Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Fish in a Tree

April 17, 2015

Fish in a treeFish in a Tree

By: Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Sixth-grader Ally Nickerson has passed through seven schools in seven years and has hidden a deep, dark secret at each one. She can’t read and to cover up the shame she feels, she acts out and winds up in the principal’s office at each school. However, at Ally’s current school a long-term substitute, Mr. Daniels, sees through Ally’s charade. He tells Ally that he suspects she has dyslexia and provides tools to help Ally overcome her learning disability. Ally is also dealing with a father who is deployed in the Middle East and she struggles to make friends at her new school. The supporting cast of quirky characters who are dealing with their own problems round out the story and add interest beyond the focus on dyslexia. This is a touching story that pays tribute to teachers that go the extra mile for their students. Fans of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder may enjoy this title.

Fish in a Tree is Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s second middle-grade novel. Her first novel, One for the Murphys was published in 2012. Hunt is an expert at exploring themes of family and friendship. I hope she continues to write middle-grade books because I plan to read everything she writes.

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Hey Duck and Just a Duck!

April 16, 2015

I couldn’t resist writing about these two books written and illustrated by Carin Bramsen,  Hey Duck and Just a Duck! The  illustrations are large and  beautiful and so realistic you just want to reach out and touch each fuzzy animal.  Speaking of animals we meet duck and cat.  Duck is an extremely friendly fellow and he is sure he has found a new friend, another duck.  He keeps asking the duck why is tail is so long?  Why doesn’t he like to swim in water?  Why doesn’t he quack?  You might be able to guess that his new friend is a cat.  Cat gets quite annoyed at this pesky duck but eventually responds to duck, “My sense of ME has gone AMUCK!” and begins to quack just like duck.  They form a bond through this adventure and their friendship is sealed.


Just a Duck? the sequel begins with duck deciding to become a cat.  Even though both cat and duck realize he looks nothing like a cat, duck is sure he can grow into a cat. Duck tries to walk like a cat, meow like a cat and act like a cat so you can imagine how silly this  duck is portrayed.  With considerable regret, duck has to come to the realization that he is just a duck!.

I enjoyed reading both of these books and the interactions between the duck and cat were both hilarious and enjoyable to read about.  These are great books for for our youngsters to enjoy with their parents or in a group setting.  These two books just bring a smile to your face.

Beverly (Davis)

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Roller Girl

April 13, 2015

roller girlRoller Girl

by Victoria Jamieson

Astrid’s mother loves to take Astrid and her best friend, Nicole, to museums, poetry readings, and even the opera. The girls couldn’t care less about these cultural evenings. Until, one night, Astrid’s mother surprises them by taking them to a roller derby. Astrid falls in love with the excitement, the boldness, and the culture of roller girls. She’s shocked when Nicole doesn’t want to sign up for the roller derby with her. Can Astrid survive the summer without her best friend? Will they still be the same once middle school starts?

Jamieson tells a great story about growing up. Change is hard to deal with sometimes, especially when you aren’t ready for it. However, Astrid learns how to stay true to herself and to her friends as she’s confronted with huge changes. This story is great for fans of Raina Telgemeier, Cece Bell’s El Deafo, and Zita the Spacegirl. Or, if you haven’t read those titles either, give them a try! They won’t disappoint!

Reviewed by Kate (Haggard)


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Nancy Knows

February 27, 2015

nancyNancy Knows

By Cybele Young

Nancy the elephant can remember all sorts of things, but she knows she’s forgetting something important! As she tries to remember, we can see all of the things she’s thinking about filling up her line art. To try and determine what she’s forgotten, she remembers things that she knows. All sorts of paper sculptures fill the elephant as she thinks about things that are similar, like the same shape or color, things that face one way, then another, things in neat rows and things that are a jumbled mess. Nancy helps the reader lean about many opposites in her quest to remember what she’s forgotten. When she finally stops thinking and lets her mind rest, the answer finally comes to her!

Nancy Knows is a precious book with lots of little details to offer. You and your little one will find yourselves examining each picture to see what all you can find in Nancy’s thoughts. Challenge your child to think of other opposites that Nancy has forgotten, like hot and cold, or high and low.

Recommended for ages 4-7.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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January 13, 2015

By Emily Arnold McCully

Strongheart is the true story of the world’s first movie star dog. He was a new breed of dog born in Germany during the World Wars, the German Shepard, used to help the police in apprehending criminals. When the war ended, Etzel von Oeringen was sent to America to be sold. Well trained and very determined, Etzel caught the eye of a movie director named Larry Trimble. The problem was, Etzel didn’t know how to be a dog! Before Larry could film Etzel for the movies, he had to teach his dog how to play.

