Thursday, May 24, 2018

Nomad Press #SummerofBooks: Giveaway of The Space Race

Detailed Book Description (from publisher's website)

What do you see when you look up at the night sky? The potential for amazing discoveries and scientific advancement? During the 1950s and 60s, some people also saw a place that needed to be claimed.
In The Space Race: How the Cold War Put Humans on the Moon, middle school students will explore the bitter rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union that served as fuel for the fire that catapulted rockets into the great unknown of the next frontier-space. While Neil Armstrong will always be remembered as the first person to set foot on the moon, the people and events behind this accomplishment populate a fascinating tale of politics, science, technology, and teamwork that resulted in what might be the greatest accomplishment of the twentieth century.
  • The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 is July 2019.
  • Primary source links to real footage of the rocket race, the rise of communism, and the red scare promote further exploration beyond the page to deepen readers' curiosity about this topic.
  • There is talk of a new Cold War as well as a new space race back to the moon and even to Mars.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spring Reading 2018 Frog and Beaver


What happens when a young beaver ignores warnings that his dam is too big? As you can imagine, trouble! All the other inhabitants along the river were getting along perfectly until Beaver arrived. Despite Frog's attempts to rein in Beaver's "nearly as tall as the mountains" construction. There are grumbles and hard feelings, and a disaster, but Beaver does learn his lesson in the end. And a much more moderate Beaver helps everyone rebuild their homes as well as his dam, "not too big though."

The illustrations have Simon James iconic style and show the idyllic scene before Beaver's arrival, then the gradually worsening problem, and the major catastrophe with crisply penned details over the watercolor paintings. My favorites are all the images of Frog. His tiny body has long, thin legs and his expressive face has enormous eyes. Watching his eyes is an easy way for readers to gauge his reactions to Beaver's antics. The best part is the scene of Frog jumping up and down on Beaver's back when he has swallowed too much water. I wonder if Frog is Red Cross certified as a lifeguard? 

A fun story about the truth that bigger is not always better, and that our actions affect others.

Spring Reading 2018 Crawly School for Bugs


This book would be worth the read just for the illustrations. The title pages shows a long, multi-legged bug all in yellow serving as a school bus for small bugs. The title itself appears on the back of this incredibly loooong bug. The verso and dedication pages show young insects making their way to school using their wings, hitching a ride on a blowing leaf, or clutching a swirling maple seed. Details throughout the collection include backpacks with multiple straps (insects have more than two arms, after all),while the cricket lessons show a series of nighttime scenes with the moon looking on and wearing a nightcap. 

The text of the poems are incredibly funny and will remind readers of favorites like Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein. If the answer to every visit to the clinic is, "I'd better take some blood," can you imagine what type of insect is the nurse? The praying mantis bemoans how hard it is not to eat classmates at lunchtime. And grasshoppers are very upset to learn that people eat them: "It's fine to eat the farmer's crop but eating US has got to stop!!"

An amusing anthology that would work well with the study of poetry or units on insects, and perfect for a multidisciplinary approach combining the two. Poems like these are helpful to use with reluctant poetry students who assume that the sentiments in Valentine's cards are the only type of poetry that exist, i.e. mushy, gushy, romantic stuff. Showing that poetry can be used to reflect on any subject of interest, even stink bugs, can lure boys and reluctant readers into trying out this genre.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

Spring Reading 2018 School People


This anthology of poetry introduces all the people who work with students. The bus driver is known by a "good-morning smile" and can be depended on to "bring me home again." The crossing guard is seen as a mother bird who "guides us like hatchlings safely to the other side." Readers may be surprised that the principal is also a mother, but J. Patrick Lewis shares other things that principals do such as "find the milk snake that escaped from the Science Room."

The illustrations help to bring the imagery to life. There are wings behind the teacher whose "stories lift me high," and there are also yellow birds swooping around her. The page across from the poem about the art teacher shows a painted scene that holds an origami bird, a clay dinosaur, and other hints of creativity. Of course, my favorite is the spread featuring the librarian. While he talks to one student, another child looks about with an expression of wonder and the pages from an open book flutter up to the ceiling, which has disappeared and is now a sky filled with dragons. Hooray for imagination!

