June 29, 2016

HoW: 100 Days

This post is inspired by a meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.

I see this post as a way to share what I'm waiting on but also a way to highlight a book I think looks good! So yes it's WoW but it's also HoW (Highlighting on Wednesday)

Today I'm Waiting On:

100 Days by Nicole McInnes
Release Date: August 23

Wow does this one sound good!!!! Unique concept! Very interested!

Agnes doesn't know it, but she only has one hundred days left to live. When she was just a baby, she was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare disease that causes her body to age at roughly ten times the normal rate. Now nearly sixteen years old, Agnes has already exceeded her life expectancy.

Moira has been Agnes’s best friend and protector since they were in elementary school. Due to her disorder, Agnes is still physically small, but Moira is big. Too big for her own liking. So big that people call her names. With her goth makeup and all-black clothes, Moira acts like she doesn’t care. But she does.

Boone was friends with both girls in the past, but that was a long time ago—before he did the thing that turned Agnes and Moira against him, before his dad died, before his mom got too sad to leave the house.

An unexpected event brings Agnes and Moira back together with Boone, but when romantic feelings start to develop, the trio’s friendship is put to the test.

June 28, 2016

Loving Your Name - Review of Thunder Boy Jr. By Sherman Alexie

Title: Thunder Boy Jr
Author: Sherman Alexie
Illustrator: Yuyi Morales

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie's lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales's striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son. 

This is a very cute book about wanting to be yourself and now what everyone else decides you are.  It's something people of all ages struggle with not just  young children! But the struggle of Thunder Boy Jr. is one kids will be able to relate to.  And when he announces to the reader "I hate my name!".  I bet many kids will nod and agree.  As much as we love the names we give our kids - they don't always agree with us.  I have a nickname for my youngest son, and there are times he hates when I use it mainly because it's something I came up with that he doesn't understand. 

The illustrations in the book are fantastic! I like how the colors are full and rich but yet muted and soft.  They help convey the story by matching the fullness of Thunder Boy Jr's father and the soft simple way his frustration with his name is handled.  In the end it was fun to see Thunder Boy Jr excited and happy about the name he now has.  The reader is right there with him.

Finally - a wonderful book about the names we are given and the names we want.  

June 27, 2016

Review: Curse of the the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale

Title: Curse of the Were-Hyena (A Monstertown Mystery)
Author: Bruce Hale

What do you do when your favorite teacher starts turning into a were-hyena? 

a) Flee in terror? 
b) Try to cure him? 
c) Bring him carrion snacks? 

Mr. Chu, the coolest teacher ever, has developed some very unusual habits, like laughing hysterically for no reason, sniffing people's homework, and chasing chickens. When best friends Carlos and Benny decide to find out what's happening to him, they get caught up in some moonlight madness. And it looks like just the beginning of the weirdness that has arrived in the town of Monterrosa. . . . This first entry in a silly, sassy, and suspenseful new series will leave readers howling with laughter.

This is a fast paced, silly, fun book that will make readers giggle as they watch Carlos and Benny try and save their teacher.  I know I found myself giggling a few times - especially when they brought a chicken into the classroom!  As a teacher I can only imagine the craziness that would cause!  Fun!

I really liked Carlos and Benny.  They way they talked and went about their planning seemed very realistic (well as realistic as it could be with a were-hyena).  I could completely imagine them as 4th graders in any school.  At times they were really serious, but then they'd get side-tracked my something else.  Very typical! And the plans they came up with would, of course, seem good to a 4th grade, but would leave any grown-up shaking their head.  I liked that! I think kids would too because it would be something they could buy in to.  
There were a couple of things I wondered if they needed to be in the book.  One was the talk of dead bodies being chewed on.  I just didn't know if it was needed and for some younger kids it might be a bit much for them.  It was nothing that would make me shy away from the book, but something to be aware of when suggesting it.  

Finally - A fun start to what looks like the start of a fun new mystery series.  

June 24, 2016

What Would Your Talent Be? BOOK REVIEW: A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff +GIVEAWAY

Title: A Clatter of Jars
Author: Lisa Graff

In this companion to A Tangle of Knots, it's summertime and everyone is heading off to camp. For Talented kids, the place to be is Camp Atropos, where they can sing songs by the campfire, practice for the Talent show, and take some nice long dips in the lake. But what the kids don't know is that they've been gathered for a reason--one that the camp's director wants to keep hidden at all costs.

Meanwhile, a Talent jar that has been dropped to the bottom of the lake has sprung a leak, and strange things have begun to happen. Dozens of seemingly empty jars have been washing up on the shoreline, Talents have been swapped, and memories have been ripped from one camper's head and placed into another. And no one knows why.

This is the first I've read by Lisa Graff even though I've seen her books around a lot.  A Clatter of Jars was a great introduction to her books! I loved the idea of everyone having some sort of talent - and that the talents were in all shapes and sizes.  Wouldn't that be fun?! I'd want a talent that allowed me to always get the exact amount of sleep I needed!

This book is written from the point of view of several different characters.  I have to admit it took me a few chapters to get use to that.  But once I just paid attention to the name at the start of the chapter I was good to go.  I actually liked that it was written this way because it allowed me to understand what was going on with many different characters.  I made the story feel more well rounded for me.  

The main character really does seem to be Lily because it comes back to her a lot.  Also her brother and step-sister are also at camp.  I don't want to give things away, but truly her whole family is part of the story.  I liked Lily because she such a typical kid.  She kept doing things thinking they would help, but of course they didn't because she didn't think them through.  I felt for her so many times!

Although Lily seemed to me more of the main character, my favorite story-line involved Renny and Miles.  They are brothers at the camp.  At first Renny is very frustrated with everything, but at the story goes along he really grows.  I enjoyed watching the change that happened with him and with his relationship with him brother.  Truly my favorite part of the book.

I will admit I had to work a bit to keep everyone straight in the story - well mostly the parts of the story with the grown-ups.  There was a lot going on there and I struggled a bit to keep it straight.  I do think it would've helped if I had read the companion book - A Tangle of Knots - first because it covered that more.  I'll need to go read it now I guess :)

Finally:  Nice story about not jumping to conclusions, letting things work themselves out and trusting who you are.

I'm having a giveaway for 4 Lisa Graff books on my other blog Finding Magic.  You can find that giveaway HERE