Book Review

Bring Me A Rock! by Daniel Miyares

Bring me a rock book cover: five various sized bugs are holding up a rock upon which a grasshopper stands on top"BRING ME A ROCK! THE BIGGER THE BETTER."

In an Aesop reminiscent of Seuss' Yertle the Turtle, Grasshopper is King of the bugs and he wants a giant throne of rocks...now!
Beetle, Mantis and Centipede all bring the biggest rocks they can find; but, will the littlest bug's pebble be enough?

Told through dialogue and a modern; but, naturalistic art style, Bring Me A Rock! makes the perfect canvas for reading out loud or becoming one of a child's first picture books to read on their own.

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Jennifer, Kids World

Sophie’s Squash Go to School By Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne Wilsdorf

Sophie's Squash Go To School book cover: an illustration of young girl in pigtails walking on road towards school building with a squash in each arm and wearing a backpack“Sometimes growing a friend just takes time.”

Sophie’s parents said she’d have fun at school. But she didn’t. The chairs were uncomfortable, the milk tasted funny, nobody appreciated her two squash friends Bonnie and Baxter, and Steven just won’t leave her alone! Sophie isn’t interested in making new friends when she already has her squash friends from her garden. But what happens when her food friends start to rot?

School is a huge part of children’s lives, and along with that come dealing with new friendships. For some children who are sensitive, this is no easy task. In this book, Sophie repeatedly rejects any extension of friendship from other children. Until through her own eyes and experiences, she comes to the conclusion that friends are all different, and in the end, worth it.

Sequel to Sophie's Squash.

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Naomi, Kids World

The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game by Nancy Churnin

William Hoy story book cover: an illustration of a baseball player sliding onto base with an umpire's arms out to the sides behind him"His mother waved her arms. She was applauding him."

Have you ever wondered what made baseball umpires start using signs? Find out in this informational picture book!

Not many people knew sign language back in the 1880s and that led to problems for William when trying to pursue his dream of playing baseball professionally. From being paid less than other players to not being able to read the umpire's lips, William couldn't seem to find a way to compete even though he was a great ball player. Remembering his mother waving her arms in applause when he practiced at home, William came up with a solution: the common baseball signs you see used in the game today. William went on to set records in the National and American Leagues playing on many different teams (even the Chicago White Stockings!) and baseball was changed forever... for the better.

With the World Series over but not forgotten, many readers may be interested in learning more about baseball's rich history. This title on the topic would suit readers in 1st grade and up who are interested in baseball, history, or deafness and how to be inclusive to people with disabilities.

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Brittany, Kids World

The Infamous Ratsos by Kara Lareau

Infamous Ratsos book cover: illustration of a brickwall and sidewalk cement. In from of the wall two clothed rats stand on tehir hinde legs back to back. Garbage litters the sidewalk around them"There are two kinds of people in this world... Those who are tough, and those who are soft."

The Ratso brothers decide to to do something to make them "look tough." They want their father to be proud of their tough despicable ways. The trouble is prank after prank, something always seem to go array making them look soft instead. Will they ever gain a reputation that will earn their father's respect?

At only 58 pages, this humorous book is perfect for first and second grade readers looking to tackle a chapter book. With simple a vocabulary,  large font and entertaining plot, this transitional read will make taking the plunge into chapter books a delight.

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Celeste, Kids World

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

ghost book cover: a yellow cover with a boy running off the side’Who you run for?’ he asked. What? Who did I run for? What kind of question was that?
‘I run for me. Who else?’ I replied.”

Castle Crenshaw has been running his whole life. First, he ran from his dad during a violent outburst. Then, he ran from school bullies who torment him because he’s poor, and the principal who is tired of his inability to stay out of trouble. Now, he’s running for pride when he joins the after-school track team and dubs himself Ghost. Will Castle ever find a way to shake off his past, or will he eventually learn that the only way to move forward is to stop running away and start running toward who you want to be?

Ghost, the first in a three book series, is highly recommended for readers, especially reluctant ones, in grades 4 and up who enjoy sports or stories about school and personal problems.

