Sunday, January 31, 2010

Book Review-Autumn Winifred Oliver Does Things Different by Kristin O'Donnell Tubb

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Released October 14th, 2008
224 pages
5 stars

AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER prides herself on doing things her way. But she meets her match when she, her mama, and her pin-curled older sis, Katie, move in with her cantankerous Gramps. The Oliver gals were supposed to join Pop in Knoxville for some big-city living, but Gramps’s recent sick spell convinced Mama to stay put in Cades Cove, a place of swishy meadows and shady hollers that lies on the crest of the Great Smoky Mountains.

And it’s not like there’s nothing going on in the Cove. Folks are all aflutter about turning their land into a national park, and Autumn’s not sure what to think. Loggers like Pop need jobs, but if things keep going at the current rate, the forests will soon be chopped to bits. And Gramps seems to think there’s some serious tourist money to be made. Looks like something different is definitely in order. . . .

This book won my heart at being a historical novel, set in the mid 1920's in a real mountain town. I adored this story about Autumn Winifred Oliver. She is a sassy, down to earth, fun loving, do what ever she can to save her town kind of girl. She had me laughing out loud at her one liners and the way her story is told. This story is set in the small town of Cades Cove, TN in the Appalachian Mountains. It's a story about how those living in Cades Cove saw their tiny home town become part of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Kristin's brilliant writing allows us to see the story through the eyes of 11 yr old Autumn, who adores the beautiful mountain side settlement she's grown up in. She's torn between living there and wanting to move with her Mama and sister, Katie to live with their Dad in Knoxville. Her mama decides to stay in Cades Cove longer to take care of her Grandpa, who is another memorable character in this story.

Job's are scarce and when the government comes in and offers the town a better way of life, they reluctantly take it, not knowing what the real intent is. Now torn between helping save her tiny, wilderness town or moving to the big city to be with her daddy, we see how the events of this historical park took place.

This story is full of a lot of humor as Autumn is the type of girl who floats down a flooded river in an empty coffin, scares off mean boys, steals dynamite from the government and says whats on her mind, and sometimes it's done in the most humorous of ways.

I found myself laughing out loud numerous times and Autumn has definitely become one of my favorite heroines. This is a must read for any middle school teacher who are wanting to treat their students to a great story about Appalachian charm and folklore, and what it was like living in a tiny back woods town in the mid 1920's. Not to mention what it's like for the people of Cades Cove learning their town is about to become of a National Park. Readers will be left feeling like they stepped back in time and were actually there.

It's a witty, sassy, fun and a historical read all wrapped up in one book.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Review-100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

Published by Random House Kids
Released December 26th, 2007
3.5 stars

Twelve-year-old Henry York wakes up one night to find bits of plaster in his hair. Two knobs have broken through the wall above his bed and one of them is slowly turning . . .Henry scrapes the plaster off the wall and discovers cupboards of all different sizes and shapes. Through one he can hear the sound of falling rain. Through another he sees a glowing room–with a man pacing back and forth! Henry soon understands that these are not just cupboards, but portals to other worlds.
100 Cupboards is the first book of a new fantasy adventure, written in the best world-hopping tradition and reinvented in N. D. Wilson’s inimitable style.

A wonderful fantasy story that follows the journey of Henry, who's sent to live with his Aunt and Uncle in KS after his parents go missing. While there, Henry discovers 100 cupboards hidden behind the plaster in his attic bedroom. It was not an accident that the thumping on the other side of the cupboards lead him to find what lurks behind them.

With the help of his cousin Harriet, they set out to find out what the cupboards lead to. Curiosity comes at a cost, and soon Henry is not only trying to find his lost cousin in the cupboards, but he needs to re-capture the witch that escapes and is out to destroy his family.

While on this journey, he finds journals and a key his Grandfather left behind for Henry, knowing Henry would be the one to unlock the mystery of the cupboards. While doing so, Henry learns that life as he knew it, isn't at all what it seemed. Henry is about to take a journey into finding out who's been looking for him and who is true identify really is.

This was a good read and one I give 3.5 stars. I'm eager to read the rest of the series and see what other worlds and places in time the cupboards will take Henry too.

