BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Adam Stower

 

troll

 

Title: Troll & the Oliver
Author/Illustrator: Adam Stower
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

Every day when Oliver goes out, Troll tries to eat him. But catching Oliver is very tricky—he’s fast, sneaky, and just too clever! It is only when it looks like Troll has given up and Oliver celebrates victory that—CHOMP!—he gets eaten, and it turns out that Olivers don’t taste very nice after all.

 

Why you should read it:

 

It was the clever book design that first caught my eye. With a partial peekaboo cut-away cover, I was immediately drawn into wanting to find out who this cute little kid was and why a Troll seemed to be after him. The whimsically silly story reminded me somewhat of the old Road Runner cartoons where poor Wile E Coyote endeavors to catch a pesky road runner for a midday meal. Kids will also like the surprise ending after Troll discovers an Oliver might not be as tasty as he once thought! Author/illustrator Adam Stower’s lovely illustrations will delight young readers. A great addition to any home library.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

************

 

donna - Copy

 

Best selling, award-winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, HISTORY’S MYSTERIES: Ship of Dreams, is now available in eBook and print form from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, and other online retailers. And coming to the Titanic Museums soon in Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Adam Stower

 

Troll

 

Title: Troll & the Oliver
Author/Illustrator: Adam Stower
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

Every day when Oliver goes out, Troll tries to eat him. But catching Oliver is very tricky—he’s fast, sneaky, and just too clever! It is only when it looks like Troll has given up and Oliver celebrates victory that—CHOMP!—he gets eaten, and it turns out that Olivers don’t taste very nice after all.

 

Why you should read it:

 

It was the clever book design that first caught my eye. With a partial peekaboo cut-away cover, I was immediately drawn into wanting to find out who this cute little kid was and why a Troll seemed to be after him. The whimsically silly story reminded me somewhat of the old Road Runner cartoons where poor Wile E Coyote endeavors to catch a pesky road runner for a midday meal. Kids will also like the surprise ending after Troll discovers an Oliver might not be as tasty as he once thought! Author/illustrator Adam Stower’s lovely illustrations will delight young readers. A great addition to any home library.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**
5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take it or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Sally M Walker

 

winnie

 

Title: Winnie
Author: Sally M Walker
Illustrator: Jonathan D Voss
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Ages: 7-9

 

Synopsis:

 

Who could care for a bear? The remarkable true story of a bear that one day became a household name and the soldier who cared for her.

 

Why you should read it:

 

I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t heard of Winnie the Pooh, but I don’t think everyone knows the Winnie character was based on a real, live bear. Ms. Walker’s book is based on the true story of a bear rescued by a soldier. The soldier, Harry Coleburn, decides to raise the bear and forms a friendship lasting several years before Winnie finds a new home at the London Zoo.

As a writer of creative fiction, I found the authenticity of this story fascinating as I’m sure readers of all ages will be interested in finding out the history behind the classic stories of Winnie the Pooh.

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Margaree King Mitchell

 

jed

 

Title: Uncle Jed’s Babershop
Author: Margaree King Mitchell
Illustrator: James Ransome
Publisher: Alladin Paperbacks
Ages: 9-11

 

Synopsis:

 

Everyone has a favorite relative. For Sarah Jean, it’s her Uncle Jed. Every Wednesday night he comes over to her house to give her daddy a haircut and a shave.

What makes Uncle Jed special is his dream of opening his own barbershop one day with shiny sinks, real barber chairs, and outside, a big, tall, red-and-white barber pole. Even when life’s hardships and unexpected family emergencies get in the way, Uncle Jed never loses sight of his dream.

 

Why you should read it:

 

Sometimes it takes an oldie, but a goodie to remind us of what’s important in life and that’s our dreams. During a time when the spotlight is on diverse books, it’s nice to discover a strong story spotlighting the love and devotion of an African American family during a time of social unrest.

Illustrator James Ransome creates realistic portraits of a family struggling through the times right before the Great Depression and author Margaree King Mitchell touches our hearts with a poignant story of one man’s dream fulfilled almost before it was too late.

