Saturday, February 27, 2021

Winter Reading 2021 My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

Need a book to offer a reader who loves Mrs. Brooks Loves Books (And I Don't)? Try the story of Henley who still has not found a book that he loves. It is not that he doesn't try.  He visits the library and the book store. He has even tried books about "cats chasing mice up a mountain while aliens eat pickles with monsters." Henley has taken books to the pool to see if they can swim (yikes!), is tempted to use others as pillows, and would "rather see how many grapes" he can fit into his mouth than read recipes to help fix dinner. With all his efforts, he has not found a single book that can be called a favorite. Then his mother makes a comment that gives him a wonderful way to complete his assignment and share the book with his class.

Illustrations show Henley offering books to dinosaurs in the museum, stuffing his face with grapes, and frowning as his teacher gives the assignment for the class to bring in their favorite book to share. Adults will laugh at the titles shown in the bookstore's front window like Dial "B" for Boring or ZZZZZZZ and a sign that reads "SALE on boring books." And Henley's classmates are a diverse group that will allow readers to see themselves within the pages.

Written by Super Bowl champ and literacy crusader Malcolm Mitchell, his author note explains that "this book offers the true story of my life as a reader." What better way to encourage others who have not yet stumbled upon the book that cements their love of reading? 

Winter Reading 2021 The Thingity-Jig

Bear finds a perfect thingity-jig to play with, but his friends are too busy sleeping to help. What can Bear do except put his tinkering skills to work and build a contraption to get the thingity-jig home? This book shows how someone with maker-space skills can solve a variety of problems using materials at hand. There are examples of onomatopoeia - "Bingity. Bing. Boing!" Although it is not a rhyming text, it has a Seussian quality with its descriptions of "... a springy thing. A bouncy thing. A sit-on-it, hop-on-it, jump-on-it thing." The pencil, ink, and digital illustrations show a bear about the size of a small child who has a grand time bouncing and jumping and building, taking "matters into his own paws." Fox, Rabbit, and Raccoon aren't so enthusiastic in the middle of the night - perfectly showing a situation where one friend's enthusiasm is not appreciated or acted upon by the rest of the group. And, of course, once the thingity-jig is available, those reluctant friends monopolize it as poor Bear stands by and waits for his turn.

Great for young kids who enjoy playing with friends, tinkering and building, and books full of phrases fun to read aloud. Sure to be a bedtime or story time favorite. Publication date April 1st.

Winter Reading 2021 Spi-ku: A Clutter of Short Verses on Eight Legs

Perfect for spider enthusiasts and teachers looking for mentor texts to encourage students to respond to science units in creative ways. Each spread includes a block of text about a topic (mealtime,  movement, senses, etc.), one or more poems about the topic, and illustrations that showcase spiders carrying out the actions described. Readers will see spiders peeking from beneath a chef's hat, diving underwater, and building trapdoors among a variety of other activities. Nonfiction features include a table of contents,  glossary, spider identification guide, suggestions for further study, a size comparison chart, and a guide to poetic forms used in the book. There is also an explanation of how to go on a spider hunt to find and observe spiders.

Whether readers are looking for details about spider anatomy (there is a full-page diagram), or which creatures in the arachnid family are true spiders, there are plenty of facts to be explored. Each spread has a heading referenced in the table of contents and some of them are quite funny, such as "Worldwide Webbers" for the spread about spider web creation. The variety of poetic forms is also excellent for classroom use - with examples of haiku, tanka, cinquain, dodoitsu, concrete, and other forms. 

Recommended for upper elementary/middle grade classes or spider enthusiasts.

Monday, February 22, 2021

One Jar of Magic Awareness Tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Enter for a chance to win a set of books by Corey Ann Haydu, including One Jar of Magic.

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic

  • A hardcover copy of Eventown

  • A hardcover copy of The Someday Suitcase

  • A hardcover copy of Rules for Stealing Stars

Four (4) winners receive:

  • A hardcover copy of One Jar of Magic

The giveaway begins February 9, 2021, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends March 8, 2021, at 11:59 P.M. MT.


