Picture Book Review: Emiline

Emiline by Kimberli Johnson
Emiline: Knight in Training 
by Kimberli Johnson

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This picture book features Emiline, a little girl who is training to be a knight. She struggles with reading because she has dyslexia, but her teacher encourages her to do her best and rise to the challenge. When her fellow knights are in danger, Emiline is the only one who can lead the way to safety by reading the riddle on a magic door and opening the portal.

The story is simple and fun. The illustrations are soft and graceful. But I’m not particularly impressed.
The story is almost TOO simple. The illustrations are TOO soft. I would have liked a little more clarity in the artwork. And the plot needed some more depth. There’s a lot of “telling” instead of “showing”, and the dialogue could have been more polished.

It’s a lovely little book, and I enjoyed reading it. Emiline is completely adorable, and I admire her spunk.

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Book Review: The Great Brain Reforms

The Great Brain Reforms by John D. Fitzgerald
The Great Brain Reforms (Great Brain, #5) 
by John D. FitzgeraldMercer Mayer

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Tom, known as The Great Brain, is up to his old tricks again, fooling the neighborhood kids into sucker bets, tricking his brother into doing all the chores, blackmailing his adopted brother out of his allowance money, and generally making trouble for the town.

But when a few kids nearly lose their lives in one of his pranks, will the shame and fear of death be enough to get the Great Brain to reform his ways?

I enjoyed this funny story about the mischievous schemes of Tom and how he drags his brothers along for the ride. He definitely reminds me of Tom Sawyer, only he’s WORSE!
The wholesome atmosphere of the old town and the simple quiet people who live there, are stirred up by the wild and crazy scenarios that Tom cooks up. There is never a dull moment! Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn
20 Recipes Kids Should Know 
by Esme WashburnCalista Washburn (Photographs)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This colorful book of recipes for children has clear instructions for simple food made from scratch. Each recipe includes a little blurb from the authors about why they love the food and how their parents or grandparents taught them to cook.

The photographs are beautiful, with bright colors and mouth-watering food on every page.
Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln by Mark Shulman
Abraham Lincoln: Defender of the Union! 
by Mark Shulman ,Tom Martin (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel tells the history of Abraham Lincoln, from his childhood to his death, how he became president, his tragic family grief, and how he guided the American nation through the Civil War, and was ultimately assassinated.

I loved this overview of Lincoln’s life! The cartoony artwork is colorful and bright, with lots of funny details in the background that bring the story to life.

I think the writers did a wonderful job of condensing such a rich life story into so few pages, but still highlighting the most important and memorable aspects of Lincoln’s presidency and personal life. There were many details that I found interesting and engaging, as well as some cute jokes and anecdotes that were entertaining to read. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton by Mark Shulman
Alexander Hamilton: The Fighting Founding Father! (Show Me History!) 
by Mark Shulman ,Kelly Tindall (Illustrator)John Roshell (Illustrator)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel follows an overview of Hamilton’s life, his service in the Revolutionary War, and his involvement in constructing the financial laws of the new American government.

It’s difficult to squeeze an entire life into 96 pages, and I thought the balance of story-telling could have been better. Interesting parts of Hamilton’s military career were skimmed over, and a lot more time was dedicated to his political battles to establish a federal government with a national currency, etc… I thought the book would have been more engaging if they had spent slightly less time on the politics, since it doesn’t have as much action.

The art style is cartoony and bright, with a lot of funny details in the background. The art is unpolished, and I think it could have been a little more refined. But still, it’s cute, and the panels have lots of energy. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. by James Buckley Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.: Voice for Equality! 
by James Buckley Jr.Youneek Studios (Illustrations)John Roshell (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel wonderfully summarizes the powerful life story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his peaceful fight for civil rights in the United States.

I especially liked that many exact quotes from MLK, Jr. and others are used as the dialogue, but some of the dialogue is conjecture and added to enhance the story, imagining what might have been said in various situations. I’m always on the lookout for reputable historical books, and I felt that the history here was accurate and true to actual events.  Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears

Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears by Margaret Wise Brown
Sleep Tight, Sleepy Bears 
by Margaret Wise BrownJulie Clay (Illustrator)

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This sweet book is the perfect bedtime reading to lull children into sleep. With its repetitive prose and soft illustrations, it’s sure to have you yawning and ready for a good night’s sleep. As a sleepy big bear and a sleepy little bear prepare for bed, they snuggle under the covers, sing a gentle lullaby, and drift off to dreamland.

The soft and warm illustrations are delightful, with light colors and fuzzy brush strokes that invite the reader to give a little stretch and yawn a big yawn before crawling into bed.

I can’t wait to read this to my niece at bedtime. I actually makes me sleepy reading it myself! haha!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Media Master Publicity in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

Picture Book Review: Count to 10 with a Mouse

Count To 10 With A Mouse by Margaret Wise Brown
Count To 10 With A Mouse 
by Margaret Wise Brown,  Kirsten Richards (Illustrator)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This adorable counting book follows a little mouse as he discovers how to count to ten. He is struggling to count up his fingers and toes, so he goes on an adventure through a hole in the pages of a book, and he finds wondrous things on every page that help him count. He meets fish, butterflies, cats, and crows, and counts them all.

The soft illustrations have beautiful detailed lines that show every little whisker and pawprint. The gorgeous colors will appeal to little children as they count up items on each page!

The poetry is whimsical and fun, and at the end of each page when the mouse climbs through to the next page, the same poetic line repeats. Toddlers love repetition, so this is the perfect book to read aloud with a child learning to count.  Continue reading

Book Review: From an Idea to Nike

From an Idea to Nike by Lowey Bundy Sichol
From an Idea to Nike: How Marketing Made Nike a Global Success 
by Lowey Bundy Sichol (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book tells how Phil Knight began his business with a simple idea for a better running shoe and how it developed into the massive global company it is today. Focusing on the marketing and the innovative concepts that built the Nike empire, this story explains how a business can use good branding, endorsements, and an understanding of the needs of their customers in order to succeed.

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is written for young children, so many business concepts that a child wouldn’t know like “Revenue,” Investments,” or “Board of Directors” are explained with definitions for the bigger words. There are also “Fun Fact” boxes within the text that give extra tidbits of information about how the Nike company was built.

There are funny anecdotes about how the company received its name, designed the classic Swoosh logo, and developed its rapport with athletes, then began reaching out to pros for endorsement deals. Continue reading

Book Review: From an Idea to Disney

From an Idea to Disney by Lowey Bundy Sichol
From an Idea to Disney: How Branding Made Disney a Household Name 
by Lowey Bundy Sichol 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book is a wonderful overview of how Walt Disney began his business with a simple cartoon mouse and how it developed into the massive global company it is today. Focusing on the business savvy and the innovative concepts that built the Disney empire, this story explains how a business needs investors, branding, and loyal customers to succeed, but that it is the magic in the details that builds a heritage of excellence.

I really enjoyed reading this book! It is written for young children, so many business concepts that a child wouldn’t know like “Revenue,” Mortgage,” or “Board of Directors” are explained with definitions for the bigger words. There are also “Fun Fact” boxes within the text that give extra tidbits of information about Walt Disney and his company.
Continue reading