**We're excited to be bringing you reviews for the whole series over the next few days. Come Feb. 8th, we'll be hosting N.D. Wilson's blog tour for The Chestnut King, sponsored by Random House Kids. Stay tuned to our Mundie Moms Blog and our blog here for more information.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review- When The Moon Is Full: A Lunar Year by Penny Pollock

Illustrated by Mary Azarian
Published by Little Brown Young Readers
Released September 2001

This lunar guide describes the folkloric names of twelve moons according to Native American tradition and showcases their defining characteristics in short verse and beautifully detailed hand-colored woodcuts. A question-and-answer section includes information about the moon's surface, an explanation of a lunar eclipse, and the true meaning of a blue moon.
(taken from goodreads)

We love seeing the moon at night and reading stories about the moon. This book has been a great edition to our library of books. This is a great story about the Native American names for the moon. It's full of rich poetry explaining how the moon received it's name each month. It's been a great addition for preschool and teaching the kids about the moon. I love the love the great questions and answered at the end of the story. The illustrations are great.
5 stars

Book Review-Great Moon Stories for Bed Time Reading

This week we found some great Moon Books at our local library *thank you to the Support your Local Library Challenge we're doing*

When the Moon Is High by Alice Schertle
Illustrated by Julia Noonan
Published by HarperCollins
Released April 2003
Daddy's arms are warm and wide. Someone snuggles up inside to watch the moon wrap silver light around the wide and wakeful night. Baby can't sleep tonight, and Daddy has a plan to relax them both: a nice moonlit walk. But it's not just baby and Daddy who are out and about. The night has an entire cast of friendly animals that hoot, tussle, and snoop when the moon is high. Alice Schertle's wonderful guess-who poem is matched perfectly with Julia Noonan's dreamy illustrations in this soothing bedtime promenade. (taken from goodreads)

This is an adorable bedtime story, full of amazing illustrations. Both my kids and I have loved reading this book each night before bed. My kids enjoy seeing what the animals do at night as the daddy in the story takes his little one for a walk by moon light when the baby can't sleep.
5 stars

When Moon Fell Down By Linda Smith
Illustrated by Kathryn Brown
Published by HarperCollins
Released May 2001

Moon fell down one night...
Fell upon a farmer's lawn,
Rolled about in sheer delight
On fields he'd only shined upon.

When Moon falls down one night, he and an adventure-minded cow roan up hills and down, wander through city streets, and finally return back home at dawn. A joyous and lyrical romp, this picture book captures the magic and wonder of seeing familiar things in a whole new way. (taken from goodreads)

This is one book my children have loved reading. It's full of great rhyming a cute bed time story about the night moon feel down and how he and the farmers cow when out around town. It gets some cute laughs from my little ones.
4 stars

Scholastic's Book Fairs

I grew up LOVING the Scholastic Book Fairs and I'm looking forward for when my kids start bringing home fliers for them. Well, Scholastic posted on the site today what it takes to pick the right books for the book fairs.
"Picking the perfect book to take home from the Scholastic Book Fair is a big decision for many kids, and I treated it seriously. It would take me forever to decide which books would be MINE(!) and which I had to put back for next time...But, little did my 9-year-old self know how much work and time the Book Selection committee puts into deciding each and every book that may end up at a Scholastic Book Fair. To give you a better idea, Teryl McLane from Scholastic Book Fairs guest posts on the intricate process of how books are selected for Book Fairs."
You can read more here:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review-Where the Wild Things Are

Pub. Date: November 1988
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardcover, 48pp
Age Range: For infants or children in preschool
ISBN-13: 9780060254926
Edition Number: 25
Edition Description: 25th Anniversary Edition

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble

Max is sent to bed without supper and imagines sailing away to the land of Wild Things,where he is made king.

From Wikipedia
Where the Wild Things Are is a 1963 children's picture book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, originally published by Harper & Row. The book has been adapted into other media several times, including an animated short, an opera, and, in 2009, a live-action feature film adaptation and video game. According to HarperCollins, the book has sold over 19 million copies worldwide as of 2008.

My son brought this home from preschool a couple of years ago, a gift from his teacher. he would curl up in their lap and have them read the story of Max and his forest over and over again. Let the Wild Rumpus start!
I have since fallen in love with all of the new items they released with the movie, the plush dolls and the new editions. This book written, 25 years ago, is a must have for any mother of toddlers. It's kid tested and mother approved at our house! Five stars...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Reviews--Otis by Loren Long

published September 22nd 2009 by Philomel

details Hardcover, 40 pages

isbn 0399252487

5 Stars

From Goodreads..." New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children's classic.

Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.