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Brittany, Kids World

Sing by Joe Raposo (composer) and Tom Lichtenheld (illustrator)

Sing book cover: a blue bird singing as perches on a twig with a yellow sky behind itI found this board book appealing before realizing that the familiar, sweet song dates from Sesame Street back when I watched and sang along. The simple story (wordless until the inspiring lyrics play a part) shows a runt baby bird struggling to leave the nest after her siblings. A boy with a guitar is just the accompaniment the bird needs to launch herself into the big open sky. I am fond of Lichtenheld’s style and it is well suited to this ditty about joy and self-expression.

I recommend this precious board book for little lap-sitters, especially if their caregivers are willing to sing it as well as read it. We also have it available as a kit (book with a 3-song CD), in case you are not as old as I am.

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Mary Jo, Kids World

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Save me a seat book cover: displaying 2 lunch trays one with hanburger and fries another with what appears to be Indian food"When I was a little kid, if I fell down and skinned my knee, my mom would kiss it to make it better. I thought it was magic. But I'm not a little kid and I don't believe in magic anymore."

Joe's best friends moved away from the New Jersey town he's live his whole life, leaving him with no support system to brave the perils of fifth grade alone. Ravi has just moved to that same New Jersey town from Bangalore, India where he was the top of his class. Joe and Ravi may come from different worlds, but they have more in common than they suspect when they are both targeted by the school bully. What are two boys to do when all they want to do is fit in in a world where they are singled out? The answer may be sitting right across the lunch table.

Told in the alternating perspectives of Joe and Ravi over the course of one week, this book is best suited for readers grades 3 and up who enjoyed Wonder, Because of Mr. Terupt, and other school stories.

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Brittany, Kids World

Pumpkin Day! by Candice Ransom

Pumpkin Day! book cover: African American boy is sitting on a stack of pumpkins on a farm"Through the gate to the pumpkin patch!"

Read along as a family each choose their pumpkins, carve them with silly faces, and use the remains for the traditional pumpkin pie.

This easy reader breaks no new ground, but its large print and simple phrases allows kids who have just begun reading the excitement of a Halloween story right up their alley. Only minimal adult assistance will be needed to enjoy this level 1 reader.

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Celeste, Kids World

Shadow House: The Gathering by Dan Poblocki

Shadow House book cover: a girl appears to hold a frame either picture or mirror over face and within the frame a ghostly face peers back"Could you tell me more about your invitation to Larkspur?" "I'm pretty sure it's the same one you got." "I'm pretty sure it's not."

Five kids, each promised their dream- their very different dreams- if only they come to Larkspur. What is Larkspur? The home of a long lost aunt? A movie production company?  A school? The Larkspur House proves to be none of those things. Dreams may come true there, but it is not the happily ever after kind. No, the house might come straight from a nightmare. "little balls continued to roll out, each one stopping with the letter toward him... LETSPLAY...LETS PLAY."

This haunted house story's creepy level will place it solidly in upper elementary school range. Ghosts wearing bizarre masks, moving objects, look-alike dolls with ashes inside them, spontaneous fires- this house has all the elements of a perfect Halloween read. And of course, doors that do not open, windows that will not break. The five kids are trapped with no escape.

For those looking for a happily wrapped up ending, you may wish to read elsewhere. This is only book one in a series.

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Celeste, Kids World

The Curse of the Were-Hyena by Bruce Hale

"In a rushThe Curse of the Were-Hyena book cover: two boys hanging from the limbs of a tree with a hyena on the ground snarling, the were-hyena launched itself at the tree trunk, scrabbling with claws like hooked daggers...'That's not fair!...In all the wolfman movies we've watched, have you ever seen a werewolf climb a tree?'"

Mr. Chu is the most popular teacher at Monterrosa Elementary. Benny and Carlos have been lucky enough to have been in his class for the Frankenstein electricity experiment and the awful movie sequel lesson on probability. Then one day, Mr. Chu has a bandage covering a "bite from a strange-looking dog," and things begin to turn a little weird. Mr. Chu starts manically giggling at a high-pitch and hair begins to grow on his bald head. After the teacher gains super speed and strength, Mr. Chu begins to get, well, cruel.

With the help of the friendly neighborhood comic bookstore owner, Benny and Carlos must find a way to save Mr. Chu. Unfortunately, a secret cult and their attempts at sacrificing people make the "average task" of trapping a were-hyena even more difficult.

In time for Halloween thrills, comes the first in the new Monstertown Mystery series. This chapter book could be right up the alley for middle elementary readers looking for a mix of humor with their spooky.

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Celeste, Kids World

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