Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"The Little House That Stood" (VeggieTales DVD)

About The Little House That Stood  - When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation - following the wise plans from the Master Builder's Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses - and their lives - on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God's blueprints, then can stand strong when the storms come!

Review:  This video, Veggie Tales, Building On A Firm Foundation, has lots of fun music and humor that references the nursery rhymes that all kids are familar with.  Kids and adults will find themselves laughing and singing along while being taught the basic christian principal of building our faith on a firm foundation.  Kids are saying:  
"The three pigs are so funny." 
"I like the town of Cabbageville."  
"I like to sing the silly songs."
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that we would mention it on this blog. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers. This is being disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Adverising."

Monday, April 29, 2013

“… And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them” and “To Secure Essential Liberty” by Michael Taylor

The two books by Michael Taylor “… And Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them” and “To Secure Essential Liberty”  have had a cursory review by a Social Studies teacher on our staff.  This teacher found these books to be profitable for someone that enjoys little known interesting stories and facts as they relate to history and the events that shaped America.    

The books will be a nice addition to our library shelves for students' research for reports or for those students that love reading about history.  The information in these books is not that which you would normally find in your average textbook.  I find it interesting in that it gives insight on some of the lesser known people that had a role in the events of our nation’s development. (rev. by C.Delorge)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary  of each of these books was provided by the author in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely our own.

"The 5 Love Languages for Children" by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell

“The 5 Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell is a must read for every parents as well as anyone that deals with children on a regular basis.  This book provides insight on how to deal children in their own individual way.  The 5 love languages as stated in the book are easily understood and can be put into practice very quickly.  Learning to use each of these 5 languages with all the people you come in contact with will enhance your ability to develop relationships that are lasting and healthy.   

Using these languages with children is of upmost importance as we model for them different ways to express love so that they can then use these techniques in their own relationships as they grow and mature.  Knowing the 5 love languages helps each one of us to understand ourselves better as well; and as we understand ourselves, we are better equipped to pour our lives into others for the glory of God.   

The authors do a wonderful job of explaining the principles and guiding the reader in implementing them into your everyday life.  Clear examples of each of the 5 love languages are given as well as examples of how to deal with children that speak each of the different languages.  This is a very encouraging book that will prove to be a great help to parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone else that deals with children. (rev. by C.Delorge)

Another staff review of this book can be found HEREAnother 5 Love Languages book review can be found HERE.

DISCLOSURE: Complimentary copies of The 5 Love Languages for Children was provided to Alamance Christian School for staff development by the publisher in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

Our Earth's Oceans series: by Doreen Gonzales

Author Doreen Gonzales is an elementary school teacher and she has written a series of marvelous resource books for upper elementary - Our Earth's Oceans.  Each book is less than 50 pages with additional resources at the back of each book.  So much information packed into a few pages.  These books are well laid out with beautiful pictures.  Each page also has a short side bar attached a picture with wonderful tidbits of information. I highly recommend these books even for general reading.  A student cannot go wrong using these books for any type of school report!
Today's review features three of the Our Earth's Oceans books:  The Huge Pacific Ocean, The Mighty Atlantic Ocean, and The Frigid Artic Ocean. Each book shows the distinctively different attributes of these wonderful resources on the Earth - oceans!  The books focus on the ocean's resources, the floor, life of that ocean, and exploration of that particular ocean. 

I particularly like that while the books are obviously written to be resource and informational books for elementary children, they have research attributes for elementary students who are just learning to use and will use throughout life as life-long learners: glossary, fact sheet, bibliography, and index. (rev. P.Howard & V.Godley)

DISCLOSURE: Complimentary copies of these books were given to us by Enslow Publishers, Inc. in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed were solely our own.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"DarknessBefore Dawn" by Ace Collins - Story of grief, teen drinnking and driving, and restoration

Description: On the same night she discovers she is pregnant, twenty-eight-year-old nurse Meg Richards's husband is killed in an auto accident caused by a drunken teen. James Thomas comes from one of the most influential families in the community. He's a star athlete and glamour boy at the local high school. But the accident he caused will change his life---and Meg's future---forever.

Angered by her senseless loss and facing life as a single mother, Meg blames God for what has happened and considers a decision that could change her life even further. Enraged by the brutal trial and the court's decision, Meg starts down a frightening path of retribution. When the opportunity for revenge comes unexpectedly, will Meg follow through? Or will the remnants of her faith lead her in a different direction?

