Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review-The Tree That Time Built

A Celebration of Nature, Science and Imagination
Selected by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston
Published by SourceBooks Jabberywocky
Released in 2009
4 stars

A poetry celebration of nature, science, the environment, and the wonder of it all, from the Children's Poet Laureate

The Tree That Time Built is a moving anthology of more than 100 poems celebrating the wonders of the natural world and encouraging environmental awareness. With a focus on the outdoors, this collection taps into today's environmental movement and also presents wonders of nature and science, most especially Darwin's theory of evolution, from which this collection gains its name. Included is an exclusive audio CD of many of the poets reading their own work.

Including dynamic introductions to nine sections of poems, plus brief introductions to many individual poems, this collection reaches out to young people and stimulates their innate curiosity and idealism. This rich collection showcases a wide range of poets.

If you are a nature, science and poetry lover, than this is a must have for your book collection. This Cybils Award Nominee for Poetry book includes works that talk about the world around us. It leaves the reader understanding how the naturally world around us works and makes you want to leave the world a better place than how you found it.

I really enjoyed reading this book, as it includes some of my favorite poets. Not only that, this is a great educational book to have for any homeschooler, teacher and parent to have on hand. The work that has been compiled is amazing. There's a CD that features 18 poets reading their work, as well as a Glossary for each of the subjects covered in the book and a section about each of the poets from the 1200's to modern day. Poets like William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Robert Frost, Jelaluddin Rumi and more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Book Review-The Viper's Nest Book #7 in the 39 Clues Series by Peter Lerangis

Published by Scholastic
Released February 1, 2010
5 Stars

Shaken by a shocking loss, Amy and Dan flee to an exotic land and trace the footsteps of their most formidable ancestor yet: a military leader of mythic proportions. But just as the siblings begin to master the art of ancient warfare, they confront a dangerous enemy - the truth. With the stakes higher than ever, Amy and Dan uncover a devastating secret about the Cahill family that changes everything. (good reads)

I have completely fallen in love with this series. Not only is this a great series for children ages 8 and up, but it's a great read for adults and especially parents who want to read something full of adventure with their children.

Book 7 picks up exactly where book 6 ends. Amy and Dan are in a rest against time to find the next clue, and what they find along with that clue will change everything about them. Not only do they find out more about some of the family branches and some well known people who belong to them, but they find out more about their Grandmother and in so doing, they find the most important clue of all, which family branch they belong to.

Filled with adventure, danger and some great twists, this story kept my attention as I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I love that Peter Lerangis' writing kept me intrigued with the characters, as I kept trying to figure out what some of their motives were and which family branch they worked for. I like that some of the characters still have a bit of mystery to them. While I adore Nellie, I can't help but think there's something about her that hasn't been revealed yet. I like that Amy and Dan still seem to be a little specious of her as well. Not everyone is who they seem to be, and that's one of the many twists that keep me glued to the series.

The twists and turns worked well in this story, as The Viper's Nest continues in the same writing style that has made The 39 Clues such a popular series. If you loved In Too Deep, Book #6, then you'll love reading The Viper's Nest. More clues are found, more answers are obtained, and new questions are asked. I'm eagerly awaiting book #8 to find out what happens next.

To find out more about the clues from the series.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Book Review - Ladybug Girl by David Soman & Jacky Davis

Published by Penguin Group (USA)
Publishing Date- March 2009
40 pages
Age Range - Preschool years

Synopsis -(from publisher) Lulu’s older brother says she is too little to play with him. Her mama and papa are busy too, so Lulu has to make her own fun. This is a situation for Ladybug Girl!

Ladybug Girl saves ants in distress, jumps through shark-infested puddles, and even skips along the great dark twisty tree trunk—all by herself. It doesn’t matter what her brother says, Ladybug Girl is definitely not too little!

In this sweet and cheerful story by husband and wife team Jacky Davis and David Soman, one not-so-little girl discovers how to make some fun that is just her size, right in her own backyard.

My four-year-old received this as a Christmas gift and not a day has gone by that we haven't read Ladybug Girl. It's perfect for the preschool age range and for feisty little girls with older brothers who do not have time to play with their younger sisters.