One Jar of Magic

Written by Corey Ann Haydu

Publisher’s Synopsis: Magic is like a dream. Delightful. Terrifying. Unreal.

Rose Alice Anders is Little Luck. Lucky to be born into the Anders family. Lucky to be just as special and magical as the most revered man in town—her father. The whole town has been waiting for Rose to turn twelve, when she can join them in their annual capturing of magic on New Year’s Day and become the person she was born to be.

But when that special day finally comes, Rose barely captures one tiny jar of magic. Now Rose’s dad won’t talk to her anymore and her friendships have gotten all twisted and wrong. So when Rose hears whispers that there are people who aren’t meant for magic at all, she begins to wonder if that’s who she belongs with.

Maybe if she’s away from all the magic, away from her dad telling her who she’s meant to be, who she has to be, Rose can begin to piece together what’s truly real in a world full of magic.

Ages 8-12 | 352 Pages | Publisher: HarperCollins | ISBN-13: 9780062689856







Corey Ann Haydu is the author of Eventown, The Someday Suitcase, and Rules for Stealing Stars and four acclaimed books for teens. She grew up in the Boston area, earned her MFA at the New School, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Oscar.

Find out more at


What is it like to be a child about to reach your 12th birthday and have impossible expectations thrust upon you by your father and, by extension, your hometown? Rose Alice Anders was born on New Year’s Eve the year that her father captured the most jars of magic anyone had ever heard of. Since that time he has called her Little Luck and continually told her that she will be just as magical as he is.

But is magic such a good thing? Should all life’s problems be solved by applying a magical bandaid? Worried about football tryouts? Open a jar of magic. Want a different hair color? Open a jar of magic. Yet, with all the jars crowding their house, Rose isn’t sure that their family is happy. If magic is so important and special, she wonders why things aren’t easier.

As Rose and the reader learn, magic isn’t a cure-all. It can’t help you hold onto friends that are growing up and growing apart. It can’t keep loved ones from dying. It can’t hold families together. But maybe there is something better than magic. Maybe human efforts and skills that have gone unappreciated in the town of Belling Bright are more important than the townsfolk have been willing to admit. And maybe one jar of magic is enough.

This is a great story for anyone who is feeling the pressure of conforming, meeting unreasonable expectations, or questioning all the books about magic that don’t show a downside. Without giving away a big spoiler, I just want to say that there are young readers who are going to identify strongly with Rose and will appreciate the additional information in the author’s note.


February 9

The Children's Book Review

Book Review

February 10

Crafty Moms Share

Book Review

February 11

The Children's Book Review


February 12

Lisa's Reading

Book List

February 15

Barbara Ann Mojica's Blog

Book Review

February 16

The Children's Book Review

Book List

February 17

Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Mom

Book Review

February 18

J.R.s Book Reviews

Book Review

February 19

Library Lady's Kid Lit


February 22

Word Spelunking

Guest Post

February 23

Fairview Elementary School (Library)

Book Review

February 24

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Book Review

February 25



The Fairview Review is participating in the tour in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and HarperCollins Publishers.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Winter Reading 2021 Peter Lee's Notes from the Field


What do you get when you mix a 10-year-old brother who is crazy about dinosaurs, a younger sister who is a child prodigy, and a family trip to the Alberta Badlands and a real paleontology dig at the Royal Tyrrell Museum? Well...uncomfortable hotel rooms, asthma attacks, and a little too much togetherness is a pretty good guess.

Peter Lee loves dinosaurs and plans to become a paleontologist. His little sister L.B. is enrolled in numerous enrichment programs (a gifted child), but the family decides to take a trip so that Peter can live his dream of participating in a real dig. Things ought to be great, but Peter and L.B. have both been noticing that their grandmother is more confused and forgetful every day. This might be their last trip together.