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Daisy Corning Stone Spedden

 

titanic.jpg

 

Title: Polar The Titanic Bear
Author: Daisy Corning Stone Spedden
Illustrator: Laurie McGa
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Ages: 9-11

Synopsis:

A young boy’s toy bear begins a journey all the way from the shelves at F.A.O. Schartz toy store in New York City to far off places halfway around the world before ending up on the Titanic. Will Polar and his young master make it off the great ship alive?

Why you should read it:

During my research for my own creative nonfiction book about the Titanic, I came across this cute book based on the true story of a toy bear’s journey around the world. Young readers will not only learn about a little boy named Douglas Spedden, but will also have a peek into the lives of the rich during the Edwardian era where the latest adventure was a gangplank away.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Deidre Gill

 

outside.jpg

 

Title: Outside
Author/Illustrator: Deidre Gill
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

What happens when you step outside?

 

Why you should read it:

 

Perfect, playful imagination flow through the pages of the wonderful picture book by debut author/illustrator Deidre Gill. Stunning illustrations capture the world of one little boy’s imagination as he goes outside to play. When he can’t entice his older brother to join him, he makes some friends of his own and steps into a fantasy world where dragons are real and anything can happen!

 

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

 

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Marissa Moss

 
spy

 

Title: Nurse, Soldier, Spy…The Story of Sarah Edmonds
Author: Marissa Moss
Illustrator: John Hendrix
Publisher: Abrams Books For Young Readers
Ages: 9-11

 

Synopsis:

 

When Frank Thompson sees a poster requesting recruits for the new Union army, he is ready and willing to enlist. Except Frank isn’t his real name. He is really Sarah Emma Edmonds. Dressing like a man, she becomes a soldier, battlefield nurse, and even a spy in this incredible true story of one woman’s fight for her country’s freedom.

 

Why you should read it:

 

I’m really fascinated with the “human side” of history and find myself reading a lot about the Civil War lately. This well written story by author Marissa Moss allows her readers to step into the shoes of an otherwise genteel lady as she fights beside Union soldiers trying to free the slaves and unite a country. Kids will be amazed at the life Sarah led and the dangers she endured during a time when “ladies” were thought to be nothing more than gentle creatures to be protected from the horrors of the real world instead of vibrant, strong women capable of protecting themselves as well as those around them on the field of battle.
Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: April Pulley Sayre

hoppy

 

Title: If You’re Hoppy
Author: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrator: Jackie Urbanovic
Publisher: Harper Collins
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

 

If you’re hoppy
and you know it,
you’re a…frog.

If you’re hoppy
and you know it,
you’re a frog.

Or…

 

Why you should read it:

 

When I first picked up this book I expected a retelling of the traditional children’s song, “If you’re happy and you know it”.

I was pleasantly surprised.

This delightful, whimsical tale lets young readers to hop, slop, growl and flap their way through a menagerie of funny animals as they try to decide just what kind of critter they might be. The pastel artwork seems larger than life and will sure to be a hit with readers of all ages.

 
Like-o-meter Rating scale**:  5 out of 5…grab it!

**Rating scale**

5 out of 5…grab it!

4 out of 5…think about it.

3 out of 5…take or leave it.

2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

1 out of 5…forget about it!

BOOK NOOK REVIEWS: Jeff Mack

 

duck

 

Title:  Duck In The Fridge
Author/Illustrator: Jeff Mack
Publisher: Two Lions Publishing
Ages: 4-8

 

Synopsis:

When Dad was a boy, he discovered a duck in the fridge! And more ducks all over the house. He tried everything he could think of to get rid of the ducks with no success until he finally came up with a clever idea to get the animals to fall asleep. And himself too.

Why you should read it: 

I must admit when I first started reading this story I wasn’t really connecting to the plot and the illustrations weren’t exactly grabbing me. But by the time the ducks start taking over the house I was hooked. It reminded me somewhat of Tara Lazar’s humorous book, THE MONSTORE, and the dilemma her main character had getting rid of a pesky little sister. This book ended up being a cute read and probably would be enjoyed by younger children.

