Saturday, December 22, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Fast Enough: Bessie Stringfield's First Ride

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This imagined incident from the life of motorcyclist Bessie Stringfield plays on her love of speeding along on two wheels and imitates the sort of stories she often told about her own life. The additional information at the end of the story tells of her travels as an adult on her motorcycle, including her career as the only female civilian motorcycle courier for the U.S. military. It also mentions The Negro Motorist Green Book, which was used by "black people traveling in America" to find hotels and other services that were safe for them while they were on the road.

I especially like that the author discusses the discrepancies in Bessie's accounts of her early life and those that are supported by evidence. As he says, "This kind of contradicting information often follows people whose adventures are larger than life."

This is a good book to use for units for Women's History Month, Black History Month, or with guidance lessons on self-esteem and perseverance. It is also a good picture book to put into the hands of young readers who enjoy stories about transportation and people who feel "the need for speed."

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Fall Reading 2018 The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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"In May 1804 Captain Lewis, Captain Clark, and twenty-eight men set out from St. Louis, Missouri, in three boats with the goal  of reaching the Pacific Ocean. All but one of those men were volunteers. This is his story." So begins this picture book account of the Lewis & Clark Expedition from the viewpoint of York, Captain Clark's slave. The text points out that York had no choice in leaving his family and home, and also does a good job of choosing a few key milestones of the journey to frame the challenges and dangers the men faced. The reaction of the native tribes to seeing someone with skin the color of York's is mentioned, including a chief who called him "Big Medicine." A feeling of sympathy between York and Sacajawea is also described, bringing attention to the similarity between their situations as York learns that the young woman was stolen from her tribe and given in trade to the man who called her his wife.

Several pages that look like very old paper are inserted into the text to hold larger chunks of exposition. The background information included in the introduction tells of President Jefferson's desire for a detailed accounting of the new territory, while the author's note at the end shares facts about the rewards the party received on their return and York's continued enslavement. The illustrations capture the work of building shelters, poling boats, a portage around waterfalls, and the majesty of Mount Hood glimpsed for the first time by the party.

This is a very helpful look at a famous group of men, and one of the often overlooked members of the party. It draws attention to the contributions of York, and also to the way famous men in our country's history used slave labor and indigenous people for their own purposes. A good book to add to units on Westward Expansion, especially for those trying to offer a more balanced picture of what occurred from beyond the European male viewpoint.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

There's an Elephant in My Bathtub Awareness Tour 2018


GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub by Connie Bowman, and a menagerie of stuffed animals!
One (1) winner receives:
  • An autographed copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub
  • A menagerie of stuffed animals, as featured in the prize image
Nine (9) winners will receive:
  • An autographed copy of There’s an Elephant in My Bathtub
Giveaway begins December 1, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December 31, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.
Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Connie Bowman is responsible for prize fulfillment.


BROADWAY STARS SHARE THE BOOK

                                           

MY REVIEW

Have you ever watched "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"? For those who have, think back on Grandpa's crazy stories for Jeremy and Jemima. He begins one with the joke, "This morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas, and how he got into my pajamas I shall never know!" That is the sort of day that the narrator of this book seems to be having, only the elephant is in his bathtub rather than his pajamas. There seem to be wild animals throughout the house - a gorilla, a camel, a cobra, a bear, a lion, and a rhino turn up in the most unexpected places as the narrator goes about his routine. But instead of losing his cool, he calmly deals with each new surprise and then relates the incredible experiences to his child at the end of the day.

Young readers will enjoy seeing each new animal in its unlikely setting, whether that is the pantry or the bedroom window. And they are sure to be impressed by the unflappable parent as he moves each critter to a safe location. The ending will generate smiles and laughs all around as the returning child hears about the day and sees the results of the father's ingenuity in dealing with the wildlife. Illustrations give enough detail to set the scene without drawing attention away from the focal point of man and beast in each encounter.