Review:  Well written and easy to read, this book tells the story of  losing a loved one and the grieving process.  This particular book deals with drunk driving and the consequences of driving under the influence.  Even more important, it deals with the subject of teen drunk driving, which is a problem in our society.  Even though this book is Christian fiction, no doubt it is very real to many families.

Meg Richards is the young woman whose husband is killed by a drunk teen driver.  She is full of bitterness and basically turns her back on God.  “How can a God of love allow such a thing to happen?”  She makes it her personal goal to destroy the young man responsible for her husband’s death.  In addition, she receives news that she is expecting their first child within just a few hours of her husband’s death.  This only adds fuel to her bitter spirit.

Ultimately she does destroy the young man.  But God in His grace gives her an opportunity to save the young man and restore her own heart and faith in God.  The author also introduces a character who is instrumental in Meg’s life.  Nancy shows Meg that even though bad things happen, God is still on the throne and in control.

While I felt that the author dwelt on the “bitterness” side a little long, the ending was good.  I appreciated the spotlight being put on the subject of teen drunk driving and how the decision of someone to drink and drive can have devastating and irreversible consequences.  This is a book that is easy to recommend for reading.

Meet Ace: Bestselling author Ace Collins has written more than 60 books including novels "Swope's Ridge" and "Words of the Father," as well as the nonfiction "Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas"; and "Lassie: A Dog's Life". His books have become movies and network television specials. Ace Collins has sold more than 1.5 million books during his career and makes his home in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

More reviews on this book
Learn more about Ace at: http://AceCollins.com
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Darkness Before Dawn was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author and publisher, Abingdon Press in exchange for our honest review.

"Can You Find These Butterflies? by Carmen Bredeson & Linsey Cousins

ISBN: 978-0-7660-3980-3
Description: So many butterflies! This beginner's nature guide is perfect for new readers. Learn how to identify many common butterlies by reading about their traits and seeing photos of the insects in nature. Readers will be excited to start naming the butterflies they see in the world around them.

A wonderful elementary book on butterflies.  Very short, approximately 25 pages, with great pictures.  At the back of the book is a list of additional books to read on the subject of butterflies, as well as a list of websites on the subject.   This book would be especially helpful for any elementary student having to complete a “bug” project.  I even learned a few things about butterflies and the differences.  Highly recommend for any child wanting to learn/know more about butterflies. (rev. P.Howard)

This little book offers the young reader the opportunity to read non-fiction without intimidation and affords a good tool for beginning to learn basic research skills.

We are privileged to review books for Enslow Publishers, Inc. producers of educational materials. Can You Find These Butterflies? is a guided reading level: E book based on the guidelines recommended by Fountas and Pinnell.  Word count for the books is 325. The book is indexed in the back giving young children the opportunity to learn the basics of research in a book. Can You Find These Butterflies? is one title in the All About Nature series.  

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Enslow Publishers, Inc. in exchange for our honest review.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brighten your day with Ace Collins’ Retribution v. Redemption 12-Day Giveaway!

In his latest novel, Darkness Before Dawn (Abingdon Press), Ace Collins leads readers on an emotionally charged ride from revenge to forgiveness.

fb-rafflecopter iconAce is celebrating the release of Darkness Before Dawn with a Retribution v. Redemption 12-Day Giveaway!

Go {HERE} or click the button for all the details. Follow along for a new giveaway each day. (Moleskin journal, books, Starbucks gift cards and so much more!)

"Taylor’s Gift –A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Renewing Hope" by Todd & Tara Storch

Hardcover; $21.99 April 2013

224 pages

ISBN: 9780800721886

About the book:  On what was supposed to be the family trip of a lifetime, thirteen-year-old Taylor Storch's life was tragically cut short after a horrific ski accident two years ago. As Taylor lay unresponsive in the ICU, Todd and Tara clung to any shred of hope that they would see their daughter smile again. Devastated and still in shock about the accident, they were asked a question no parents think they will ever hear: “Would you be willing to donate Taylor’s organs?”

Their answer would change their family’s lives forever and provide hope during their darkest moments. It would also save the lives of five desperate people anxiously waiting for a new heart, a new liver, new corneas and a new kidney.  

Now Todd and Tara Storch, with New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Schuchmann, share their heartbreaking, yet inspirational story, shining a light for those enduring their own ocean of grief. Todd and Tara share the ugly side of their grief. Todd’s impulse to bury himself in work and even worse, to just leave. Tara's inability to come out of the fog of grief for months. Taylor’s death could have destroyed them. Instead, her gift of life brought them hope, knowing her heart had never stopped beating.

