Non Fiction Review: Ultimate Trivia, Volume 1

Ultimate Trivia, Volume 1 by Donna Hoke
Ultimate Trivia, Volume 1
by Donna Hoke

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book has Trivia Questions in categories for US and World History, Arts and Literature, Food and Drink, and Animals and Nature. They vary from multiple choice questions, true or false, or putting a group of words into the correct order. Some groups of questions have a word bank of possible answers that you can choose from. Continue reading

Comic Review: Snug Harbor Stories

Snug Harbor Stories by Will  Henry
Snug Harbor Stories: A Wallace the Brave Collection! 
by Will Henry

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I can’t get enough of Wallace and his friends! Once again, I wish I could give this comic 10 stars!

Wallace, Amelia, and Spud are off on another set of minor adventures in the woods and creeks around Snug Harbor. They spend their days hunting the Sasquatch, tracking a prehistoric turtle named Gramps, playing basketball, making blanket forts, eating pancakes in the shape of a top hat, and ducking out of their schoolwork.

I love how imaginative Wallace is! He can take the smallest bit of nothing and turn it into a wild adventure, dragging his friends along with him.
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Picture Book Review: It’s Your World Now

It's Your World Now! by Barry Falls
It’s Your World Now! 
by Barry Falls

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This children’s book encourages children to be creative and true to their dreams, reminding them that they are capable of anything, but also that not everything will go their way. But most importantly, this book conveys the message that each child is loved, no matter what.

The one reason I enjoyed reading this book is the possibility for pointing out so many fun details in the illustrations. There is a ladybug hidden on every page, and it’s so delightful to search for it in the pictures. When reading with a child, it would be really fun to point to each picture and ask them “What is that?” or “Who is that?” and teach them about various people, places, and things.

All the illustrations are bright and colorful with a cartoonish look. The pages vary from simple and clean to extremely busy with complicated pictures of various things all jumbled together. I prefer the clean style, but I can also see the appeal of the jumbled images since it would be fun to point out each thing on the page while reading with a child.  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: The Mozart Season

The Mozart Season by Virginia Euwer Wolff
The Mozart Season 
by Virginia Euwer Wolff

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Allegra is a violinist entering a prestigious Mozart music competition. At 12 years of age, she is the youngest finalist in the competition, and works closely with her violin teacher to be prepared. But as she memorizes the Mozart concerto, other things in her life begin to affect her music.
Her mother’s emotionally wounded friend, Deirdre, who is a genius vocalist, makes Allegra wonder about how pain can find a voice through music. Allegra’s grandmother, who escaped the Nazi death camps, urges Allegra to embrace her Jewish heritage, and Allegra reflects on her identity as a musician. And there is a mysterious homeless man who haunts all the local concerts in the park, dancing by himself in the back and searching for a song he can’t remember.

As a musician, I enjoyed this story so much. The writing is quite accurate about how one feels about learning music, and embracing it, and connecting with the composers; how you can make yourself crazy practicing too much, how your nerves will go haywire before or after a performance, how music shapes everything you do and everything you are.
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Book Review: Jennifer Murdley’s Toad

Jennifer Murdley's Toad by Bruce Coville
Jennifer Murdley’s Toad 
by Bruce CovilleGary A. Lippincott (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Jennifer wishes she could be beautiful, but feels ugly and dumpy. When she buys a talking toad at the Magic Shop, her entire life changes, and she is whisked on an adventure where she will have to choose between pursuing beauty or saving her friends.

I loved this hilarious story, and read it all in one sitting! The madcap plot is full of surprises, and the snappy dialogue makes every page interesting. I enjoyed the magic system and how it interacts in strange ways with the modern world.

I thought Jennifer was sweet and REAL and beautifully awkward. Her family is quirky and weird, and her friends are peppery and unreliable. The best part of the book was Jennifer’s various relationships with her parents, siblings, and school friends, and of course, her magical talking toad.

I adored every chapter! Can’t wait to read more from this series.

Book Review: Wizards of WaterFire

The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire by Iain Reading
The Guild of the Wizards of Waterfire (The Wizards of Waterfire, #1) 
by Iain Reading (Goodreads Author)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

Memphis and her friends are wizards, using elemental power over Water and Fire to create a unique magic. But the rules of their magic guild are very clear; each guild must have exactly five members, no more, no less. When a member of their guild dies, Memphis scrambles to find someone to fill the empty place before their elemental magic spirals out of balance. Flynn seems like the perfect candidate to join the WaterFire guild, and Memphis senses a strange connection to him from the beginning. As the wizards work together to keep the balance within their guild, they must face ancient mysteries, and travel to the headquarters of the WaterFire elders to uncover the dark secrets of the deepest elemental power. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: The Iliad

The Iliad by Gareth Hinds
The Iliad 
by Gareth Hinds 

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This graphic novel retelling of Homer’s Iliad was not quite what I expected. It’s much too word-heavy for a graphic novel, and I found myself bogged down in the text. Most of the panels have so much text that there is barely room for the artwork. And the artwork itself is nothing special. I didn’t care for the cartoony look, and it just didn’t grab my attention. It looks somewhat amateur, or hastily drawn.

If you are a big fan of the Iliad, you might like this, but I did not enjoy reading it. Usually I love classical literature, and I have read The Iliad before, so I was happy to be revisiting the story of the Trojan War with all the drama. But this book does not deliver drama. It feels stale and static, like the characters are all made of stone.

Disappointed in this one. Continue reading

Picture Book Review: Gorgeous Ruth

Gorgeous Ruth by Albert Chang
Gorgeous Ruth 
by Albert ChangCaroline Attia (Illustrations)

2 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


Ruth has a chipped tooth, and a chipped tea cup, but she doesn’t let it bother her, preferring instead to play and run on the beach.
This picture book has beautiful illustrations with billowing lines and colorful figures. I really loved the movement in the pictures, and how cute Ruth looks! She looks sweet and cheerful on every page. The sweeping wind and rushing waves are the perfect backdrop for the energetic Ruth, but I also enjoyed how peaceful the artwork is as Ruth lays down to sleep.

The one thing I did NOT enjoy was the actual story. It was not exactly clear what the relationship was between Ruth’s chipped tooth and the broken cup. Did she chip her tooth on the cup? Or is she just comparing her tooth to the cup?

The story is told in really terrible poetry. The meter is off. Some of the words don’t rhyme. I don’t know why people think children’s picture books should be in rhyme. It would be a much better story if they just told the story, instead of painfully attempting to rhyme “beach” with “feet”, and “sea” and “dream”. *cringe*
Continue reading