Lee Bennett Hopkins has many anthologies on various topics and fans will be rewarded for their loyalty when they check out this newest one. Ellen Shi's illustrations catch all that is best about school personnel and the students they work with each day. It is a winning combination.

Perfect for back to school reading or adding to poetry sections in libraries and classrooms. I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.

Spring Reading 2018 Dreaming of You


Readers see legs clad in footie pajamas and a stuffed monkey being carried along by one arm. "A-ha!" they think, "A bedtime story." Yes, and one that never shows the child inside those pajamas, but introduces animals that children love. The rhyming text talks of kittens "dreaming of pouncing on yarn" and puppies "dreaming of long, waggy walks." VanDerwater uses repetition and rhythm in a style reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown. The circular pattern of the text takes readers from the bed of the sleeping child - out into the habitats of the various animals - then back to that peaceful bedroom, but this time the sun is now rising. 

Each spread shows a different animal - tadpoles, turtles, robins, horses, chipmunks, fishes and fireflies. All of these young creatures are pictured in their usual setting; kittens climb on bales of hay in the barn while tadpoles splash around lily pads. Some illustrations are especially charming, such as the bunny that seems to be napping in the sun with a carrot tucked under its paw. DeWitt uses colors that are attractive and fitting for each subject, but avoids tints that would glare out from the page and wake eyes that are slowly drifting shut.

A lovely book for family reading at bedtime. Highly recommended.

I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

And for wonderful activities to accompany the book and a chance to win a copy, visit:



Thursday, May 10, 2018

Spring Reading 2018 The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray


Imagine a city where the sun never breaks through the clouds, where everything is meant to be done with the least amount of fuss. The most terrible thing is the way the schools are run. Teachers are actually only babysitters who sit and supervise the children. The actual teaching is done by stones called Lambents which the students stare into and receive any knowledge they need. And anyone who disturbs the smooth operation of the city and the school is persona non grata, bullied by the other children, scolded and punished by the adults. That child is Gwendolyn. 

Try as she might, Gwendolyn cannot rein in her imagination. When she tries to stare into the Lambent like everyone else in class, it gives her headaches and hurts her eyes. Unlike everyone in town, she enjoys reading and even reads old documents from the hall of records - a place no one else even visits. But when she finds a storybook in an empty apartment, Gwendolyn winds up on an adventure that rivals any novel. Rather than gloom and grayness, there is a colorful world, incredible inventions, and larger than life heroes and villains. Can she save this new and exciting place as well as her own home?

For those who are familiar with "The Matrix," the men from the city who pursue Gwendolyn in an attempt to control her imagination and its effects will bear a remarkable resemblance to Agent Smith and his cohorts. But they also mix in with the men in hats from "The Adjustment Bureau" since they wear bowler hats that have peculiar properties. 

If you enjoy stories that pit spunky heroines against seemingly overwhelming odds and adults with vast powers, then you should give this book a try. Highly recommended for middle grades and up.

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

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Blog Tour for Michael Okon's Monsterland Reanimated!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enter For A Chance To Win A Monsterland Reanimated Prize Pack!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A Monsterland Reanimated Prize Pack
    • A copy of Monsterland Reanimated, signed by Michael Okon
    • A t-shirt (Large)
    • An ice pack
    • A set of nail files (for all that nail biting you’ll be doing)
Three (3) winners receive:
  • A copy of Monsterland Reanimated, signed by Michael Okon
Age Range: 14+
Giveaway begins May 1, 2018, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends May 31, 2018, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Giveaway open to residents of Canada and the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older.
Prizes provided by The Children’s Book Review


Wyatt Baldwin (no relation to Alec), his brother Sean, and his friends Howard, Keisha, and Jade were among the very few that survived the opening night of Monsterland. Yes, there was a theme park full of real werewolves, vampires, and zombies. Actually, there were seven parks around the world, all filled with celebrities and world leaders for the opening night. Now the world is in chaos with many of those leaders killed by the monsters that broke loose and rampages through the parks. Martial law has been declared in most areas, but it hasn't stopped the looting and violence (picture Mad Max type chases along the interstates).

Back in Copper Valley, Wyatt's group is trying to organize the surviving townsfolk and safeguard resources such as food, water, and medicine. Everyone is sure the situation is temporary and that the President will soon restore order. But when the teens go on a scouting expedition to the closest town, they learn that the danger is only beginning. There is a mysterious purple Glob oozing through the town and leaving desiccated corpses behind. An army of seemingly indestructible mummies attacks them on their way back home, and they even learn that there may be new evil brewing within the deserted theme park.