Review:Taylor’sGift is a heart-breaking and heart-lifting story at the same time.  The Storch’s lost their daughter, 13-year oldTaylor, in March 2010 while on a family ski trip.  It was the last time down the slopes and Taylor lost control and hit a tree.  Her Dad and brother were witnesses; Mom and sister were back at the lodge waiting.  Todd and Tara Storch made the most difficult decision and that was to donate Taylor ’s organs.  The paths their lives take after making this decision is what Taylor ’s Gift is all about.

Their story is not unique because they lost a child.  It is unique because they chose to tell everyone about their loss and the positive that came out of their grief – an organization dedicated to spreading valuable information about the benefit of organ donation.  The Storchs tell how they met the recipients of their daughter’s organs and the connection felt with each one.

I could not put the book down and I shed many tears while reading the Storchs’ story.  The pain and reality of their loss was evident in each page of the book.  I do not recommend this book for casual reading; but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to read it.  It gave me a newfound respect for those who have suffered such a loss. (rev. P.Howard)

“Available April 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Taylor's Gift was provided in exchange for our honest review by Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

Facebook:Revell ~~ Twitter:@RevellBooks

"Stuck in the Doldrums, A Lesson in Sharing: A Captain No Beard Story" by Carole P. Roman

ISBN: 9781479182701
~ $11.99
I am happy to announce that author Carol P. Roman has just launched her third book in the children's picture series "Captain No Beard."  This time Captain No Beard and his crew are Stuck in the Doldrums. I have been privileged to read Carol's other two Captain No Beard books and review them.  Again our Captain gets himself and his crew stirred up and he gets a bit bossy making life miserable for his crew.
"But who," say you "Is Captain No Beard." Well, he is.... "A young boy named Alexander, his cousin Hallie, and three stuffed animals board his bed and their world is transformed! Set sail with Captain No Beard!"  So cast off on the sea of counterpane and sail on The Flying Dragon with Captain No Beard and his crew.
This colorful, delightfully illustrated third book will engage young readers (or those to whom it is read aloud) and bring loads of entertainment their way.  As they "shiver me timbers" and "ahoy ye maties" through the pages, they find themselves learning lessons right along with Captain No Beard and his crew.  The lesson they learn (and readers will learn) is one of sharing.

The Captain's ship is sailing along when the wind stops and they are "stuck in the doldrums" (a boating/sailing term meaning there is no wind that can be captured with the sails to keep the ship moving).  They are stuck on a deserted island and so they have a bit of play time.  When life gets unpleasant because of someone who doesn't share, we can "get stuck in the doldrums" just as Captain No Beard and his trusty crew of The Flying Dragon.

Delightful crew members are again present in book three: Linus the Lion, Fribbet the Frog, Polly Parrot (every pirate's tale needs a parrot), and Mongo the Monkey. While they get frustrated with the Captain's non-sharing and bossy antics, they do come to his rescue when the need arises.

About the author: Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswoman. She has successfully run a family business with her husband that employs close to five hundred people.  Her first book, Captain No Beard - An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 as well garnered the star of remarkable merit.  Captain No Beard has developed in a series of 3 more books.  Her next project is the book series I Want To Do Yoga Too.  She is currently working on a new educational series that explores different cultures from a child's point of view.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Wishing on Willows" by Katie Ganshert

  • Trade Paperback - $9.99
  • ISBN: 9780307730404
Review: This novel is about a young widow, Robin Price, dealing with a three-year-old son, a struggling cafe, and her fading memories of her husband.  Her allegiance to the small town of Peaks where she has grown up and all her family live is challenged when developer, Ian McKay, seeks to buy her cafe and a mission, "One Life" that can't afford rent elsewhere.  Although her coffee shop, "Willow Tree," is in the red, she feels she can't let go of it because of the ties to her late husband.  On a honeymoon in France, he commented that her eyes lit up in every single cafe they visited and expressed his desire for her to one day have her own cafe!

Her three-year-old, Caleb, is one of the few bright spots in her life and she fights being over-protective of him fearing he will be taken from her, too.  Her cheerleader sister-in-law, Amanda, encourages her to face reality and also give Ian a chance as he seeks a relationship with Robin. 