Ladybug Girl will teach preschoolers to use their independence and imagination to create their own fun. Lulu's superhero approach to investigating her own backyard is something every preschooler and parent will welcome. In fact, my own daughter has been known to shout a phrase from the book before she accomplishes a task, "I can help you! I am Ladybug Girl!" The prose follows the colorful, beautifully drawn illustrations making it easy to point out sight words and sound out letters while you read together.

On Penguin Group's site is a wonderful activity book you can print up that will give you a few more Ladybug Girl minutes of fun! Click here to find the downloadable activity kit.

I just discovered that a sequel has been published and I will definitely pick it up. Ladybug Girl and Bumblee Boy promises to be another sure hit with my preschooler!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Scholastic Reveals the cover of Mocking Jay, the 3rd book in the Hunger Games Series

This is so exciting. Scholastic has unveiled the cover in the third book in The Hunger Games series.
Scholastic shares 5 things with The Hunger Games fans that will be in the book:
(We LOVE their sense of humor!)
  • Panem is not shaken up when District 9 is nominated for a best picture Oscar.
  • At no point does President Snow utter the line, “This is Snowmageddon, baby.”
  • Despite internet rumors to the contrary, it is not revealed that Cinna has been secretly designing outfits for a Capitol operative known as “Lady GaGa.”
  • All rumors of a crossover appearance by Geronimo Stilton are false.
  • In a tough editorial call, we decided not to have Katniss win the Hunger Games…only to be interrupted by Kanye West.
  • You can visit Scholastic here for more information-
    Don't forget to pre-order it! It will be out August 24th, 2010

    Monday, February 8, 2010

    Book Review-Purplicious by Victoria Kann

    Product Details
    Reading level: Ages 4-8
    Hardcover: 40 pages
    Publisher: HarperCollins (October 16, 2007)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0061244058
    5 stars

    Product Description
    It's purple Pinkalicious!

    Pinkalicious loves the color pink, but all the girls at school like black. They tease her, saying that pink stinks and pink is for babies. But Pinkalicious doesn't think so…that is, until her friends stop playing with her. Now Pinkalicious has a case of the blues. But could she ever turn her back on her favorite color?

    In the follow-up to the bestselling Pinkalicious, a young girl remains true to herself and discovers that pink isn't only a pretty color, but also a powerful one.

    About the Author
    Victoria Kann's award-winning artwork has graced the covers and pages of many magazines, newspapers, and books. She is the illustrator and coauthor with Elizabeth Kann of Pinkalicious and Purplicious, which were both New York Times bestsellers. They also wrote Pinkalicious: The Musical, which premiered in New York City to sold-out audiences. Victoria teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Recently she built a tree house for her Princess Pinkerbelles. She often hears galloping in the house and wonders if it's Goldilicious or just her Pinkerbelles.

    The first book we read by Victoria Kann was the prequel, "Pinkaliacious." When we saw a new Purple sister edition in the series, we scooped it right up at our school book fair. The cover has raised glitter lettering and the inside treats readers to a tale about true friendship and fitting in. It's okay not to love black! Popularity and confroming to the crowd does not = happiness. Be who you are and explore new things. My girls LOVE this book and we gave it 5 stars!

    Blog Tour: N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboard Series + 100 Cupboard Series Give Away!

    We are very excited to be kicking off N.D. Wilson's 100 Cupboard Series Blog Tour, sponsored by Random House Kids. We have really enjoyed this amazing series and highly recommend it.

    There are three books in the 100 Cupboard series, 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire and The Chest King. Here's what awaits you in each book:
    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.

    Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor. (taken from good reads).

    When Henry York found 99 cupboards hidden behind his bedroom wall, he never dreamed they were doors to entirely new worlds! Unfortunately, Henry’s discovery freed an ancient, undying witch, whose hunger for power would destroy every world connected to the cupboards—and every person whom Henry loves. Henry must seek out the legendary Chestnut King for help. Everything has a price, however, and the Chestnut King’s desire may be as dangerous as the witch herself.

