Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Frog's Tadpole Trouble by Tatyana Feeney

Little Frog has Mom and Dad and they make three.  He's perfectly happy with that and isn't thrilled when his parents tell him they are having nine tadpoles.  What can tadpoles do???

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this picture book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I was the oldest sibling in my family and I sure didn't want my little brother.  I couldn't understand what I'd done wrong that made them want another child.  And if they wanted one, I either wanted a younger sister or an older brother.  Too bad Mom wouldn't cooperate.

If you are expecting, this is nice picture book that shows how tadpoles were boring when young and then how much fun they had together when they turned into frogs.  Even little brothers grow up some day.

I liked the use of colors in the illustrations.  It's mainly green, with little pink touches here and there.  That simple color use made them stand out.  The story is easy to read, topical for new parents, and suitable for all young readers.  Maybe the new baby idea is someone else in the family or in your circle of friends.  It also teaches the child about how tadpoles turn into frogs.

I have to admit, I found frogs much more interesting than tadpoles, too.  How about you?

The Garden Plot by Marty Wingate

Pru has left Texas and her job and gone to her "roots"; she's living in London and has a year long lease on a house.  Her plan is to find the perfect job and stay in London.  Her job search isn't going that well, though.  And then she finds a murdered man!

Alibi and Net Galley let me read this story for review (thank you).  It will be published May 6th.  If you like cozy mysteries, you won't want to miss the start of this new series.

Another thing Pru left behind was her old "sort of" boyfriend.  She doesn't miss the job or the fella but her goal is to get a permanent job so she can afford to live in London.  She keeps getting rejection letters and her spirits are down.  When she takes on a local job and there is a buried mosaic inside the shed, she's interested in the history behind it.  So are a lot of other people.  Some of them want it for personal gain.

The only good part about being involved in the murder is that she meets the police inspector.  He's attractive and single.  He's also always lecturing her about her questions meddling in his case.  He keeps telling her it's dangerous for her to be involved.  She's so sure who isn't the killer, she doesn't pay attention to who might be.  That's a very bad move on her part.

The gardening knowledge shared is interesting and accurate, the plot holds your attention, and a romance develops between Pru and Christopher, the police inspector.  Every chance they have to go on a date, something comes up and they have to cancel.  Pru decides she'll have to go back to the states since her lease is running out and she has no regular job.

One of my fun things in this read was Pru learning the English's nicknames vs American nicknames.  Also, I loved how the author ended this story.  It was a last minute happy ever after and it made such an impression on me I have pre-ordered this ebook as the very first ebook to be a "keeper" on my hand-me-down Kindle.  I'll reread this story and take a bit more time to savor it later.

The best part is that Pru will be back again.  You can watch for more from Ms. Wingate.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian

You've seen the odd cars that companies make:  the Cube, the Mini Cooper, big four wheel drive pickups and SUVs and the even smaller electric cars.  That's in the here and now.  Wait until you see the cars and trucks in this book!

Random House Children's Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  The book has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

The authors have all sorts of silly ideas about vehicles of the future and express it in rhyme.  Jeremy Holmes is the illustrator and he depicts each odd auto in a funky graphic.  They have a dragon wagon (is that related to the Dodge Power Wagon?), an eel-ectric car, a high heel car and many more.  They're all fun to look at.

There are also little hidden things in the illustrations.  See if you child can find the Royal Throne; it's in plain sight.  Another fun thing to do would be to look at the cover after you've read the book and see if you can name all the cars on there.  Which car is your favorite?  I think the love car is mine.

Tales from High Hallack, Volume 2: the collected short stories of Andre Norton

I've always loved Andre Norton's work.  She had a marvelously rich imagination and she loved cats and added them to her stories.  She could write about anything and make it interesting.  Her sci fi stories are always a pleasure to read.

Premier Digital Publishing and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 20th, so make a note to grab it then.

High fantasy, fables, science fiction, coming of age stories, and more are included in Norton's work.  Many of these stories came from Witch World.  The stories range from the 1930s forward.  They haven't lost any charm with age and are still a joy to read.

I started reading this one evening and didn't stop until I was done.  Magical worlds grab me, nice flowing words speak to me, and Ms. Norton's tales amuse me.  Her women are strong, her cats are smart and sometimes deadly, and there's hints of romance here and there.  These stories are my "cup of tea" and I'm thankful I had the chance to read her work again.

If you haven't met Andre's writing yet, try this sample of her style and her way of getting her point across.  I bet you'll get hooked, too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

When Astri's father immigrates to America, he leaves them with their aunt.  He promises to send money and news, but she and her sister never see any.  When the goatman comes to get a new goat girl, the aunt gives him Astri.

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first of this month, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This concept for this book is interesting:  Mix an old fairytale while telling a new one and give the reader twice as much pleasure.

The goatman is not a nice man.  He lives in a hovel, he keeps some outbuildings locked and he barely shares any food with her.  When he starts to push her to marry him, she knows she has to leave.  When she escapes, she takes the young girl she found incarcerated in one of those outbuildings.  She also gets her little sister, Greta.  She's bound and determined to get to America.

The original tale is Norwegian.  The two fairytales are similar and it enhances the current story being told.  Astri and Greta have quite a journey ahead of them.  Even travel on the boat isn't safe.

What made the story entertaining was how Ms. Preus wove her two tales together.  Life was not easy for these girls, but it's not easy for anyone trying to immigrate.  Even more interesting is the fact that the reason the author wrote this story is because it came from a few lines in her great-great-grandmother's diary.  She includes a picture from long ago and a copy of a page of the diary.  The story is fictional; the circumstances are authentic.

I liked it.  Why don't you give it a try?

Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan

This story is filled with calamities.  First they are expected to wear bubble gum colored dresses and be flower girls at the wedding.  Then their access to the kitchen is limited so they can't show off their baking prowess.  And the little brother and the dog create a bigger mess by eating specialty items the new cook has made.  How can they save this wedding?

Disney Book Group and Net Galley gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published May 13th, so check with your local bookstore then to get a copy.

This is a cute story about two young cousins who want to prove they would be a bigger help by cooking desserts than by wearing those ugly dresses.  They had plans but we all know how that goes.  There's a new cook who doesn't want them in her kitchen.  Their dog loves bacon and destroys one whole tray of hors d'oeuvres before it even gets served.  The brother eats a specialty tart.  The cook is getting crabby and the wedding date is closing in...

The wedding day arrives and the girls find the kitchen empty.  The wedding cake is a mess, the cook is nowhere to be found and it looks like disaster has struck big time.

This story is delightful.  Mysteries unravel, they help save the cake and they get through the mortification of wearing those horrible pink dresses for the event.  The end of this story is "happy ever after" in more than way.

This sounds just like the type of family I grew up in.  The story will make you laugh and you'll appreciate the cousin's ideas for dressing the cake up...

Happy reading.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

This little girl has a canine companion.  They do everything together and look real cute doing it.  But then the girl has an inspirational moment:  She's going to make the most magnificent thing!

Kids Can Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first of April so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

This is a cute story about a child trying hard to make something "just right".  I laughed when she takes all these various things she plans to use for her creation right out in the middle of the sidewalk, where she has lots of room and won't bother anybody.  Never mind about the pedestrians...

She creates and creates and creates and nothing is quite right.  She gets mad, she fumes and then she goes for a walk with her dog to think about it.  She finally sees that each had something right about it and if she melds these parts she will have her marvelous thing.  While she's creating that, all those odd things she made are being claimed by the people walking by.  They think they are magnificent and will do something just right for them.

The best part is what she actually made.  It's very special and it will make you and your young one smile.

Happy reading.