An amusing tale perfect for bedtime with its repetitive pattern of surprise and resolution. Youngsters may find themselves imaging their own version filled with their favorite animals.

ABOUT THE BOOK


Written by Connie Bowman
Illustrated by Kelly O’Neill
Publisher’s Synopsis: When a loving father finds an elephant in his bathtub one morning he decides to take matters into his own hands. As he travels from room to room he discovers more animals making themselves quite at home. What’s a Dad to do? When his son arrives home from school he’s in for quite a surprise. Dad has gathered all of the animals together in his  son’s room for quite a safari party! At the end of the story we find that Dad has a wonderful imagination and has created a sweet story out of his son’s animals left around the house.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Belle Isle Books | December 10, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1947860261
PURCHASE LINKS


OFFICIAL LINKS


TOUR SCHEDULE


The Children's Book Review
Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway
December 1
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
December 3
Mommy Ramblings
Book Review
December 4
Word Spelunking
Interview
December 5
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Book Review
December 6
The Fairview Review
Book Review
December 7
TeacherDance
Book Review
December 10
LitPick Student Book Reviews
Interview
December 11
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Book Review
December 12
Confessions of a Book Addict
Book Review
December 13
jrsbookreviews
Book Review
December 14
Inspired by Savannah
Book Review
December 15
Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk
Book Review
December 17



FTC disclosure: the Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Connie Bowman.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A Dreadful Fairy Book Awareness Tour 2018


GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book by Jon Etter!

Ten (10) winners receive:

A bound galley copy of A Dreadful Fairy Book

Giveaway begins November 13, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends December , 2018, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

Giveaway open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.

Amberjack Publishing is responsible for prize fulfillment.


ABOUT THE BOOK


A Dreadful Fairy Book

Written by Jon Etter

Publisher’s Synopsis: Shade the sprite is dreadful at being the perfect fairy. After her treehouse burns to the ground, Shade embarks on a quest, albeit with rather questionable companions, to find a place her outrĂ© self can finally fit in—a place of companionship and comfort and, most importantly, positively filled with books. When fantastic ruffians, swindlers, and a pack of ruthless Unseelie hunters threaten to halt her at every turn, can Shade survive the dreadful journey and find a destination she can truly call home?



Ages 9-12 | Publisher: Amberjack Publishing | November 20, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1948705141


OFFICIAL LINKS


MY REVIEW

If you were to take a narrator such as Lemony Snicket, add a protagonist with a chip on her shoulder, and then have other characters act in surprising ways - you would have a basic recipe for A Dreadful Fairy Book. Quentin Q. Quacksworth, Esq., our narrator, warns us from the start that "this story is quite dreadful" and "the fairies in this story are quite dreadful at being fairies." (Dreadful is a word which in this context means that they do not act as expected.)
Quentin Q. Quacksworth, Esq.

Not to argue with a professional narrator, but the story was actually delightful. Yes, the characters often act contrary to the way in which their species are commonly portrayed, but that is a big part of the entertainment. Grumpy fairies, literary trolls, and squires who would rather try out new recipes than learn to fight are refreshing and offer plenty of opportunities to amuse and surprise us as we read.

So...this is the story of Lillyshadow Glitterdemalion, known as Shade to everyone who actually pays attention to her preferences. After losing her home and all her possessions, she sets out to fulfill her dream of finding a library. As she quests across distances she has only read about, Shade makes new friends and enemies, travelling with "the exact sort of confidence that usually gets people into profoundly deep trouble." Readers cannot help cheering for Shade's successes and fretting over her problems; there are plenty of dangers, villains, and unexpected allies to keep the action and suspense cranked up.

For those who love reading as much as Shade does, her frequent mention of books she has read will be a great source of amusement (a few times I even laughed out loud). Perhaps you have heard of Pride and Pixies, Meager Expectations, or To Murder an Insulting Finch? And the allusions aren't limited to cleverly disguised titles, they also appear as references to "Saint Eeyore (patron saint of lost causes)" or to "an old human in long gray robes and a funny hat poring over books about rings." 

