Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Cake Contest!

What do you do when your Granny is a witch and won’t stop using her magic? Sometimes you just have to follow her around and clean up her messes! Hubble Bubble: The Great Granny Contest is a humorous collection of three stories about Pandora and her witchy Granny, Araminta Violet Crow.Hubble BubbleThe Great Granny Contest begins with a family trip to Creakington Hall, a “stately home” full of dungeons and treasures. Pandora, Granny, and Pandora’s parents visit Creakington Hall for an afternoon tour of the old house.

They haven’t even made it inside before Granny starts making magic. While they are waiting in line to buy tickets, Granny’s pet frog, Croak, jumps onto the head of the man in front of them! Granny waves her wand and Croak disappears (but leaves some froggy poop behind).

During the tour, Pandora’s parents read every information card. Granny is quickly bored, and begins making magic to keep herself interested. Soon, portraits are winking at guests, mannequins start a food fight, and a suit of armor is moving around the room. Pandora has to get everything back to normal, make sure people don’t suspect Granny of causing the trouble, and stop Granny from creating any more chaos!

The other two stories in the book are equally amusing. In one, Granny and Pandora compete in the Great Granny Cake Contest, and the rules expressly prohibit using magic. But Pandora quickly discovers (on live TV) that Granny is not much of a baker when she can’t use magic to help her! How will they make it through the contest?

In the last story, Granny helps Pandora and her school gardening club when the garden starts looking a little wilted. The garden doesn’t exactly look like it should when Granny is done with it!

The Great Granny Contest is a chapter book by the creators of the Hubble Bubble picture books: author Tracey Corderoy and illustrator Joe Berger. Ms. Corderoy and Mr. Berger have joined together to publish five chapter books and three picture books starring Pandora and Granny.

The Great Granny Contest is written in language that is easy for young readers to read. The stories are fun, the pacing is quick and keeps kids entertained, and the characters are lovable.

Tracey Corderoy can be found online at www.traceycorderoy.com. She is the author of a number of children’s books, including Little Penguin Lost, and the Shifty McGifty series. Joe Berger’s website is www.joeberger.co.uk. Check out all of the books and cartoons he has worked on!

I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. Thank-you to Ms. Corderoy, Mr. Berger, and Candlewick Press for giving me this introduction to Pandora and Granny and the Hubble Bubble series!

Have you read any great books lately?

The World’s Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops

When I started reading a book about a child culinary prodigy who wanted to open a restaurant, I didn’t know what to expect. Little did I know that I was about to receive life lessons for my own workaholic life!Chocolate Covered Pork ChopsRyan K. Sager’s The World’s Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops tells the tale of Zoey Kate, child chef extraordinaire. Twelve year-old Zoey Kate creates culinary masterpieces that you can’t get anywhere else, such as Lobster Eggs Benedict, Cinnamon Bacon Octopus Pho, and, of course, Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops.

Zoey’s greatest wish is to share her cooking with all seven billion people in the world. But she’ll settle for opening the greatest restaurant in San Francisco—for now.

Opening a restaurant is harder than Zoey expected. She has to convince a bank to loan her start-up money, find the perfect location, navigate the world of business ownership, and get her parents’ permission! To make matters even more challenging, Zoey is first threatened, then sabotaged, by one of the great chefs in the city.

Fortunately, Zoey has great friends who she can lean on, including Dallin Caraway. Dallin is the biggest kid on his football team, but his coach doesn’t let him play during games.

And here is where the life lessons come in. As Zoey builds Zoeylicious, her fabulous restaurant on wheels, she has to make choices between her friends and her career. Boy, that really hit home for me! I didn’t expect to learn anything from Zoey Kate (except maybe how to make some interesting food), but I recognized those difficult family/friends versus work conflicts in my own life. Just like Zoey, I wonder if I’ve always made the right choice . . .

The World’s Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops goes on sale tomorrow, so you can pick up a copy to see if anyone goes to Zoey’s trolley-restaurant, if the sabotage succeeds, and if Zoey chooses friendship over fame. I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

Learn more about Ryan K. Sager at his website: www.ryanksager.com.

Mr. Sager admits on his website that he is not a good cook, and that he finds cooking overwhelming and scary. But he has included a recipe for Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops in the back of his book. Should you try it? Yes! A chef from New York City created the recipe just for this book! How cool is that???

Have you read any great books lately?

The Frog Princess Returns

For some of us, the thought of kissing a frog holds no appeal whatsoever. But in both the Brothers Grimm tale and Princess Emma’s story in E.D. Baker’s Tales of the Frog Princess series, a frog somehow manages to convince a princess to kiss him. Astonishing!

Unlike in the original tale, when E.D. Baker tells the story, Princess Emma turns into a frog instead of breaking the spell for the Frog Prince. (Sound familiar? Disney optioned the first book in the series for an animated movie, and eventually released The Princess and the Frog! You can read a little about this process in the F.A.Q. section of Ms. Baker’s website.)

The Frog Princess Returns is Book 9 of Ms. Baker’s series and was published yesterday – approximately fifteen years after Book 1 was released. We have never read any of the other books in the series, but we have read and enjoyed some of Ms. Baker’s other books, such as the Magic Animal Rescue Series.Frog PrincessJumping into the series at Book 9 was no problem. The book worked very well as a stand-alone story, and we did not ever feel lost or wish we had read the other books first. When Ms. Baker felt background was needed to explain (or remind readers) how Princess Emma met certain characters, she gave it in just a few sentences.

In The Frog Princess Returns, Princess Emma and the Frog Prince, Prince Eadric, are human again. They are engaged to be married and are very happy. Then one day, a princess from another land arrives in Prince Eadric’s family’s carriage. She claims to be Princess Emma’s long-lost cousin, but soon, she won’t leave Prince Eadric’s side.

Princess Emma hardly has time to react to this strange arrival when fairies begin appearing and asking for her help. Did I mention that Princess Emma is also a witch who cares for the humans and fairies of her land? She has a big responsibility!

With a little investigation, Princess Emma discovers that the Fairy Queen has disappeared. The fairies believe she has “faded away” (the fairy version of died), so three new fairies are competing to take her place. After listening to the campaign speeches of the three politician-fairies, Princess Emma realizes that none of the three would be a good choice to lead the fairies.

So Princess Emma, Prince Eadric, the “long-lost cousin,” and a handful of fairies, set off on a search for the Fairy Queen. While she is interviewing dragons, flying a magic carpet, and outsmarting fairy magic to find the Fairy Queen, Princess Emma must still figure out what the “long-lost cousin” is really up to. It’s a busy couple of days. The book flew by (no pun intended) and was engaging and enjoyable from start to finish.

I received an advance reader copy of The Frog Princess Returns in exchange for my unbiased review of the book.

E.D. Baker’s website is www.talesofedbaker.com. She has information about all of her series and individual books, as well as many writing tips for aspiring writers. Ms. Baker is also active on Facebook @edbakerauthor.

Have you read any great books lately?