    N. D. Wilson concludes a remarkable, worlds-spanning journey that began with one boy and one hundred avenues to adventure. (take from goodreads)

    Just for our blog, N.D. Wilson has revealed what lies behind one of the 100 Cupboards. In the series Henry finds his Grandfather's journal, which reveals some of the cupboard secrets. Here's a secret about one of the cupboards that you won't find in the books-

    Notes on the Recent Explorings of Richard Hutchins

    This notebook belongs to Richard Hutchins. If you find it, please return to Richard Hutchins (currently living in the seaport of Hylfing). Even though it is old and belonged to someone else first, I discovered it beneath some floorboards, and it is mine now. Do not read it. If you took it out of my pocket because you found a dead boy and you were wondering who he was; now you know that my name was Richard Hutchins. I am the dead boy. Please notify Anastasia Willis, daughter of Francis and Dorothy Willis, (currently living in the seaport of Hylfing) that I have died. And give her this notebook. Especially please do not read this next part, just a little ways down, which begins with the word ANASTASIA and ends with the word DEAD.

    (Extra Note: If you have never heard of the seaport of Hylfing, that is probably because I have died in the wrong world. To me, worlds are mere chalk squares in a scotch-hop. I now venture to hop them. Possibly to my demise. I’m sorry that my body should be a burden to you. A shallow grave and short prayer is all I ask.)

    Anastasia: You were wrong about me. I can be brave. I have been brave many times. I have faced terrors and enemies and demeaning comments. I have been stabbed (and if my memory serves, you haven’t). Perhaps I seemed weak when we first met. I was weak then, especially compared to the likes of Henry York and Ezekiel Johnson. But I was also young. Now, I am thirteen. Nearly. Definitely (if I die) by the time you read this. And I am unafraid. I have returned to the lonely Kansas house. I have returned to the attic. I have faced the doors. I have faced death. I might even be dead. If I am, and you’re reading this, then you can have everything. Even my three best wool socks (I haven’t had time to finish knitting the fourth). They’re yours Anastasia. Just like I am. Or was. I did all this to show you my courage. Please don’t feel badly just because I’m dead.

    Exploration #1

    The first cupboard I have chosen to test is on the right side of the wall, four up from the floor. In this notebook (which I did not steal—I tried to give it to Henry, but he didn’t want it) there is a short description of the door. (Anastasia, I think your great-grandfather wrote it.)

    #31. Collected 1902, Fourth Britannic Tour. Single-pull drawer, oak and sterling, lateral grain. First report: Drunkard in The Swallowed Hog (London Bridge) complaining of a drawer that held weeping, laughter, voices, and even torchlight. Confirmed and purchased. Further observation: drawer cycles in activity. Progression repeats nightly, but appears dormant in between. Activity begins with voices, the low rumblings of a crowd. Ends with distant shouting and applause.

    Anastasia, I think your grandfather wrote this next part later. The handwriting is different. (And he put a combination in the margin, too.)

    [Partition/Globe, H-let/True pas? Alt?]

    I don't know what he meant by that, but no matter. The time has come for adventuring. I will now attempt to enter the cupboard. (Goodbye. Perhaps forever.)

    Recently we were able to have a Q&A with N.D. Wilson about his series-

    1) We have some followers who are new to the series, could you please tell us what inspired the 100 Cupboards series?

    There are a couple different answers to this question, and all of them are true. There’s a little book called The Secret Commonwealth by Robert Kirk, and an appendix to Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott. Both of those contributed their inspiration (especially influencing how I handled magic and faeries and seventh sons). On the other hand, I could honestly tell you that 100 Cupboards was inspired by a lifetime of daydreaming in the wheat fields of Idaho (add some barn frolic, baseball, and barbecues and you have the full package). But the daydreaming itself was inspired by the stories of my childhood—my mother spun me tales at night, my father read us stories (Narnia, Tolkien, etc.) at the dinner table, my grandparents (especially my grandfathers) were full of war stories, adventure stories, and stories of childhood in the Depression. All of these things left their fingerprints on my imagination. At the age of (I believe) twelve, we had a large house fire and had to move in with my grandparents (I was in the attic with my little sister). And so there’s that element of displacement and attic-dwelling as well. But the most immediate answer to your question came in adulthood. Late one night, while my wife and I were chatting with an old college friend, the phrase “one hundred little cupboards” was used. It made me smile with its potential, and I announced that it would be a great title for a book. My wife laughed. She was skeptical (bless her), and she called me out. “Sounds like a stupid book,” she said (sneer-smiling). That was the challenge. She touched her match to the fuse. I had to come up with something. And so I did. I pitched her a tale of 100 Cupboards, collected long ago and hidden behind the plaster of an old attic wall in a farmhouse in Kansas. I told her about their rediscovery, and she finally conceded. It sounded like a fun book, and I went to bed as the victor in the argument—quit pleased with myself, too.