But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day. In a wonderful new palette, and in the tradition of classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Story of Ferdinand, Loren Long has crafted an unforgettable new story—and character—celebrating the power of friendship and perseverance. "

I picked up Otis a couple of weeks ago at Barnes and Noble because I have a special spot in my heart for anything red and retro. Not to mention I frequently photograph tractors near my home. The illustrations are priceless and the story is heart warming. It teaches the importance of special friends. Sometimes old is in fact better than new. Five out of five stars for this soon to be classic!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Reviews-The Completely Fantastical Edition - Spiderwick Chronicles Series

By: Holly Black & Tony diTerlizzi
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Released: October 2009
608 pages
Ages 8-12
5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: After finding a mysterious, handmade field guide in the attic of the ramshackle old mansion they've just moved into, Jared; his twin brother, Simon; and their older sister, Mallory, discover that there's a magical and often capricious world existing parallel to our own — the world of faerie. Now their entire New York Times bestselling adventure is available in one exquisite volume. Featuring all five books in the original Spiderwick Chronicles series, this handsome edition also includes three recently unearthed bonus chapters; an exclusive "making of" section filled with early sketches of characters like the Grace kids, Thimbletack, and Hogsqueal; and, as a special added bonus, an all-star gallery where other popular artists put their spin on the characters and creatures that populate the world of Spiderwick. Fans and novices alike will treasure this handy, all-in-one introduction to the world of Spiderwick!

I discovered this series three years ago when my son was in Second Grade and I immediately fell in love with it. The original five books : The Field Guide; The Seeing Stone; Lucinda's Secret; The Ironwood Tree and The Wrath of Mulgarath are now packaged in one edition.

The stories follow the Grace children through a series of adventures which were triggered when they moved into an old, decaying house with their mother after their father's recent departure. Like many great children's fantasy novels involving siblings, Spiderwick won't disappoint in its characterizations. The older sister, Mallory, is annoyed with her younger twin brothers, but is also willing to assist them. The two twins, Jared and Simon, have very different personalities but work together when necessary.

Their lives seem fairly ordinary until unexplained things begin to happen. Things that Jared gets blamed for doing. Looking for explanations for the occurrences, Jared starts to explore the old house and he soon discovers a hidden room. Within this room is a piece of parchment and a journal mysteriously titled "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You".

As strange things continue to occur, the reader is introduced to faeries, boggarts and brownies. And by no means are these ordinary fantastical creatures seen on children's TV shows. They are magical, naughty and dangerous.

If your children like to explore magical worlds and enjoy delicate, detailed illustrations, please check out this wonderful compilation of all five original Spiderwick books. When you are done and are ready for more, you can move onto the Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles series. The last book in that series, the Wyrm King, was released in September 2009.

Book Review-Hannah (Daughters of the Sea #1) by Kathryn Lasky

Published by Scholastic
September 1, 2009
310 pages
2 stars

Daughters of the Sea tells the story of 3 mermaid sisters who are separated at birth by a storm and go on to lead three very different lives. Book 1 is about Hannah, who spent her early days in an orphanage and is now a scullery maid in the house of rich, powerful family. She is irresistibly drawn to the sea and through a series of accidents and encounters discovers her true identity. Hannah realizes that she must keep the truth a secret but she also knows that soon she will have to make the choice - to be a creature of the land or the sea. (from

I received this book to review from Scholastic, and while it was wholesome and a good clean read, I found that there were too many characters that got developed too late in the book. Hannah had a great story that was lost with the development of the other characters, some of whom didn't play a huge role in her story. I felt that the middle of the book should have spent more time in developing Hannah's story, instead of towards the very end of the book.

The middle of the book talked about or had a lot about the family with whom she lived at the early turn of the century. While you get a good understanding of what it was like to be a servant to a very wealthy Boston family at that time, you got very little of the changes that Hannah was going through and she discovers who is she and what she's becoming.

I liked Hannah a lot. She's a great character who like many girls wants to find her place in the world, but stay true to herself and her quest to finding out what the feelings and yearnings she has for the sea are about.

I think this is definitely more for pre-teen girls than teen girls.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Book Review- 20th Century Children's Treasury: PIcture Books and Stories to Read Aloud by Janet Schulman

Published by Knopf Books For Young Readers, September, 1998
320 Pages
5 stars

I found this awesome book a couple weeks ago at a book store for $1! I could NOT pass this amazing deal up. This book is chalked full of all sorts of amazing books. It's taken a couple of weeks to read this with my kids, but at over 300 pages, it's been well worth it.