What chance do a few teens and some scattered neighbors have against these latest monsters, a private army of mercenaries, and the continued plots of Dr. Vincent Konrad? There are even rumors that Konrad may still be running things - although the kids saw him beheaded by a werewolf the night it all began. It seems like a nightmare where everyone is trapped inside a mashup of the scariest monster movies ever made.

Occasional humorous moments keep the tension from becoming too much. Readers will see Marty Feldman in their mind's eye as Konrad's assistant Igor sings to himself, "I ain't got nobody, and nobody cares for me!" And anyone who has received a lecture on the evils of carbonated soft drinks will laugh at the results when Whisp soda mixes with the Glob.

Still, there are relevant themes addressed within the story. Some carry over from the first book like the threat of pandemics and how governments deal with the diseases and the victims or corporate and political greed. Others are introduced (or more heavily emphasized) in this book. The definition of evil is one such theme. As Howard says, "I have learned that anything with a deadly intent is a monster and should never be misjudged. Evil is as evil does." The danger of judging by appearances is apparent as dentists and lawyers attack the kids for their car, while bikers help to protect them.

This is a mix of horror, suspense, and action. Fans of series such as Emmy Laybourne's Monument 14 or Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave will enjoy the Monsterland books. Teens coming of age in a world gone off kilter will seem familiar to them, but in a novel setting full of classic monsters.


Written by Michael Okon
Publisher’s Synopsis: After Monsterland has been destroyed, the entire world is thrown into chaos. Wyatt Baldwin and his friends must go beyond the boundaries of their small town to reestablish contact with the outside world. During their journey they discover a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park. The danger of werewolves, vampires and zombies pale in comparison to an army of relentless mummies, Vincent Conrad’s reanimated monster and the menace of a life-sucking ooze they call The Glob.  Will Wyatt and his friends survive when they reenter the scariest place on earth?
Ages 14+ | Publisher: WordFire Press | April 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1614756729


Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling is his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.
Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.
Be sure to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat  @IAmMichaelOkon #Monsterland2!



Tour Kick Off + Giveaway
May 1
Guest post
May 2
Book Review
May 3
Book Review
May 4
Book Review
May 8
Author Interview
May 9
May 10
May 13
Author Interview
May 22
Book Review
May 29
Book Review
May 31

Per FTC guidelines, we hereby disclose that the Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Michael Okon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spring Reading 2018 Simon and the Big, Bad, Angry Beasts


In a beginning reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are, "The first time Simon got mad, it was after he had caused a lot of mischief." Simon is red-faced with anger, leaning back on his heels and lines coming from his open mouth to show readers how loudly he is protesting. His father is tugging on Simon's hand and pointing to his room with his mouth firmly set. But a strange thing happens when Simon is left in his room. When he pounds on the door, a big ram is suddenly there pounding along with him. And this same phenomenon happens each time he gets angry over being told, "No," or losing a game. The ram becomes an alligator, then the gator becomes a lion, the lion a rhino, and the rhino a dragon. Simon thinks it is marvelous and magical to have these angry beasts that keep people from telling him what to do or making him eat his soup. Until he suddenly notices how lonely it is. His solution for what to do about his anger incorporates a great lesson on mindfulness and embracing peace and calm.

The situations Simon is upset with are typical childhood scenes that often provoke anger or tantrums. Young readers will sympathize with Simon's desire to throw the Parcheesi board into the air when he loses. But the image of Simon with his dragon on one end of a seesaw and the other end hanging in the air empty will drive home the point that it is no fun to be alone with one's anger. All the illustrations are wonderfully done with details such as Simon's eyebrows at a maniacal slant as he rides the alligator around, or the fangs of the lion as it crouches behind him.

The moral of anger driving everyone away and leaving one lonely is shown more than explicitly spelled out, and the resolution takes some effort on Simon's part. Back matter includes a "Guide for Parents and Teachers" with special sections on using the book at home or with groups, follow-up activities, and a discussion of mindfulness as an antidote for media images and the general decline in civility. Best used with elementary school ages, particularly primary grades.

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