    The next morning, she asked me when I was going to start writing. She wanted to hear the rest, and she wasn’t going to stand quietly by while I let the idea die. That very morning, the writing began.

    2) Where do you get your creative inspiration from? What inspired you to start writing?

    I don’t have a single source of inspiration. It’s a messy process. Most often, it comes from history and the natural world. Dandelions, for example. Ant wars. Big clouds. The Pacific Ocean and the cliffs that guard it. And then there are people. I can’t go to a restaurant without eavesdropping. I love catching one half of cell phone chats, and watching people as they drive and walk and mutter to themselves. People are terrific subjects—even the most boring of us would be terrific characters in the hands of a gifted novelist. Add the stories of Herodotus, a distinctly American personality and childhood, and you get my bulletin boards dotted with scraps and push pins (recently cleaned, I’ll should add), my notebook full of scrawlings, and my hard-drive full of opening chapters, lines, character sketches, poems, and short stories.

    I began writing in junior high, and it was because of my profound love for stories, and my finicky taste in selecting them. I didn’t like reading just anything. In fact, more often than not, books irritated me. Not because I thought they were bad (though many were), but because they did not give me the particular experience that I was looking for. Narnia did (as I grew, The Space Trilogy took its place). Tolkien did. And everything else was measured in some sort of comparison to those authors and a few other favorites. (When I first began writing, it was rather disappointing to learn that I couldn’t just decide to write like Lewis and expect it to happen.) P.G. Wodehouse taught me to love playing with prose (and character comedy), and he became a different sort of gold standard for me. I was picky. And whenever I fussed about a book at the table (from an early age), my father questioned me—pushing me to modify and edit whatever I’d been reading. That slid me into the creative driver’s seat. The rest just sort of happened.

    3) Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Being a father of little ones, how do you find the time to sit and write?

    Thank you! It’s odd how easy it is to fall in love with a little pink person who gurgles. As for finding time to write, often I don’t. Or at least it doesn’t feel like I do. Only recently, I finished a remodel which includes (blast the trumpets, bang the drums!) an office of my own. Up till now, I’ve always had my computer somewhere with a high likelihood (or certainty) of interruption. For a long while (through Leepike Ridge, 100 Cupboards, and Dandelion Fire), I even kept my computer in the playroom. It’s not been a bad thing. I like being accessible. (Who wants to be a distant or absent father?) But it did mean that I had to get really good at going Zen, getting lost in my story, ignoring the world around me, and cocking only the merest of subconscious ears for the sound of crying. I remember one moment (while writing Dandelion Fire) when I suddenly realized that I had a three year-old on my lap, watching Cinderella (on full volume) over my shoulder. As a result of all this (and also as a result of how I behave when a story grips me), I have done a lot late-night writing over the last couple years. We’ll see how (if) having an office changes that.

    4) What has been your biggest reward in writing?

    Hmm. It’s hard to finger just one thing. I’ve loved the photos (and stories and drawings) I’ve been sent by fans from around the country (and the world). Parental snapshots of kids found passed out at one in the morning with 100 Cupboards open on top of them, etc. But that’s all just a product of what I think is the central reward—seeing imaginations well fed. I love watching kids itch with excitement, not only from one of my books, but with an excitement for the world, an excitement to discover, to hunt, to explore. I got an initial taste of that reaction with Leepike Ridge, and it’s only increased since. There are kids all over the country who have wide eyes and bouncing knees and an intense desire to know . . . everything. That kind of curiosity is a joy to feed.

    And, of course, I really enjoy having kids talk to me about my characters like they’re our mutual friends and not creations of mine. To them, I am just someone who knows Henry and Henrietta and Anastasia and Richard really, really well. I love those conversations.