Robin is a fighter and change doesn't come easily to her, so much so that after chapter after chapter of walls being built up about selling and new relationships, the reader may say "All right, already!  We all know how this is going to end.  Let's just get on with it!"  I'll admit I found the book longer than necessary.   Additionally, I felt the writer could have come up with a more believable ending.  Ian wades into a pond and finds her wedding ring which she had tossed there in total frustration.  Really?  Finding a ring is one thing, but in the bottom of a pond?

Overall, I would give the book two and a half stars out of five.  I tend to like my fiction a little more believable, but that would be non-fiction, wouldn't it??                

DISCLOSURE:  We received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.  (rev.C.Karns, Elementary Music Teacher)

"About Insects: A Guide for Children" by Cathryn Sill and Illustrated by John Sill

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-207-1
About the book: Cathryn and John Sill explain the basic characteristics that all insects share, while offering a close look at a few of the many animals in this diverse category.

As a fabulous addition to an important series for kids, this book explores the fascinating world of insects. Once again, illustrator John Sill and his wife Cathryn have collaborated on the most recent addition to the About... series. They tackle the fascinating and varied world of insects in this easy-to-read and educational book, painting these creatures in their respective natural habitats, explaining what insects are, how they live, and what they do.

The captivating scenes depicted by noted wildlife illustrator John Sill in About Insects aid in the explanation of basic characteristics that all insects share as well as offer a look into the many differences among the animals that fall into this diverse category. As in the previous About... books, an afterword provides further detail on the insects portrayed to inspire young readers to learn more.

Reviews:  This is a captivating book abut insects for primary children.  The illustrations are very colorful and enjoyable. The content is very accurate and interesting. I do feel it would captivate the interest of primary children. The afterword section adds a lot of additional information for the adult reader to share. I would recommend this book for primary children studying insects. (rev. S.Racke, Grade 4 teacher)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was given to us by Peachtree Publishers in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

"The 5 Love Languages for Children" by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.

ISBN-13: 9781881273653
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Review: The book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, M.D. can help parents develop a full-filling relationship with heir children. This book examines five different love languages that will enable parents to meet the individual needs of their children.

I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers that want to reach children individually and cater to their emotional needs.

Children need to know they are loved each and every day. (rev. M.Hicks, Preschool Lead Teacher)

About the book: Does your child speak a different language? Sometimes they wager for your attention, and other times they ignore you completely. Sometimes they are filled with gratitude and affection, and other times they seem totally indifferent. Attitude. Behavior. Development. Everything depends on the love relationship between you and your child. When children feel loved, they do their best. But how can you make sure your child feels loved?

Since 1992, Dr. Gary Chapman's best-selling book The 5Love Languages has helped millions of  couples develop stronger, more fulfilling relationships by teaching them to speak each others' love language. Each child, too, expresses and receives love through one of five different communication styles. And your love language may be totally different from that of your child. While you are doing all you can to show your child love, he may be hearing it as something completely opposite. Discover your child's primary language and learn what you can do to effectively convey unconditional feelings of respect, affection, and commitment that will resonate in your child's emotions and behavior.
DISCLOSURE: Complimentary copies of The 5 Love Languages for Children were provided in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. The 5 Love Language books are being utilized for in-service training for the faculty of ACS.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cupcake Club membership GIVEAWAY to Celebrate the Release of "Sweet Sanctuary" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

To celebrate the release of  Sweet Sanctuary Kim Vogel Sawyer is giving away a Cupcake Club membership (monthly cupcake delivery!) from the amazing Magnolia Bakery in New York and hosting a Facebook Author Chat party {4/30}!


One "sweet" winner will receive:
    • Cupcakes from NYC’s Magnolia Bakery delivered to your door every month. (Eat them all yourself or share!)
    • Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer for you and four of your friends. (Start a book group — cupcakes and a "sweet" read!)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Sweet Sanctuary" Author Chat Party on 4/30. Connect with Kim, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at a trivia contest, and chat with readers just like yourself. There will also be fun giveaways - gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Sweet Sanctuary and join Kim on the evening of April 30th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 30th!

And watch for our review of Sweet Sanctuary here on Reader's Haven Reviews coming soon

Friday, April 12, 2013

"Noah Webster Father of the Dictionary" by Isabele Proudfit

This biography for young readers was originally published in 1942.  It is truly encouraging to see it reprinted and available to students.  Noah Webster was an exciting figure in the early days of American history.  And of course, he is really known for probably his greatest achievement  was most likely the The American Dictionary.

This student biography, “Noah Webster Father of the Dictionary” by Isabel Proudfit is well written and an enjoyable read for upper elementary and middle grade students.   The author presents the life of Webster as it is woven into the fabric of a young America and the growing pains that were experienced in that time. 

