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?

Giving the Gift of Reading

I’m behind on my book reviews these days, but I hope all will forgive me, as I’ve been focused on making sure this book project was taken care of before school ended this week…

Please enjoy the full post here:  Source: Giving the Gift of Reading

Will get back on the review-horse next week!

Pics 759
A sample of the books donated by the Tulip Street Legacy Fund to the kids at Warner Enhanced Elementary School!

 

 

Don’t Give Up On Your Writing Dream: 5 Tips When Self-Publishing Your Book | WritersDigest.com

Once there was a stubborn girl who never gave up on her dreams. So she wrote a great book about a stubborn girl who never gave up on her dreams!

Aptly named The Wait, Lisa Kaye Presley’s novel is now available on Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and iBooks.

The Wait

Lisa is featured as a guest on WritersDigest.com sharing her tips for self-publishing. An amazing story and some great tips!

Source: Don’t Give Up On Your Writing Dream: 5 Tips When Self-Publishing Your Book | WritersDigest.com

Toddlers’ screen time linked to slower speech development, study finds

Moving out of the realm of book reviews for just a brief moment. I have to admit, our family is a little obsessed with this particular topic. Moderating/eliminating screen time for children seems to be something people either believe in or they don’t. It has definitely made a positive difference in our household. 

Here’s yet another reason why folks might want to think twice before raising their kids with their screens…

 

Children who spent more time with hand-held screens were more likely to exhibit signs of an expressive speech delay, according to a new study from Toronto.

Source: Toddlers’ screen time linked to slower speech development, study finds

Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog

Sailing the high seas has never been more fun than with Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog by Peter Meisel. Stinky Spike is an easy chapter book aimed at “newly independent readers” as part of the Read and Bloom books.Stinky SpikeSpike does not begin his life as a Pirate Dog, nor is he always “Stinky Spike.” Instead, Spike is a shipyard dog with a “super sniffer.” He has the world’s most powerful nose. Spike loves the nastiest, ickiest, foulest stinks he can sniff.

Spike and the other shipyard dogs have a lot of work to do on the docks. They are in charge of protecting the ships’ cargo. They scare away seabirds and chase away rats.

One morning, as Spike is chasing some birds, he slips on a patch of seaweed. Spike skids off the edge of the dock and lands in the ocean.

The waves pull Spike out to sea. Spike spots a bucket and crawls in among the rotten fish bits and barnacles.

Spike is eventually rescued by pirates. They name him Stinky Spike—he is no longer known for his powerful nose, but for the noxious smell from the bucket, which clings to his fur.

Although Spike is relieved that the pirates rescued him from the bucket, he quickly learns that they will not take him home. The pirates are busy looking for treasure. So Spike makes a deal with the pirate captain: he will help them find treasure in exchange for a ride home.

With this agreement, Spike’s pirate adventures begin. He must prove himself and the power of his nose to the pirates.

Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog is written in easy-to-read sentences that keep the action moving and excitement high for little readers. Mr. Meisel’s father, Paul Meisel, has included many beautiful full-color illustrations that enhance the reading experience.

Peter Meisel has also written a sequel to Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog, named Stinky Spike and the Royal Rescue. I received an advance reader copy of Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog in exchange for my unbiased review of the book. We will be getting a copy of the sequel because my kids are enchanted by Stinky Spike!

Paul Meisel can be found online at www.paulmeisel.com. He has illustrated more than 70 books. His website includes many examples of his work, as well as a link to his blog.

Have you read any great books lately?

Finding Winnie

I suppose I always knew there was a real Winnie-the-Pooh—because I had heard the story of the real Christopher Robin. But it never occurred to me to wonder where Winnie came from before he was in the zoo. What a pleasant surprise to discover that he came from my home country of Canada!Finding WinnieFinding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick tells the story of Winnie’s journey to the zoo. Winnie is not only the “Most Famous Bear,” but he was a world traveler as well!

The story begins with a veterinarian from Winnipeg, Manitoba, named Harry Colebourn. “If a horse had the hiccups or a cow had a cough, Harry knew how to make them feel just right.”