Like-o-meter Rating scale**: 4 out of 5…think about it.

**Rating scale**

 5 out of 5…grab it!

 4 out of 5…think about it.

 3 out of 5…take or leave it.

 2 out of 5…maybe not for you.

 1 out of 5…forget about it!

 

**************

 

 

WRITERLY WISDOM: Vivian Kirkfield

 

pov.jpg

 

 

Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. This week’s post is from my good friend and children’s author, Vivian Kirkfield, as she talks about points of view…

 

 

Picture Books: A Child’s POV

By Vivian Kirkfield

 

 

“Read me one more story, please?”

Just about every parent has heard this plaintive cry. Young children love to listen to picture book stories. They enjoy cuddling close to daddy on a comfy couch or leaning back on mommy’s lap as they help to turn the dog-eared pages of a beloved book.

 

Why should we read picture books to young children?

 

  •         We read with them for entertainment and enjoyment. Their messages can help young children deal with many of the challenges they encounter. Reading with young children engages them in the world between the pages. Children are able to relate the events in the book to their own experiences. Studies show that children who are read to at an early age are more successful in school.

 

Which books should a parent read? A parent can:

 

  •        Consult children’s librarians
  •        Check out reviews on Amazon and other book review sites
  •       Ask for recommendations from teachers and friends
  •       Encourage the child to make some choices.

 

What makes great picture book? Whether it is a quiet bedtime book or a rollicking pirate adventure…a great picture book should have:

 

  •        Captivating illustrations
  •        Simple text
  •        Story that a child can relate to
  •        Emotional response

As picture book writers, we need to keep those four factors in mind. But picture books are not the only types of books for young kids. Here is a list of the different types of book formats and what you can expect to find in each.

  •       Board books – for infants to toddlers, hard board pages usually plasticized for sturdiness, simple pictures, minimal text, these days many popular picture books have been redone as board books, but they used to be mostly concept books (numbers, colors, ABC’s).
  •        Picture books – for preschoolers to 4th grade…although ages 3-5 is considered the ‘sweet spot’, designed to be read to/with the child, 32 pages, balance between text and pictures, but recently more pictures than text,1000 word max…but recently 500 words or less are preferred, art tells much of the story, child or child-like hero is at center of story, fiction or non-fiction or concept book, example: Where The Wild Things Are.
  •        Easy-reader or level reader – 6-8 year old, illustrations on every page, usually broken into chapters, shorter sentences and repetition, 2-5 sentences per page, aim is for the child to read it himself, example: Amelia Bedelia
  •        Early Chapter Books – 7-11 year old, 45-60 pages, broken into chapters, each chapter is broken into 3-4 pages, illustrations are small, usually black and white and only on every few pages, 2-4 sentences per paragraph, each chapter ends so they want to turn the page, example: Ramona.
  •        Middle Grade Novels (MG) – 8-12 year old, 100-150 pages, minimal illustrations, invites the child to bring his own imagination to the story, example: series books such as Chronicles of Narnia.
  •       Young Adult Novels (YA) – 12 years old and up, 100-400 pages, complex plots, themes relevant to problems of teenagers today, sophisticated topics, mature vocabulary, example: Twilight Series, Hunger Games.

As writers of children’s books, it will be helpful to remember these parameters.

I think that writing for children is the best job in the world! As Jorge Luis Borges said, “I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” We hold in our hands the ability to create beautiful stories that will entertain, educate and elevate the young children of tomorrow.

 

Vivian Kirkfield is a mom, an educator and an author who is passionate about picture books, enjoys hiking and fly-fishing with her husband, loves reading, crafting and cooking with kids during school and library programs and shares tips and tactics for building self-esteem and literacy in her parenting workshops. To learn more about her mission to help every child become a reader and a lover of books.

VIVIAN’S  BOOKS:

PIPPA’S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, February 12, 2019) illus by Jill Weber

FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019) illus by Mirka Hokkanen

SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019) illus by Chris Ewald

MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020) illus by Alleanna Harris

FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) illus by Gilbert Ford