Webster’s life is a wonderful example of what a person can do when they accept their strengths and use them to their best ability.  This is not a picture of an easy life, but a life of determination to make a difference.  The author uses clear language to lead the reader on the journey of Webster’s life in an interesting fashion that draws the reader into the time period.  Middle school readers will enjoy the details of everyday life of a child, while at the same time learning about the history of America.

The vocabulary is interesting with words unfamiliar to us today but commonly used in the day of Webster.
I would recommend this as a fun read for both boys and girls.  (rev.Claudette Delorge)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for our honest review from BookCrash on behalf of the publisher. Opinions expressed are solely our own.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Floors" by Patrick Carman

Book Synopsis: Charlie had his chocolate factory. Stanley Yelnats had his holes. Leo has the wacky, amazing Whippet Hotel.

The Whippet Hotel is a strange place full of strange and mysterious people. Each floor has its own quirks and secrets. Leo should know most of them – he is the maintenance man’s son, after all. But a whole lot more mystery gets thrown his way when a series of cryptic boxes are left for him . . . boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and unexpected alliances. Leo had better be quick on his feet, because the fate of the building he loves is at stake . . . and so is Leo’s own future!

Review: Absolutely a great book!!  "Floors" is the first book in a new series by Mr. Carman.   I actually read the second book in Mr. Carman's series, "3 Below" first and was hooked from the get go.  So when given the opportunity to read Floors (book one), I jumped at it eagerly.  Even though I was familiar with the characters, I found the story exciting, mysterious, and an absolutely fun read.  The target age is upper elementary to middle school, but this book would be enjoyable for all ages.

The Whippet Hotel's creator, Merganzer Whippet, has been gone for over 100 days and Leo Fillmore is wondering if his friend will ever return.  Leo is the janitor's son and thinks that he knows just about everything there is to know about the Whippet Hotel.  But more mystery and adventure are in store for Leo when he receives four boxes that lead him to secret floors within the Hotel.  Leo forms a friendship with Remi, the hotel maid's son, and they both are soon on their way to great fun!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one afternoon.  I won't hesitate to read any future books in this series! (rev.P.Howard)

About the author:  Patrick Carman is the award-winning author of many books for young adults and children. He grew up in Salem, Oregon, and graduated from Willamette University. His birthday is February 27th, 1966. He spent a decade living in Portland, where he worked in advertising, game design, and technology.

Patrick Carman has been a life long writer and storyteller. He writes books for young adults and children for Scholastic and Little Brown Books For Young Readers. His bestselling series work includes The Land of Elyon, Atherton, Elliot’s Park, 39 Clues, and Skeleton Creek. Mr. Carman’s books have been translated into approximately two dozen languages.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of "Floors" was given to us in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.

"Lost in Lexicon - An Adventure in Words and numbers" by Pendred Noyce

About the book:  When thirteen-year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne go on a treasure hunt in the rain one summer day, they never expect to stumble into a whole new world where words and numbers run wild.

After the cousins outwit a plague of punctuation, grateful villagers beg them to find Lexicon’s missing children, who have been enticed away by dancing lights in the sky. Trekking between villages in search of clues, the cousins encounter a talking thesaurus, a fog of forgetting, the Mistress of Metaphor, a panel of poets, feuding parts of speech, and the illogical mathematicians of Irrationality. When a careless Mathemystical reflects them across the border into the ominous Land of Night, their peril deepens. Kidnapped, imprisoned, and mesmerized—with time running out—will Ivan and Daphne find a way to solve the mystery of the lights in the sky and restore the lost children of Lexicon to their homes? http://www.lostinlexicon.com

Review: A fun book to read.  It's target age is 9-12 year olds; however, older "kids" will certainly enjoy this book as well.  Ivan & Daphne are cousins spending the summer at their Aunt Adelaide's farm.  Aunt Adelaide forbids Ivan and Daphne to have any "tech" gadgets while visiting.  They have played every card game, board game and read all the books Aunt Adelaide has to offer.  Quickly becoming bored, Ivan and Daphne begin to argue and fight.  Tired of their arguing, Aunt Adelaide sends them out to the barn with a riddle.  Ivan and Daphne discover another world full of adventure -- a world full of grammar and riddles. 

In this day when tech gadgets and internet seemed to have replaced the printed word, this book reminds us of how much fun reading can be.  For those readers who just have to have their computer time, there is a nice website of words games:  www.lostinlexicon.com.  