When Etzel finally got in front of the cameras, he was incredible! He could look sad and happy and worried, something no other movie dog had done before. In all his films, Etzel was the hero, so Larry decided to start calling him Strongheart. This is a great book for any child who has an interest in dogs. They’ll learn some fun facts about the early years of the movie, and how a German Shepard became the very first movie star dog.

Recommended for ages 5-9.

Nicki P.

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Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

December 16, 2014

Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen

Sam and Dave are on a mission to dig a hole in search of something spectacular.  As they try to figure out the best strategy, the reader (and the knowing dog) see the big gems that the pair are missing.  When they fall asleep and free-fall through the deeper hole, they end up falling from above, back to where they were before…or is it?  With sepia-toned illustrations, spare text and the reader in the know, children will enjoy the surprise ending.

This story reminded of that child-like belief that you can dig a hole to China, and the illustrations brought to mind that classic, A Hole is to Dig by Ruth Krauss.  Enjoy!



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Bree Finds a Friend

November 25, 2014

Bree Finds a Friend CoverBree Finds a Friend

By Mike Huber




Friends were playing together during recess, but Bree was all alone. She pretends to plant blueberries while digging in the dirt.  Her discovery of a worm brings another student over to investigate. Will they become friends? Read this adorable picture book with your little one to find out. Both the sweet story and the charming illustrations make this a great read aloud for preschools as well as home settings. Happy reading!

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Zeraffa Giraffa

November 18, 2014

zeraffa giraffaZeraffa Giraffa

By Dianne Hofmeyr

Illustrated by Jane Ray

Zeraffa the giraffe was caught in Africa. No taller than the tallest hunter, she was just a baby. When she was presented to the Pasha, he was delighted. He decided that she would be the perfect gift for his friend, the king of France. Zeraffa was given to a boy named Atir, who would care for her on the long journey. They first took a small boat up the Nile River, then a bigger boat across the Mediterranean Sea, and then Atir and Zeraffa walked the great distance to the beautiful city of Paris!

Through the whole journey, Zeraffa keeps growing, and growing, and growing! By the time they reach the King, she’s taller than any animal the French have ever seen. They loved her right away! Soon, French ladies were styling their wigs to be as tall as they could and they decorated their homes with the pattern on Zeraffa’s fur. The French people made cookies in the shape of giraffes and trimmed their bushes to look like her. But the one who loved her most of all was the King’s granddaughter.

Zeraffa Giraffa is a beautiful book about a giraffe’s great journey. The soft illustrations will capture the reader’s imagination and transport them to a time long ago when no one had ever seen a giraffe in Paris.

Recommended for ages: 6-10

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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Tyrannosaurus Wrecks!

October 30, 2014

tyrannTyrannosaurus Wrecks!

By Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

All of the other dinosaurs in kindergarten are playing so nicely together. Aptosaurus colors, Pteranodon inspects, Velociraptor glitters, but Tyrannosaurus wrecks all their hard work! He’s not very good at playing with any of the other dinosaurs, knocking over their blocks and making a mess of craft time. It’s not a surprise that none of the other dinosaurs want to play with him, but it leave Tyrannosaurus feeling lonely and sad. Can he learn to fix instead of wreck and clean up instead of make a mess?

Like many other books for this pre-school age, Tyrannosaurus Wrecks! can help children understand that it’s better to be nice when playing with others. With vivid pictures and an adorable, bright orange Tyrannosaurus, it’s easy to have fun with this book. Some of the dinosaur names are challenging, but there’s a guide in the front of the book to help you out!

Recommended for ages 3-6.

Nicki P.

Schimelpfenig Library

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October 22, 2014

wednesdayAn educational and clever book for young readers written by Anne Bertier called Wednesday.   We meet Little Round and Big Square who get together every Wednesday to play their favorite game, turning into different objects.  They change into butterflies, flowers and mushrooms until Big Square begins to show off.   The nerve of Big Square to turn himself into objects that I cannot create  thought Little Round.  He became quite angry.  Big Square and Little Round decided to work together and create an array of shapes they both could enjoy until they both become hungry.  You’ll never guess what their new favorite shape was,  an ice cream cone, yum, yum.

With simple primary colors and different shapes this book can be enjoyed by young children everywhere.  You will enjoy watching all the unique shapes that Big Square and Little Round create as well as guessing what shapes they are using.  This book also gives a parent or caregiver an opportunity to discuss friendship, anger and jealousy with your child.  The beginning steps in learning to accept the differences in each other as well as finding a solution to your problem.

Bev (Davis)

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