There's so many stories I knew as a child and ones I've never heard off. There's so many classic stories in here that both my children and I have loved reading this book and will continue to read from over and over again.

Here's a list of the books with in this books:
* Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
* Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
* Swimmy by Leo Lionni
* A Chair For My Mother by Vera B Williams
* Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
* The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
* The Letter by Arnold Lobel
* Freight Train by Donald Crews
* Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
* A Million Fish..More or Less by Patricia C. McKissack
* A Boy, A Dog and A Frog by Mercer Mayer
* Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
* Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
* Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
* Curious George by H.A. Rey
* I Hear, I See, and I Touch by Helen Oxenbury
* Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry Allard
* Titch by Pat Hutchins
* Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
* The Cat Club by Esther Averill
* Sylvester and The Magic Pebble by William Steig
* Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
* Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
* Stevie by John Steptoe
* The Tub People by Pam Conrad
* In Which Pooh Goes Visiting... By A.A. Milne
* Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
* The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka
* The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
* The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain
* The Elves in the Shelves by Joan Aiken
* Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
* Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
* D.W. The Picky Eater by Marc Brown
* Petunia by Roger Duvoisin
* First Tomato by Rosemary Wells
* Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
* I Am A Bunny by Ole Risom
* Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
* Whose Mouse Are You? by Robert Klaus
* Owen by Kevin Henkes
* The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
* The Sneetches by Dr Seuss
* The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman

So many amazing stories in one big treasury. I highly recommend this book.

Book Review- In Too Deep (39 Clues Book, # 6) by Jude Watson

Published by Scholastic
November 1, 2009
4.5 stars

A hint from their parents’ past puts Amy and Dan on the trail of secrets their grandmother Grace would NEVER have wanted them to know. Awful memories begin to crowd in on Amy, just as her enemies circle closer. How far would she go to protect Dan? How much of a Cahill is she prepared to be? Perhaps Grace was right – some secrets are better left buried
(taken from

This is my first time reading any book in the 39 Clues series, and yet in reading book 6 I found myself understanding the main story line. This was a great read in my opinion as Amy and Dan found out what happened to their parents and who did it as they continued to look for the 39 clues in Australia. They'll find the some of the world's poisonous snakes and spiders are half their worries.

Through the course of the book they learn that someone who they thought couldn't be trusted, in the end was someone who saved their lives at possibly the cost of their own. They are reunited with a long time family friend as they continue to search for which branch of the family they belong to. As they are reunited and keep digging for clues, they began to feel closer to the parents and continue to unravel the clues their parents left behind on their travels to Australia a few years before.

This book was full of twists and turns and kept me glued to the pages until the end. I really liked that a few historical people were apart of the story like Darwin, Mark Twain and Amelia Earhart. They tied in perfectly to the family branches and the ravel of clues that everyone is trying to solve. I really liked that despite the fact I haven't read the other books yet, I didn't feel lost at all. To me that's amazing thing when you have a series of books. This was well written and I'm looking forward to reading the next book when it comes out in Feb.

2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge

This challenge is being hosted by J Kaye's Book Blog. You can read more about the challenge and sign up for it at the link below.

We're going for the Mini Me challenge, 25 books.

I know that may seem small, but most of our Admin have a huge selection of books in our personal libraries at home. Not that we don't go to the library, or that we don't support our local libraries, as we do. This will help us go more often. :)

Good to luck everyone and we'll be posting our books here as we continue to check them out.

*Jan. 26th*I know this will be a surprise to some, but I am thrilled that I made it to the library this week. I'm excited we're apart of this challenge.
I don't have anything against libraries, in-fact I think they're amazing and I grew up going to the library. I lost touch w/ the library as I've grown my own personal library of books at home. The library near me is in need of a bigger selection. Maybe I can help their selection grow. :)

Checked Out and Read (Kids)
*When the Moon Rises by Alice Schertle
*When Moon Fell Down by Linda Smith
*Eating The Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
*Someone Says by Carole Lexa Schaefer
* Baseball Hour by Carol Nevius
*Skippy Jones Lost In Space by Judy Schachner

*Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Stolarz
* Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Lightning Thief (film edition)

This new paperback, film edition for Percy Jackson is on book shelves now. It was released on Jan. 5th and is $7.99 list price.
To find out more about it, please visit here:
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~