Thursday, June 22, 2023

Pirate & Penguin Virtual Book Tour


Pirate & Penguin Book Giveaway


Pirate & Penguin

Written by Mike Allegra

Illustrated by Jenn Harney

Ages 4+ | 32 Pages

Publisher: Page Street Kids (2023) | ISBN-13: 9781645677123

Publisher’s Book Summary: What happens when a pirate, hoping for a parrot, stumbles upon a bird of a duller plumage?

Pirate doesn’t know that Penguin is a penguin. But any bird can sit on a shoulder and squawk “shiver me timbers”…right?

Laugh along with Pirate and Penguin in this high seas tale of mistaken identity and find out whether they’ll find friendship before somebody walks the plank.




Barnes and Noble


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a pirate in possession of a good ship, must be in want of a parrot. And our titular pirate is no exception. So when a penguin plops onto the deck of his ship, he immediately assumes this bird is a parrot and that “the blazin’ sun seems ta have faded yer parroty plumage.” Thus begins the start of a rocky relationship. The penguin seems less than impressed with the paint job that is meant to restore the parrot colors. The pirate is frustrated by the penguin’s inability to perch on his shoulder or repeat piratey words like hornswoggle, doubloons, or booty. But when things come to a head, will they be able to compromise or will one of them wind up overboard? Illustrations show the penguin in rainbow colors (after the paint job), the pirate’s “UNDERGARRRRMENTS!” with a lovely pattern of skull and crossbones, and quite a bit of physical comedy as the characters interact. And make sure you pay attention to all the images for a final laugh. Pirate terms are used throughout the book along with lots of “arrrrrrr” sounds. (No pirate can speak without those.) This is a book perfect for read-aloud fun. It would be great for Talk Like a Pirate Day, as part of a book set with other pirate-themed stories, or to compare/contrast with Tacky the Penguin (another odd bird). I cannot wait to read this with my students.


Mike Allegra sailed into uncharted writing waters to create an all-dialogue story with an unexpected pirate character: a little dotty, well-meaning, and unusually patient (anyone would snap if a penguin trashed their ship and spit out their cracker). He’s written a number of other books for children, including Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) and Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist (Sourcebooks). He also works as an editor and a creative writing teacher.

Visit his website at and say, "Ahoy


Jenn Harney had a blast creating the art for this story because who doesn’t love pirates and penguins? Together at last! She’s illustrated many other children’s books, including Hornswoggled! (Page Street Kids), and even authored a couple as well. She lives in Ohio with her family and their corgi named Steve.

Visit her online at


Monday, June 19, 2023

The Children’s Book Review

Pirate & Penguin Book Tour Kick-Off

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

icefairy’s Treasure Chest

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Me Two Books

Book Activity Paired with Pirate & Penguin

Thursday, June 22, 2023

The Momma Spot

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Friday, June 23, 2023

The Fairview Review

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Monday, June 26, 2023

Twirling Book Princess

Book Giveaway of Pirate & Penguin

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

A Blue Box Full of Books

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin and Little Free Library Drop

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Cover Lover Book Review

Author Interview with Mike Allegra

Thursday, June 29, 2023

The Review Wire

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Friday, June 30, 2023

My Reading Getaway

Author Interview with Mike Allegra

Monday, July 3, 2023

Because I Said So

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Writer with Wanderlust

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Get Outside and Read

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Friday, July 7, 2023

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Monday, July 10, 2023

Crafty Moms Share

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

One More Exclamation

Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

Wednesday, July 12, 2023


Book Review of Pirate & Penguin

This post is sponsored by Page Street Kids. The review and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Summer Reading 2023 Four Found Dead

Many of us have worked dead-end jobs as teens. You know the kind I mean; jobs that help you earn spending money during high school, but you honestly can't see yourself staying there past graduation. But this story takes that name literally - and these teens don't all make it out of that last night of work alive.

This is a creepy thriller set in a closed shopping mall. The teens work at the last business still in operation, the movie theater. Now the theater has reached its last night and everyone is eager to finish cleanup and head out for a celebratory meal together. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. The doors are locked, their keys and phones are locked in the safe and only the manager can get them back out, and now the manager has disappeared. And they start finding the bodies. Is it one of them or are they trapped with a stranger who is a killer?

As they try to survive the night and find a way out of the mall they are thwarted time and again. When one plan after another fails they begin to doubt each other. Trust unravels. Their numbers dwindle. And they begin to fear none of them will make it out alive. The writing brings the deserted mall to an eerie reality in our imaginations as the kids scramble through the empty food court, hide behind abandoned kiosks, and search through storefronts covered with drop cloths for an exit.