Whether you enjoy remixed fairy tales, humorous adventures, voyages of self-discovery, or stories that include lots of love for books of all sorts, you should disregard the narrator's opinion and read A Dreadful Fairy Book. And if you're not sure that any of those sorts of stories is right for you, perhaps you are rebellious enough to read and enjoy it simply because the narrator says you should not. Go on - you know you want to give it a try.




TOUR SCHEDULE




The Children's Book Review
Tour Kick-Off & Review
November 13
Word Spelunking
Book Review
November 14
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
November 15
LitPick Student Book Reviews
Interview
November 16
Mommy Ramblings
Book Review
November 26
The Fairview Review
Book Review
November 27
To Read, or Not To Read
Book Review
November 28
icefairy's Treasure Chest
Book Review
November 29
jrsbookreviews
Book Review
November 30
The Lovely Books
Guest Post
December 3
Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom
Book Review
December 4
Confessions of a Book Addict
Giveaway
December 6
The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow
Book Review
December 7
The Children's Book Review
Book Review
December 8


FTC Disclosure: The Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Amberjack Publishing.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Max and the Midknights



Anyone who has read the Big Nate stories will recognize the style and humor of Lincoln Peirce immediately when they look at a copy of Max and the Midknights. Max is apprenticed to Uncle Budrick, a troubadour who isn't very talented. What Max really dreams of is becoming a knight. Through a series of misadventures including (but not limited to), a town under the control of a tyrant, an evil witch, a banished knight, a child trapped in a tower, and even a dragon...Max may just find a way to make that dream come true.

As Max and Budrick travel, readers will hear of how Budrick became a troubadour and the family's ties to Byjovia. They will also meet assorted characters that will help or hinder them. Max also explains to readers about life in the Middle Ages. "That means a lot of important stuff hasn't been invented yet. Like paved roads, the toothbrush, and a little convenience known as indoor plumbing." (What can I say? Max tells it like it is.) Readers also learn that "there actually IS a Troubadour Hall of Fame...Worst gift shop ever." 

One of my favorite characters is Kevyn, who hopes to be a writer even though children must learn their family trade and his father works with horses. Kevyn dreams of books that hold "Stories of great events and grand adventures! Tales of knights, kings, and magical creatures!" Sounds like the story he is a part of, doesn't it?

If you enjoy humor, adventure, the kind of stories that Kevyn dreams of, or any tale where the underdogs are fighting against the evil ruler of the land, then pick up a copy of Max and the Midknights. (On sale January 8, 2019)

I read an advance copy supplied by the publisher for review purposes.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Operation Rescue Dog

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Anyone who has read Maria's books knows that her stories always feature a dog and this latest title is no exception. Lulu is a rescue dog, one who was found after being dumped near the highway. She is being taken on the Operation Rescue Dog truck to meet someone special. Alma misses her mother who is serving in Iraq; we read that "Alma wears Mami's scarf like a hug." Her Abuela agrees with Alma that they should get a rescue dog and they set out to meet the truck. As they drive Alma wonders "Can a dog feel like a hug?" After several misadventures, our two protagonists finally meet and we hold our breath as we wait to see if they will realize they belong together.

Maria's words capture the feelings of Alma as she deals with the separation from her mother and her hope for a new friend in Lulu. She also manages to portray Lulu's experiences without humanizing her. The illustrations pick up important details such as Lulu's tail tucked between her legs in uncertainty, or Alma rubbing Mami's scarf against her cheek for comfort. Together, text and images tell a heartwarming story of family.

