Thursday, March 26, 2020

Spring Reading 2020 Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5)

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These stories are so enjoyable. I'm glad that this one was longer, but it still ended too soon. I felt like Murderbot reaching the end of a favorite media series and wanting more. The progression of this rogue security unit's growth as an independent person rather than a corporate controlled tool is fascinating. The snarky humor (it did name itself Murderbot, after all), the obsession with human entertainment media, and the reluctant friendships with humans, all make the events entertaining even while they are tense or violent or deep in technical details. Murderbot's internal dialogue and asides to the reader are full of observations about how it perceives humans or responds to their actions. When analyzing a human's request to have SecUnit (as they call it) around it says, "Yeah, I assumed it was about me, but humans assume everything is about them, too. It’s not an uncommon problem, okay?" Now really, how many partially biological artificial intelligence security constructs do you know who talk that way?

This is a wonderful series for folks who enjoy their sci-fi with some sarcastic humor woven in, along with all the alien artifacts, corporate greed, laser blasts, wormholes and general geeky fun. I can't wait to see what Murderbot does next. Due to some language and the degree of violence, this is best for YA readers and beyond.

I read an advance copy provided by the publisher for review purposes. The book will be released on May 5, 2020.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Winter Reading 2020 Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

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This book will appeal to both young readers and teachers. There are photos, QR codes that provide access to video clips of snakes and researchers in action, and plenty of details about the pythons and their impact on the Florida ecosystems they have invaded. Profiles and photos of the researchers are provided, along with details and photos about some of the MVPs (most valuable pythons) that are used by the program to help locate other snakes in the wild. Tips on responsible pet ownership are also included. Educators will be pleased with the helpful features such as sidebars on related topics (other invasive species stories, details of python anatomy, how radio telemetry works),  a timeline of the Burmese python invasion, source notes, and recommendations for further reading. I especially enjoyed the author's note in which Messner explained how a newspaper article aroused her curiosity and led to the writing of the book.

Highly recommended for middle grade readers. NOT for the squeamish or those who are frightened by snakes. The photos show close-ups of the snakes and details of necropsies (examining dead snakes for clues about their eating habits and other details). But those who love everything about snakes and other predators and don't mind, or even enjoy, the 'ick" factor - will love every page.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

A Flock of Fun Awareness Tour 2020

Enter for a chance to win a Raven Howell book prize pack!
One (1) grand prize winner receives:
  • A copy of A Flock of Fun autographed by Raven Howell
  • A copy of Glimmer autographed by Raven Howell
  • A copy of Shimmer autographed by Raven Howell
  • A copy of So You Want a Puppy? autographed by Raven Howell
  • A copy of Greetings! autographed by Raven Howell
  • A copy of My Community autographed by Raven Howell
  • A Flock of Fun throw pillow
  • A Flock of Fun jigsaw puzzle
  • A pair of sheep socks
Nineteen (19) winners receive:
  • A copy of A Flock of Fun autographed by Raven Howell
Giveaway begins March 2, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends April 2, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.
Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, who are eighteen years of age or older in their state or territory of residence at the time of entry. Void where prohibited by law.
Doodle and Peck is responsible for prize fulfillment.

Written by Raven Howell
Illustrated by David Barrow
Publisher’s Synopsis: A young child discovers the solution for falling asleep is not always quiet and silent, like counting slow, slimy snails. Sometimes, a room full of happy dances, shirts in a tie-dyed swirl, and mischief-making sheep are just the ticket!
Ages 3-8 | Publisher: Doodle and Peck Publishing | February 2, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1733717083
Available Here:
We've all had the experience before of trying in vain to go to sleep. When that happens, we try all sorts of tricks to slip off to dreamland. Whether it is counting sheep, drinking warm milk, fluffing the pillow...anything is fair game in the struggle to drop off. In this wonderful bedtime story, the child narrator does try counting sheep. It turns out that sheep are not as peaceful as one would think; "they're a noisy flock of bleat, with no polite, no nice, no neat." After enduring tickled feet, a raided candy stash, even sheep wearing his underpants, our narrator decides that another bedtime ritual might be better. The next night he tries counting snails, but they are not much fun leaving their trails around the room. Perhaps "laundry-diving sheep" are better after all. A fun read that is sure to become a bedtime favorite. Who could resist fluffy sheep reading books, blowing bubbles, and climbing the chest of drawers?

Raven Howell is an award-winning children’s author and poet of nine picture books. She writes poetry for a variety of children’s magazines including Highlights, The School Magazine, Humpty Dumpty, and Cricket. Frequently sharing book presentations and writing workshops with children in schools and libraries, Raven also serves as Creative & Publishing Advisor with Red Clover Reader. Her family, long dawn hikes, being at the beach, and munching on warm butterscotch chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven are all sources of writing inspiration. Visit her website:



March 2
The Children's Book Review
Tour Kick-Off
March 3
Word Spelunking
Guest Post
March 4
Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk
Book Review
March 5
Over Coffee Conversations
March 6
Confessions of a Book Addict
March 9
Rosco's Reading Room
March 10
The Children's Book Review
Book Review
March 11
Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog
Book Review
March 12
The Children's Book Review
Book List
March 13
Fairview Elementary School (Library)
Book Review
March 23
A Dream Within A Dream
Book Review
March 24
The Children's Book Review
March 25
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Book Review

The Fairview Review is participating in the blog tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Doodle and Peck.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Winter Reading 2020 Poppleton and Friends


Fans of Poppleton will be glad to see that he has made the transition into Scholastic's Acorn books. ("Illustrated early readers that plant a love of reading!") This title was released in November 2019 and contains three stories: The Shore Day, Dry Skin, and Grapefruit. In each story friends enjoy time together - whether it's a picnic at the beach, sharing advice about skin care, or trying new foods. Hudson (his mouse friend), and Cherry Sue (his llama friend), share cheese sandwiches, lint brushes, and good humor with their piggy pal. A discussion question for further thought encourages readers to draw connections between the story and their own lives.

Marc Teague's illustrations show scenes like Poppleton and Hudson side by side in their beach chairs or all three friends dancing in Cherry Sue's living room. The artwork is especially good at capturing emotions such as Poppleton's embarrassment when Cherry Sue discovers he has "been wearing the same linty sweater for three days." Images such as "Poppleton's lips turned inside-out" from the taste of grapefruit add comic appeal to the stories, above and beyond the already amusing events. There are also step-by-step directions on how to draw Cherry Sue in the back of the book.

With relatable characters, appealing illustrations, and the comfort of being able to find other stories with Poppleton and his friends to read next - the new titles are sure to be popular with young readers.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Winter Reading 2020 Whoo-Ku Haiku


Haiku is the perfect form to share the tale of young owlets and their growth from eggs in a nest to the day they fly off to make their own homes. The brevity of the lines catches the quick pace of life within the forest. The attack of crows. The "Pip. Pip. Pip. Poking." as eggs crack open. "Beating, leaping, teetering" as the young ones try out their wings. Bit by bit readers can see the perils of life in the forest, the protection of the owl parents, and the freedom of wings.

The sepia and watercolor illustrations capture the dazzle of sunbeams filtering through the leaves and the brilliance of a full moon on the treetops. Images also show closeups of the hatchlings sheltered under the mother's wings and the panicked flight of a fledgling from a hungry fox.

Back matter includes details about the senses, feeding habits, and range of the great horned owl. There are also suggested books, websites, and videos for additional information. Whether is is read due to interest in the owls, or as a mentor text for poetry lessons - this is an excellent book for elementary school classrooms and libraries.