    5) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

    The process of becoming a writer is a trial by ordeal. Throw yourself into the nearest pond and see if you float. (If you sink, you’re not one.) Keep working on your craft and repeat the process until you’re extremely buoyant. Which is also just another way of saying that cream rises. If you want to get published (and you want to succeed once you have been), become cream. Work on your characters. Work on your dialog. Work on your powers of description. Work and don’t stop working. Be brutal on your own material. Always look to improve, and know that publishers want good stuff (at least in theory). If you get to the point where you are writing really good stuff, you’ll make your way to the top of the slush piles, interns will pass your manuscripts up the food chain, agents will actually answer your phone calls. You’ll make it. But there will be years (usually) of sweat involved, and you shouldn’t get discouraged by all the blisters along the way. Every difficulty, every setback, every moron who doesn’t ‘understand’ your writing is an opportunity for you to work harder and to become more buoyant.

    6) Some of us are mothers and we have enjoyed reading these books with our children. What message do you want your young readers take away from reading the series?

    This ties in to the earlier question. I want to write anti-escapism. I don’t want kids to read my stuff and get bummed out at the boredom of their own existences. I want to help open their eyes to the wild things that exist (and can happen) in their own backyards. The central thing that I want my young readers to take away from all of my books is extreme curiosity and a thirst to explore—and I don’t just mean physical geographical exploration. I want to make them hungry to know, to learn, and to reawaken an appreciation for many of the familiar things that we often overlook—to reveal opportunities for magic in the mundane. It might not always happen, but hey, it’s a goal.

    For more information on N.D. Wilson's books, please visit his site here:

    You can also visit Random House Kids here:

    N.D. Wilson will be continuing his blog tour tomorrow, here:

    Thank you N.D. Wilson for taking the time to come on and visit with us. Congratulations to all the success of The 100 Cupboards and to your newest release, The Chestnut King. Thank you to Random House Kids for allowing us to be apart of this.

    *Don't forget about our 100 Cupboard Series give away!! You can get more information here:

    You can read our read our reviews of each book on our Mundie Moms Blog, our forum and on our blog here.

    * The series will also be spotlighted next month on The Today Show with Al's Book Club For Kids-

    Friday, February 5, 2010

    Book Review-The Chestnut King by N.D. Wilson (book 3 in the 100 Cupboard Series)

    Published by Random House Kids
    Released Jan. 26th, 2010
    496 pages
    5 stars

    When Henry York found 99 cupboards hidden behind his bedroom wall, he never dreamed they were doors to entirely new worlds! Unfortunately, Henry’s discovery freed an ancient, undying witch, whose hunger for power would destroy every world connected to the cupboards—and every person whom Henry loves. Henry must seek out the legendary Chestnut King for help. Everything has a price, however, and the Chestnut King’s desire may be as dangerous as the witch herself.

    N. D. Wilson concludes a remarkable, worlds-spanning journey that began with one boy and one hundred avenues to adventure.

    This is one of the best books I've read in a series. The Chestnut King brought closure in every aspect of the series. N.D. Wilson did an amazing job taking us on Henry's journey to defeating the witch, while also giving us the journeys of Henry's Uncle Frank, His Father and the witch. Each story is woven together beautifully and we are able to experience Henry's growth as a character from other sides of the story, as well as see in more depth the type of characters that Henry's father, Uncle Frank and the Witch are. Be rest assured that all of those close to Henry are included on these journeys through out the course of The Chestnut King and interwoven together perfectly, as they are all brought together towards the end of the story to face the evil Witch.

    N.D. Wilson did a magical job at taking us further into the beautiful worlds he's created in 100 Cupboards and allowing us to see how the different worlds are ruled. What I loved the most is how Henry's family all rally around each other bringing strength and courage with their fight of the evil witch. You don't have to be a blood relative to be part of their family, as faeries and magicians unite together.

    My favorite character is Henry's Grandmother. I really enjoyed how Henry and his Grandmother's relationship in the story developed. Henry needs the strength of his family and friends to help him complete his journey. What a journey it is.