Peter is a "Canadian-born Korean" whose grandparents Hammy and Haji live nearby and are very involved in his life. The story of how his grandparents met, the family's day at a KoreanCanadian festival, and other details give readers a glimpse of the cultural background of Peter's family. #OwnVoices

If you know someone who loves realistic fiction - this book deals with obnoxious classmates, a mother determined to have her children reach their full potential, sibling relationships, families coping with the stress of dementia, and overcoming disappointments. This also has enough action and humor to make it a good classroom read-aloud for middle grades. Publication date is March 2, 2021. 

Winter Reading 2021 Journey Around the Sun: The Story of Halley's Comet

Told from the point of view of the comet, this picture book traces the history of humanity's fascination with this celestial visitor. Various times in history are shown and small-print captions within the illustrations provide extra details. Observations from Ancient Greece, imperial era China and medieval England offer varying descriptions and dates of the comet's appearances. Images show the different ways the comet was described - "a hairy star," "a bushy star," "a great sword of flame," and even a peacock's tail. 

It is amazing to think that civilizations as far back as 240 BCE and as far apart as China, Babylonia, Italy, and Egypt have all documented sightings over the centuries.  And the inclusion of the comet in clay tablets,  paintings, writings, and tapestries preserved the information for later generations. Edmond Halley is introduced as the first to predict the comet's return, then later viewing parties and observers are shown, including the Giotto spacecraft. The final spread predicts the next return and asks if the reader will be watching.

An author's note about his own viewing of Halley's Comet, an explanation of comets with a labeled photo showing the nucleus, coma, and tails. A list of sources from the author's research are included.

An entertaining and informative way to introduce young readers to Halley's Comet and comets in general. Scheduled for publication March 15, 2021.

Winter Reading 2021 The Spirit of Animal Healing

I had not read Dr. Marty's previous work, so this was my introduction to his integrative practice of veterinary medicine. I appreciated the discussion of how he came to explore the various methods used in his clinic such as acupuncture, nutraceuticals (nutritional supplements), magnetic wave therapy, etc. Since I have friends who have used magnets in treating fibro myalgia and supplements for conditions from arthritis to acid reflux, I know that surgery and standard prescriptions are not the only ways that can be used to improve health. And I have heard of holistic and integrative vets, but have not seen firsthand how they use the various approaches for treatment.

Dr. Marty includes plenty of examples from his practice to illustrate how increasing vitamins or minerals for various patients helped to clear up stubborn issues, or how he was willing to try the Magna Wave himself before offering it to his animal patients. There are also short articles/essays by other experts that he has consulted or worked with to explain how they developed their approach and shared it with him.

If you are looking for a different way to care for your fur babies and appreciate less processed food, holistic treatment, and trying to rebalance the natural systems within your animal friend's body - then you should read this book and get some pointers on where to look for more information about products to try and finding practitioners in your area. The discussion on the lack of quality nutrition in pet food is probably worth the price of the entire book, and that is just one section within all the information presented.

Winter Reading 2021 The Old Boat


Have you already found and loved The Old Truck? Been wishing for more delightful picture book fun from the Pumphrey brothers? Then you are in for a treat. Their new book, The Old Boat, will be released on March 2 - so you only have a month to wait!

Just like the wonderful story of the truck, this book is also based on family history and childhood experiences. "Our grandmother took us and our brothers fishing and crabbing when we were younger. Our grandfather gave us his old bay boat when we got older," say Jarrett and Jerome. They credit their grandparents with resilience and teaching their parents to create better lives for themselves and their children. That resilience comes through in this deceptively simple story.

Rather than a child and her parents (as in The Old Truck), this time we see a boy and his grandmother enjoying their time fishing on the boat. As the boy grows and ventures farther from shore, readers also will see the pollution in the water increase. Finally, the boat wrecks and the young man is washed on shore. The cleanup of the local waters and the building of his own family bring the story circling back to a grandparent/grandchild relationship like the one that started the book.

Just as the old truck finds new life as the young farmer restores it to once again work on the farm, the old boat finds a new purpose as a marine habitat after its sinking. Both books are powerful portrayals of close families and have the added bonus of showing Black characters in settings other than urban streets.