If you have ever had a nightmare where a familiar place became almost unrecognizable and frightening, then you will be able to sympathize with the characters trapped in this once everyday setting. You may never see a mall the same way again. 

This just came out in May and will give plenty of readers chills despite the summer heat.

Summer Reading 2023 This Delicious Death


Looking for some YA horror to sink your teeth into this summer? (Yes, I meant to do that.) Try this title from Kayla Cottingham that just came out in April. In this world nearly the same as ours, there is one tiny difference. A percentage of  humanity became victims of the Hollowing, which transformed them into...well...basically zombies. They need to eat human flesh to survive, so scientists have invented a synthetic version that fills the need and keeps the hollow ones from eating their friends and family in a feral feeding frenzy (say that three times fast). 

Fast forward two years. A group of friends are headed to the Desert Bloom music festival to celebrate their high school graduation. All four of the young women in the group also happen to be one of the hollow people. But with a cooler full of Synthflesh organs and a playlist of indie bands, they head off to have some fun before they go their separate ways with college and careers. The problem is, someone at the festival is trying to bring out the feral side of all the affected. If ordinary humans are frightened enough, what might they do?

The story alternates between the events at the festival and the backstory of each of the teens. Readers will be rooting for these hollow girls to solve the  mystery and save themselves and everyone else. It is not a tale for the faint of heart. Descriptions of  someone who can unhinge their "jaw like an anaconda to swallow a human heart whole" will not appeal to the squeamish - but they will probably get that message from the cover. For those who want to know exactly what they may encounter, there is a content warning page with a list of topics included in the narrative.

However, for those who would enjoy a story that has elements of World War Z and "True Blood," this is a thrill ride of a summer read.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Summer Reading 2023 Death Comes to Marlow

Crossword puzzle author Judith, vicar's wife Becks, and dog-sitter Suzie are at it once again. When they attend the garden party of Sir Peter Bailey and he is killed during the course of the afternoon, the women are involved from the start of the murder investigation. D.S. Tanika Malik is familiar with the ladies and even appreciates their rather unorthodox help in solving a case last summer, so she isn't too surprised when they insert themselves into this latest tragedy. It seems to have been a terrible accident; a large cabinet had fallen over on Sir Peter and no one else was in the room. But Judith isn't so sure and she convinces the others to help her look into the lives of everyone close to the deceased.

This case (and story) have plenty to keep mystery-lovers turning the pages and puzzling over clues. There is an ex-wife, the almost bride who would have married Sir Peter the next day, the adult son and daughter of the family, rumors of an altered will, and odd physical evidence at the scene. Just to keep things interesting, add in mysterious behavior from Becks, newfound radio celebrity for Suzie, and Judith's curiosity over anomalies she has noticed in puzzles created by another crossword author. Does any of it connect with the death of Sir Peter? Was it an accident or a locked room murder? What will these three friends find out?

Fans who enjoyed the first book in the series will be glad to have the gang back in action and find them just as entertaining in this new outing. Readers new to the series will want to quickly backtrack and read The Marlow Murder Club to find out how the group came together and began their careers as amateur sleuths. Everyone will be satisfied with the ending and eager for the next installment.

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

Summer Reading 2023 Ellie Engle Saves Herself!


"If you want to be a hero the first thing you have to do is have a great origin story." Ellie Engle knows that - because she is a comic book reader and has learned a lot from superhero tales. The problem is Ellie never wanted to be a hero. Ellie's life is fairly ordinary and that is okay with her. She has her mom (although she is always at work), her pet goldfish (although a fish is hard to cuddle), and her time at the bakery helping out Mr. Walker (her grandpa's buddy). Most of all, she has her best friend Abby. Abby is the one determined to make her mark on the world and Ellie is content to cheer Abby on from the sidelines.

After an earthquake hits their town and it seems that Ellie has developed a super power, suddenly everything is out of control. Reporters are hounding Ellie and her mom, keeping their house under siege. Abby has decided to join the cheerleading squad at school and suddenly only has time for her new friends just when Ellie needs her. A mean student in class posts a video of Ellie that captures the attention of a pop star, pushing Ellie into the spotlight and making Abby jealous. On top of everything else, Ellie realizes she has a crush on Abby. Middle school is hard enough without all those extra problems. Will the lessons Ellie has learned from the stories of superheroes be enough to see her through this crisis, or has she met her doom?

Ellie is a believable character caught up in some unbelievable situations and readers will root for her as she works out the best way to get her life back under control. And we may also be quietly hoping that the meanies get their just desserts.

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