    My favorite character is Henry's Grandmother. I really enjoyed how Henry and his Grandmother's relationship in the story developed. Henry needs the strength of his family and friends to help him complete his journey. What a journey it is.

    * For more information, you can visit N.D. Wilson's site here:

    **Be sure to visit our blog for N.D. Wilson's/Random House Kids Blog Tour on Monday Feb. 8th, 2010! The Blog Tour will also be posted on our MM site, You don't want to miss it, as N.D. Wilson will reveal what is behind one of the cupboards. More information will be posted throughout the weekend.

    * The series will also be spotlighted next month on The Today Show!!

    Wednesday, February 3, 2010

    Book Review - Just Grace by Charise Mericle Harper

    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company
    March 2008
    137 pages
    9 to 12 years

    Synopsis - Grace loves cats. She also loves taking pictures of cats and drawing Not So Super comics. She doesn’t like Sammy Stringer, a boy in her class. She’s got lots and lots of ideas, and when her neighbor’s cat goes missing, Grace does her best to make Mrs. Luther feel less lonely. But as the mystery of the missing cat continues, Grace’s well intentioned plan backfires, and she finds herself in a bit of trouble. Maybe, just maybe, Sammy Stringer will help her through.

    My seven year old daughter and I picked up this book on a whim. She was looking for something similar to the Junie B. Jones series and well, we came across a well written, hilarious book sprinkled with these silly, little cartoon sketches.

    The first in a series of now five books, Just Grace introduces the protagonist, Grace, and her surroundings. From the very beginning my daughter and I loved Grace's characterization because she was nicknamed "Just Grace" by her teacher as a way to identify her from the other three Graces in her class.

    As you read on, you realize that Grace is a curious third grader who has a natural sense of adventure. She also has a self admitted super-power, "I can always tell when someone is unhappy, even if that person is pretending to be happy and is a really good actor".

    I have to admit that my favorite part of the story was the fact that she had to join forces with her nemesis, Sammy, in order to solve the mystery of the missing cat, Crinkles. Harper captures Grace's witty sense of humor perfectly and her characters leap off the page.

    The new book, Just Grace and the Snack Attack (released December 2009) promises:

    After reading this new book about Just Grace you will know how to . . .
    1. turn your favorite potato chips into a tasty chipwich.
    2. draw and fold up your very own zine, which is a cool little book made from only one piece of paper.
    3. look for and use the special powers of the wish chip.

    This book will not help you know how to . . .
    1. do fancy hairstyles for your cat.
    2. make a flower garden in your room.
    3. bake a four- or even five-layer cake.
    But this book might make you feel a little bit hungry, and if it does, then you will know you are having a "snack attack" just like Grace!
    The Just Grace series is definitely for children who love the precocious adventures of Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody and Clementine. My daughter and I read them out loud, taking turns with each chapter and learning how to emote through Grace's funny dialogue.

    Book Review- The Dandelion Fire (Book #2 in the 100 Cupboard Series) by N.D. Wilson

    Published by Random House Kids
    Released February 24th, 2009
    3 stars

    Henry York never dreamed his time in Kansas would open a door to adventure—much less a hundred doors. But a visit to his aunt and uncle’s farm took an amazing turn when cupboard doors, hidden behind Henry’s bedroom wall, revealed themselves to be portals to other worlds. Now, with his time at the farm drawing to a close, Henry makes a bold decision—he must go through the cupboards to find the truth about where he’s from and who his parents are. Following that trail will take him from one world to another, and ultimately into direct conflict with the evil of Endor. (taken from good reads).

    Dandelion Fire picks up right where 100 Cupboards ended. Henry continues his journey into finding out who he is, but along the way meets some people who either want to claim him as his own or want to show him who he really is.

    After a freak accident during a storm out by the barn with Henrietta, Henry is left blind and now he wears the mark of the Dandelion, who's fire burns through him. Henry returns to the cupboards he's forbidden to go in to, to find out what's happening to him and to find his family he can't remember, but he has no idea that Henrietta secretly followed him in. I liked that while most of the story is about Henry and his journey, it's also about Henrietta and her journey in the cupboards as well. Secrets about their grandfather are brought to light, which put Henrietta in almost as much trouble as Henry is in. While both Henry and Henrietta are lost in the world of the cupboards, neither of knows their family has come looking for them.

