Monday, July 8, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Traveling to ALA (and enjoying more of Chicago than humanly possible in 4 days) didn't leave too much time for reading.  So forgive my sparse contribution this week!

I will admit I was skeptical about this one (no offense Jeff Probst).  Happily, my skepticism was completely unfounded.  This is a fantastic summer read for middle grade readers! 
4 kids in a newly formed blended family set off on a sailing adventure while their parents honeymoon. The trip was originally designed to help the kids get to know each other and bond as a family.  It accomplishes its mission, but not in the way it was expected.  The kids end up stranded (surprise!) on an island in the south pacific.  No adults, no guidance just the kids and their limited supplies. Kids will LOVE this fast and tense read! I also suggest you have the second in the series on-hand because once this one is finished, they won't want to wait. 

There is much buzz about Blue Balliett's latest and I promise you, the rumors are true.  I loved everything about this one.  Another fabulous middle grade read! 

While fantasy is not my favorite genre, I really enjoyed this one (even if it was a little on the long side at 464 pages).  While not perfect, readers will be invested enough in Jemma's fate to overlook imperfections in the plot.  Some darker moments were edge-of-your-seat exciting and a wee bit scary.
I look forward to seeing more from Kit Grindstaff!
Suggested for hardcore fantasy fans grades 6 and up. 

Check out the book trailer here.

Until next time, happy reading!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Fast & Fun Reads (picture book edition)

I always feel like I should have more time for family reading in the summer.  Somehow, with all the sunshiny temptations, we always seem to have less.  Constant interruptions can make it difficult to squeeze in that valuable together reading time.  Why not gather up some quick reads to sneak into those (rare) moments of downtime?  Here are some fast & fun reads which are guaranteed to make the whole family smile! 

Bark, George!


When prompted by his mother to "Bark, George." George makes many interesting sounds but none of them are what one expects a dog to say. This book proves, once and for all, that picture books are to be enjoyed by readers of ALL ages.  Delightful in every way! 

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea

There was a day when I used to think that a pig parade sounded like a rather awesome and inspired idea.  That was before I read this gem of a book by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes.  Pigs, it turns out, are actually quite uncooperative when it comes to parades. Who knew? 
Totally fun! 

*If you love this, which you will, you must check out Chicken Cheeks also by Michael Ian Black*

Chicken Cheeks

Because really, who doesn't love a story about butts? 

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

A perfect picture book to use for a quick and fun read or to generate a conversation about the food chain. 
The giant squid is almost as charming as the big, bold and beautiful illustrations that leap off from the double spread pages.  You can't help but adore her as she proclaims over and over  that she is the BIGGEST thing in the ocean.  Her positive attitude goes undaunted even after the cruel realization that she is in fact NOT the biggest thing in the ocean. 
A FANTASTIC read aloud!

Bright Ideas!                                                 

Check out the latest installment by Philippe Courdray.  Benjamin Bear and his companion have many interesting problems to solve in this series of one page comic strips.  Just right kid humor interspersed with more thoughtful stories make this a fun (and quick) blend.  The illustrations are top-notch! Sure to please readers from kindergarten to adulthood.
I understand this is not technically a picture book, but I couldn't do a post about fun books without including this one because it is SO SUPER FUN it deserved a spot amid the rest.