The author's note explains about animal rescue and gives the names of some websites to visit for more information, as well as some other ways to help if you cannot adopt an animal yourself. There is also a glossary of the Spanish words used in the story. A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to Best Friends Animal Society.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 The Three Rules of Everyday Magic

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Kate has a lot going on in her life. Her dad moved out while struggling with depression, her best friend has made a new buddy while rehearsing for a musical, and her grandmother is suffering increasingly from dementia. As she struggles with all of these concerns, Kate also continues her karate classes, works through her recent nervousness around her pal Parker, tries to recover her love of music, and even manages to begin a friendship with her classmate Jane. Can Kate figure out a way to hold onto her father and her friend Sofia, while also letting others into her affection? And is her grandmother right when she says there is such a thing as everyday magic that can help? Kate's sensei tells her, "Do not focus on the pain. Focus only on the next move." He is talking about karate class, but that can be great advice for life in general.

I want to warn you now - by the time I finished this book, I had cried so much that my nose was stuffy and my eyes were red and puffy. Reading "My whole life is like a bike tire with a tiny hole leaking air. But I'm not leaking air. I'm leaking hope..." made my heart ache. There were plenty of lines like that, and they would make wonderful examples for a writing lesson. Here's another, "The truth thuds to the ground, a cement brick, echoing." 

I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy realistic fiction, especially the sort of story that focuses on relationships and how characters work to build and maintain them. Kate is not perfect, but she feels very real for that reason. She will steal your heart - and that makes a magical story.

I read a review copy provided by the publisher.

Fall Reading 2018 Twilight of the Elves (The Adventurers Guild #2)

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Zed, Brock, Liza, Micah, and Jett are back to survive dangers and deceptions. Spoiler Alert - At the end of the first book in the series the elves arrived to report that their city had fallen. The town of Freestone allowed the refugees inside its walls, but the situation is uneasy (and that is putting it mildly). The Rangers of the elves have taken shelter with the Adventurers Guild and their youngest member, Fel, has joined the five friends in their training. When a party is sent to scout a possible return to the elven city of Llethanyl, the youngsters find themselves outside the safety of Freestone and in the wilderness where Dangers could be behind every bush or stone.

Besides the creatures who try to kill them(ranging from shapeshifting things with really large teeth to deadly spores and even banshees), there are also plenty of intrigue and cross-purposes to ruin everyone's day. The shadowy figure who wants Brock to discover secrets, Zed's desire to learn more about his elven father, the prejudices within the elven party against some of their own people, the elven queen's true agenda...all of these push and pull at the characters and influence their actions. And within this fantasy setting, there are still everyday themes of friendship, family, belonging, identity, prejudice, and the stirrings of teenage romance as the adventurers make their way toward Llethanyl.

Readers who enjoyed the first outing and have been waiting for the next installment in the series will be glad to reunite with the characters they know and to learn more about the newcomers. Those who are just discovering the Adventurers Guild can jump in and give this a try, and then they will probably want to go back and read about how this crew got their start once they reach the end of the book.

Highly recommended for middle grade readers who enjoy fantasy adventure. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Cyrus Field's Big Dream

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As the author mentions in the epilogue, "Telegraph cables played an important role in world communication for more than a century. Eventually, radio, telephone cables, satellites, fiber-optic cables, and wireless networks made telegraph cables obsolete." (p.188) It may be very hard for readers today to understand Cyrus Field's determination to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable, or how many others he was able to convince of the necessity - and to invest large sums of money to make it happen. But anyone reading this book will be convinced of his determination to accomplish his goal.

The book presents all the events in chronological order, beginning with the first meeting where Field heard about the possibility and covering the twelve years it took to successfully connect the United States with Europe with a telegraph cable. The various investors, politicians, and scientists and the roles they played are also discussed, but Cyrus is the main character in this drama. Details of his childhood, family, and other business ventures are woven into the background to complete the portrait of this determined man.

Illustrations show the ships and equipment used, reproductions of telegrams, photos from the time period, even diagrams of the ship's layout. There are numerous quotes from Cyrus and contemporaries, newspaper and magazine coverage, and even songs written about the attempts. Back matter includes an author's note, source notes, timeline, index, connections to make (books videos, and websites on the topic), and a selected bibliography. 

Written for grades 5-9, this is a detailed biography and a story of technology woven together to make a fascinating true story.