    An evil wizard has his eyes set on Henry and when Henry escapes him, his anger is unleashed and danger comes out of the cupboards, into Henry's home threatening his Uncle, Aunts and cousins. With Henry still gone and no sign of Henriette, and danger now coming out of the cupboards, Uncle Frank knows the only place to take his family is in the cupboards, back to his world.

    As Henry continues his journey, he discovers what the Dandelion mark is, is able to over come his blindness, and learns he is the youngest and 7th son. As his journey starts to end, he finds it leads him right to the family he's been looking for, his lost cousin Henrietta, his Uncle Frank, Aunt and Cousins. Henry's family is no ordinary family and now Henry is forced to fight the evil witch and wizard, who are threatening them all. Together with his father by his side, they head off to fight the evil that is plaguing their world.

    Dandelion Fire didn't pick up for me until the middle of the book, but once it did, I couldn't read the pages fast enough to find out what was happening. All of my questions I had from 100 Cupboards are answered and Henry finally knows who he is. I liked that N.D. Wilson wove together many of the characters that Henry meets along his way, but doesn't discover who they really are until he meets his family and father. I'm looking forward to The Chestnut King and getting to know more about Henry's family and his place with them.

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Book Review-Baba Yaga The Flying Witch

    Published February 29th 2008

    by Usborne Publishing Ltd (first published January 2008)

    details Hardcover, 48 pages

    isbn 0746085605

    4 stars

    Story summary from the back cover

    In this fantastic Russian folktale, Baba Yaga zooms through the forest on her flying pot. Her hair is greasy, her hands are arty. Her nose reaches down to her chin. And poor Tasha has been sent into the forest to find her...

    First of all, let me say that Usborne Books are my very favorite in the whole world. Their editions are sturdy and withstand my children's manhandling, chewing and reading. This one I picked up from the library. It has a cushioned hard cover and a ribbon inside to hold your place. I was interested in the subject because of the YA fiction book "Dreaming Anastasia." The folk tale of Baba Yaga was introduced within the story and I wanted to learn more.

    The Usborne version is easy to read with beautiful illustrations and my children have all passed it around.  They are picky readers, so any book that holds their interest is impressive for me!  I can't wait to pick up the other fairy tale book in the Usborne Easy Reader series.

    39 Clues Book #7 Release by Scholastic

    Today I received an awesome email from Scholastic about today's release of 39 Clues book #7-The Viper's Nest. The most exciting news about the series, if you've been reading it, is Amy and Dan find out which branch of the Cahill Family they belong to!

    Scholastic has kicked off the release of The Viper's Nest with a tour that started today!!
    As the race to find the clues intensifies, author Peter Lerangis will embark on a national book tour, giving fans a first-hand look at the series that has captivated kids and educators from all 50 states and 191 countries. The tour(which starts today) features events in schools, bookstores, and libraries - check out the schedule here. We hope to see you there! (quote from their blog).

    More cards, more clues revealed and more adventures are sure to make book #7 a huge hit. I'll be honest, I've only read book 6, as we received from Scholastic for a review, and from reading the book, I have fallen in love with the story. I quickly picked up and understand what the plot was and what was going on. You can read that review here. I'm definitely going to be picking upThe Viper's Nest.

    Monday, February 1, 2010

    Book Review-Alice's Adventure in Wonderland

    Hardcover: 12 pages
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's;
    New edition edition (3 Nov 2003)
    ISBN-10: 0689837593
    4 stars

    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is Robert Sabuda's most amazing creation ever, featuring stunning pop-ups illustrated in John Tenniel's classic style. The text is faithful to Lewis Carroll's original story, and special effects like a Victorian peep show, multifaceted foil, and tactile elements make this a pop-up to read and admire again and again.

    My father gave this to my children for Christmas because our family adores pop up books. My kids would spend hours looking through all of the surprises in here. There are even little books placed within the book to pull out and read. You will feel like you are right in the forest as green trees burst from the first scene. The cover is sturdy, but the pages are very fragile and not for young children! A great gift for fans of the classic Lewis Carroll tale!
    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 ~