Although the book is a little lengthy, it is definitely worth the read.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Lost in Lexicon was given in exchange for our honest review from Scarletta Publishing on behalf of the author. 

"The Ice Castle -- An Adventure in Music - Lexicon Adventure Series Book Two" by Pendred Noyce

About the book:   “The music hinted at beauty and adventure. She took a breath, turned around, and plunged into the forest.”

The return to Lexicon begins when thirteen-year-old cousins Ivan and Daphne find their Aunt Adelaide deathly ill. Leaving their aunt to rest, Ivan and Daphne accidentally let their younger cousin, Lila, in on their secret world of Lexicon.

Ivan and Daphne must track Lila, who disappears, through the frozen landscape to the Land of Winter where social status and freedom are determined by how well one sings. Fortunately for Lila, her musical talent lands her in the most favorable place. Separated by class now, the cousins face cold, hunger, poverty, illness, injustice, and the malicious plotting of a power-hungry blind man. Slave, servant, and fine lady, the three cousins must escape their own imprisonment before they reunite, provoke a revolution, and restore spring to the Land of Winter.

Review: Pendred Noyce has once again written a really fun book to read.  Although this book is more lengthy than Ms. Noyce's first book, "Lost in Lexicon," it is still enjoyable.

Ivan receives a package in the mail from Aunt Adelaide.  Knowing that she would not have sent it unless something was seriously wrong, Ivan and Daphne learn that Aunt Adelaide is gravely ill and near death.  While visiting Aunt Adelaide, she makes some mysterious comments that cause Ivan and Daphne to return to the secret world of Lexicon.  Only this time, their younger cousin Lila learns of the secret world and follows them.   Their return to the world of Lexicon takes them through some wonderful adventures where "your social status and freedom are determined by how well one sings."

It is wonderful how a book can be so entertaining while being educational as well.  "The Ice Castle" is the second book in a series.  Looking forward future books from Ms. Noyce.  (rev P.Howard)

Author information:  Pendred (Penny) Noyce is a doctor, education reformer, and writer. She grew up in Silicon Valley, California, surrounded by apricot orchards and fields of mustard. Along with her brother and sisters, she rode ponies, put on plays, and explored the rapidly changing countryside.

As an adult, Penny has practiced internal medicine, supervised medical residents, and become a leader in Massachusetts mathematics and science education reform. She serves on a number of nonprofit boards.

DISCLOSURE: We received a complimentary copy of The Ice Castle in exchange for our honest review from Scarletta Publishing

Monday, April 1, 2013

"Fish Finelli - Seagulls Don't Eat Pickles" by E. S. Farber

ISBN-13: 9781452108209
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
About the book: When the Whooping Hollow town bully, Bryce Billings, bets Fish Finelli that he can't find Captain Kidd's treasure, Fish and his best buds Roger and T.J. must embark on a quest to find the long-lost booty!  Between sneaking into the library to track down Captain Kidd's treasure map, stowing away on a boat, and trespassing on the legendary Lyons Island, Fish and his friends are up to their necks in "goose poop!"  Will Fish be able to find Captain Kidd's treasure, make Bryce eat his words, and win the bet?  Chock-full of secret handshakes, black-and-white illustrations, and cool sidebars featuring fun facts, the first book in this new series is a must read! (back of book)

Review: "Fish Finelli" was an advance readers' copy sent to Alamance Christian School (set to be released on April 16, 2013) and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.  I whole-heartedly agree with the above statement from the back of the book -- "a must read."  While the "genre" of the book is listed for middle school, it is easily suitable for 4th grade and up.  It is a "kid friendly" read, packed full of adventure.
While reading the story, you will find tidbits of information on the sides of the pages that make the story even more interesting.  Such as who Marco Polo is, what an osprey is, how the microwave came to be, and even that gum is made from rubber.  The "tidbits" are short and easy for the reader to remember. 

This first book in this new children's series is great and I look for to future additions!! (reviewer P.Howard)

Author: E.S. Farber is the mother of a boy who likes facts along with his fiction, which inspired her to write Fish Finelli. She has authored numerous books for children. She lives in Amagansett, New York.
 Illustrator, Jason Beene is the art director of Callaway Digital Arts, teaches at MIT and RISD, makes games, and is father to two girls. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
DISCLOSURE: A copy was provided through a giveaway program requesting a review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer and receipt of the book was not contingent on a favorable review.