Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Two Speckled Eggs

August 22, 2014


Two Speckled Eggs

Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann

Ginger is excited about her birthday party.  Her mother insists she cannot exclude anyone from the invitations, but Ginger thinks Lyla Browning is weird.

This is a great story about friendship.  During the party games and the cake, Ginger begins to get a new perspective on Lyla, and when she opens Lyla’s present she discovers a tiny handmade bird’s nest with two chocolate malted-milk eggs.  Lyla’s gift is unique, as is Lyla.

Jennifer K. Mann’s author notes on the flap of the book say that she came up with the idea for the story from two photographs from her seventh birthday party.  Do you remember your seventh birthday?  This book may stir some memories!

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Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green

August 7, 2014

Last-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green (Last But Not Least Lola) CoverLast-But-Not-Least Lola Going Green

By Christine Pakkala

  2nd grader Lola Zuckerman is tired of always being last in her classroom where her teacher loves to put everything in alphabetical order.  Not only is she last in roll call but she’s also last when students share their ideas for a “going green” contest.  All of those great ideas she has bouncing around in her head and they’re already taken by the 18 students ahead of her in class!  What to do?  Grandma has told her all about a worm composting idea for her garden but that seems ridiculous.  Could such a thing exist?  Could it help her win the contest?  Could she actually come out first in something? And what about her ex-best friend Amanda Anderson who is not only the first in roll call but is also her class rival.  Will they ever be friends again or will the contest create an even bigger wall between them?

Thanks to quirky yet fully developed characters with humor reminiscent of Clementine and Ramona, this early chapter book series is definitely on my list of recommendations for both boys and girls who like their stories realistic yet funny.  Delightful illustrations by Paul Hoppe are scattered throughout – a special plus for those children new to chapter books.

This is book one in the series with the second to follow later this year.  I, for one, will be on the lookout for more Lola!

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)


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Princess Posey and the Next-Door Dog

August 6, 2014

Princess Posey and the Next-Door Dog

Stephanie Greene

I am always on the lookout for fiction series to recommend to children transitioning out of easy readers and into chapter books.  The Princess Posey series fits that bill perfectly.  The third installment in this charming series is called Princess Posey and the Next-Door Dog.  Posey’s family doesn’t have a pet, but she has to write about either a pet of her own or a pet that she hopes to have one day for Miss Lee’s classroom assignment.  So Posey is excited when a new neighbor moves in with a dog.  But Posey has a problem:  “She is secretly a little afraid of dogs.”  The dog next door is huge and has a very loud bark.  Posey decides she must face her fears after talking to her wise grandfather.  There is the perfect amount of tension as Posey meets the dog and she ends up helping the poor animal out of a predicament.  The story has a nice resolution and I enjoyed it very much.

The text of this early chapter book is generously sprinkled with lively black-and-white illustrations.  The short paragraphs and the age-appropriate story line should grab the attention of newly independent readers.

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Oliver’s Tree

July 23, 2014

918dGhz4x5LOliver’s Tree

By Kit Chase

Oliver the elephant and his friends Lulu and Charlie love to play outside. When they play a game of hide and seek, his smaller friends climb into trees to hide. Oliver can see them and he tries and tries to reach them, but he’s not made for climbing.

Oliver’s friends try to find him a good tree for climbing. They find a low tree for him, but it’s too small. The one with bigger branches is too tall. Oliver gets frustrated and decides to take a nap on an old stump and his friends come up with the perfect plan. This is a fun and sweet story about friendship and kindness, full of adorable illustrations.

Recommended for Ages 3-5

Nicole P. (Schimelpfenig)

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Half a Chance

July 8, 2014

Half a Chance CoverHalf a Chance

By Cynthia Lord

12-year-old Lucy loves photography and longs to have her talents noticed by her father, a famous nature photographer.  When the opportunity to enter a photography contest for young people arises, Lucy eagerly grabs it. Unfortunately, as Lucy discovers, there is one problem….her father is the contest judge which will probably make her ineligible.  However, with her father away for the summer on assignment shooting photographs in Arizona, Lucy decides to take this opportunity anyway and chronicle her summer at the lake in New Hampshire where they have recently moved.   Along with her new friend Nate, the boy from the cottage next door, Lucy captures photos of the family of loons on the lake, as well as, Nate’s family and their adventures kayaking and hiking the beautiful New Hampshire outdoors.  As Lucy comes to know Nate and his family, her camera unexpectedly reveals truths that his family doesn’t want to see – his beloved grandmother’s slow decline into Alzheimer’s.

The sweetness and honesty of Lucy’s captured moments on film emphasizes the importance of savoring every moment and enjoying it in the present – a lesson no one is ever too young to learn.

Recommended for grades 4 through 6.

Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

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The School For Good and Evil

July 4, 2014

91g5CWQ+J+L._SL1500_The School for Good and Evil

By Sonan Chainani

I never liked the black and white generalizations for ‘good’ and ‘evil’, so the author made several points to ‘not judge a book by its cover’ and look deeper into the individual characters. This is a book makes YOU, the reader, come to the conclusion on the true meaning of good (friendship, loyalty, etc) and evil (selfishness, vanity, etc). This book has romance, jokes, lessons, imaginary worlds, and adventure. I enjoyed the jokes, laughed at the characters, and cheered on for the ‘villain(s)’.

Recommended for preteens and teenagers (10+) and for those who like books like Harry Potter.

Look out for part two in the series by Soman Chainani: A World Without Princes.

Dorothy S. (Schimelpfenig)

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Under the Egg

June 27, 2014

large_Under_the_Egg-copy[1]Under the Egg

by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Thirteen-year-old Theodora Tenpenny doesn’t have it easy. The sudden death of Jack, her beloved grandfather, has left Theo with less than $500.00 in the bank account and no chance of more money coming in, and Theo’s mother is well on her way to blowing it all on expensive teas. So Jack’s dying words to “look under the egg” and a mention of “treasure” spur Theo to discover the secret behind her museum security guard grandfather’s very first painting–an egg, which has been displayed above the mantle in their house as long as she can remember. Does she have a valuable long lost painting by a master on her hands? And if so, where on earth did it come from and how on earth did Jack get it?

With some help from a couple of new friends, Theo explores New York and delves into her grandfather’s past and the history of one of the most famous artists in the world.

Part mystery, part adventure, and part tale of friendship and family, art and history, Under the Egg is well worth a read for fans of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler!

Reviewed by: Lara (Haggard Library)


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The Great Day

June 24, 2014

3-5years2The Great Day

By Taro Gomi

The boy is awake first, then the alarm, then the dog, but everyone else is asleep. He’s the first to eat and dress and brush his teeth. Follow his great day as he’s the first to do many things, both good and bad. Though he’s the first to get into a fight, he’s also the first to make up with his friend. Because his day is so busy, he’s also the first to go home and get tired.

Originally published in Japan in 1984, this is the first time The Great Day has been printed in America. Using simple language and vibrant illustrations, Taro Gomi captures the action and excitement found in young children.

Recommended for ages 3-5.

Nicki P.  (Schimelpfenig)

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The Miniature World of Marvin & James

June 13, 2014

The Miniature World of Marvin & James written by Elise Broach and illustrated by Kelly Murphy

This beginning chapter book (with really large text size and plenty of sepia-toned drawings) is quirkily charming and perfect for a reader just starting chapter books.

It features characters from the author’s novel, Masterpiece, which I have not read, so this was my first introduction to the boy James and his best-buddy beetle named Marvin. In this story, James goes away for a week so Marvin is forced to play with beetle cousin, Elaine. Their adventure inside a pencil sharpener where they frolic in pencil shavings and nearly get caught, is great fun!

This is the first in a new series.  I am looking forward to reading more.

If you think you or your child would like this book, leave a message in the comments section below for a chance to win a free, hardback copy of the book!  One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 20, 2014.

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A Snicker of Magic

June 5, 2014

A Snicker of Magic Cover

A Snicker of Magic

By Natalie Lloyd

Do you have a favorite special collection?  12-year-old Felicity Pickle does.  But it’s not a typical collection. Not coins, not baseball cards, not stamps or even cute stuffed animals.  Felicity Pickle collects words – not just any words but magical words. These are words that she can see everywhere…on people, in the trees, in the air, even in food.  The words she sees sparkle and curl and dance through the air. They can be polka dotted and even have wings! They can hover over family, friends and even strangers.  Some are real words and others are imaginary but Felicity collects them all in her little blue book.

Felicity, her mother and sister are wanderers.  They move from place to place until her mother gets the “itch” to move on. Felicity and her sister hate moving all the time since they never stay long enough in one place to make friends. This changes for the better, however, when their van rolls into Midnight Gulch, Tennessee.  Midnight Gulch feels like home…not just because their mother grew up there but because they finally have family and new friends.  This is a town that used to be “magical”, much like Felicity. It’s residents had “magic in their veins”. Unfortunately, a curse caused by 2 dueling magician brothers drove the magic away leaving only “a snicker of magic” behind.  What’s a “snicker of magic”?  According to Jonah (Felicity’s new best friend and my favorite character!), it’s “magic that’s leftover”. It’s wonderful and happy magic – magic that can be found in such places as an ice cream flavor that will enable you to remember the memories and emotions of the past.

A Snicker of Magic is an example of storytelling at its best.  It is packed with quirky and loveable characters with remarkable stories, unusual language and, and heartfelt emotions.  It is a tale of wonder and hope and the magic that can be found in the human heart.  It is hard to believe that this is the author’s first novel!  I highly recommend it to students in grades 4 through 6 especially to fans of Savvy by Ingrid Law.


Reviewed by Connie (Parr Library)

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