

Sarah's Solo by Tracy Brown

Sarah’s Solo
by Tracy Brown (Goodreads Author), Paula Wegman (Illustrator)
4 out of 5 stars
Sarah wishes that she could go to her ballet dance recital instead of attending her cousin’s wedding. When she hears the music at the wedding reception, she is swept into a dance with the bride and discovers that there is beauty in all types of music and dance, not just ballet.

This book teaches young readers about Jewish wedding traditions and the song Hava Nagila. The wedding guests dance the Hora, and the steps are outlined in the story. I love the rich culture and expressive traditions in this book!

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Picture Book Review: Dance Like a Leaf

Dance Like a Leaf by A.J. Irving

Dance Like a Leaf
by A.J. Irving (Goodreads Author), Claudia Navarro (Illustrations)
5 out of 5 stars

A little girl and her grandmother share a cup of tea, bundle up in multiple scarves, and dance with the autumn leaves. But as the months go by, the grandmother begins to decline. She can’t get out of bed, but the little girl paints the trees for her on a canvas full of autumn color. When the grandmother dies, her granddaughter still remembers how she was taught to dance with the leaves and enjoy a warm cup of tea. The moments of joy that they shared will never be lost.

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Picture Book Review: Voy a Portarme Muy Bien

Voy a portarme muy bien by Chris Haughton

Voy a portarme muy bien
by Chris Haughton (Goodreads Author)
5 out of 5 stars

Simon has promised to be a good dog while his owner is away, but he is tempted by the delicious cake, the enticing cat chase, and digging in the dirt. He repents of his evil deeds, and learns some self-control. He is rewarded with a trip to the park, where he does NOT get into trouble. Or does he?

Simon ha prometido ser un buen perro mientras su dueño no esta en casa, pero se siente tentado por el delicioso pastel, la tentadora persecución del gato, y la excavación en la tierra. Se arrepiente de sus malas acciones y aprende algo de autocontrol. Es recompensado con un viaje al parque, donde NO se mete en problemas. ¿O si?

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