Harry became a soldier during World War I so that he could help care for the other soldiers’ horses. He was traveling across Canada with his regiment when their train stopped at a place called White River. Harry walked onto the train platform and found a trapper with a baby bear.

Harry thought for a long time. Then he said to himself, “There is something special about that Bear.” He felt inside his pocket and said, “I shouldn’t.” He paced back and forth and said, “I can’t” Then his heart made up his mind and he walked up to the trapper and said, “I’ll give you twenty dollars for the bear.”

Harry named the bear Winnipeg, or Winnie for short. Harry trained Winnie to “stand up straight and hold her head high and turn this way and that, just so!”

Harry took Winnie on the soldiers’ ship across the Atlantic Ocean to England. She became the Mascot of the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade.

Winnie was part of Harry’s regiment until it was time for the men to go to France to fight. It was not safe for Winnie to go with them. So Harry took Winnie to live at the London Zoo.

“There is something you must always remember,” Harry said. “It’s the most important thing, really. Even if we’re apart, I’ll always love you. You’ll always be my Bear.”

While Winnie was living at the London Zoo, a little boy went to the zoo with his father. The boy saw Winnie and they became true friends. He was even allowed to go into Winnie’s enclosure and play with her.

The little boy’s name was Christopher Robin Milne. As soon as he met Winnie, he knew that there was something special about her. He decided that his own stuffed bear should be named Winnie-the-Pooh.

Ms. Mattick has written Finding Winnie as a story within a story—she tells it to her own son, Cole, as part of the book. Ms. Mattick is the great-granddaughter of Harry Colebourn, and brings a personal touch to this fantastic story of the world’s most beloved bear.

Ms. Mattick included an album in the back of the book with pictures of Harry Colebourn, his diary from 1914 noting the purchase of Winnie, and a picture of Christopher Robin with Winnie at the zoo.

Ms. Mattick’s website is www.lindsaymattick.com. If you would like to learn more about this amazing bear, you can find links to videos about Winnie and other great information on Ms. Mattick’s website!

Have you read any great books lately?

Step Right Up

I thought Mister Ed was the only talking horse around, but there was a “talking” horse long before televisions existed. Right down the road from here, in Shelbyville, Tennessee, an amazing horse and his owner lived at the turn of the twentieth century! In Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness, Donna Janell Bowman tells this unbelievable story.Step Right UpWilliam “Doc” Key was born into slavery. As he was growing up, he learned about taking care of horses. His mother taught him how to make homemade remedies. By the time he was a young man, William was so good at treating horses’ injuries and sicknesses that everyone called him “Doc.”

Then came the Civil War, and Doc was a free man. He built a new life as a businessman. He created many medicines, including one called Keystone Liniment, which was very popular. Doc bought a medicine wagon and rode from town to town selling the Keystone Liniment.

Doc bought a scrawny gray mare that he named Lauretta. She later gave birth to a sickly colt that could barely walk.

Doc named the baby horse Jim Key and nursed him until he was healthy. Jim followed Doc around and watched Doc’s every move. One day, when Jim saw Doc playing fetch with a dog, Jim tried to join in and brought Doc a stick to throw. Doc soon taught Jim other dog tricks—Jim learned to sit, play dead, act sick, and roll over on cue.

When Jim was about a year old, Lauretta died. Doc was worried about Jim, so he brought the horse into his house to live. Jim lived inside the house until he was too big; then both Doc and Jim moved into the barn. Doc’s training of Jim continued:

When Doc was ready to hitch up the medicine wagon again, he decided to bring Jim along as his newest attraction. Doc held up a bottle of Keystone Liniment and announced for people to gather around. He told the crowd how his sickly, crippled colt had grown strong and healthy. Right on cue, Jim pretended to be sick. He limped and drooped and snorted and wobbled. Then Doc gave Jim a spoonful of medicine and massaged a dollop of liniment into his legs. Suddenly Jim acted well again. He pranced around, frisky as a pup.

The audience clapped and laughed and lined up to buy Doc’s medicines.

At home, Jim watched Doc count money and write letters. One day, Doc’s wife asked Jim if he wanted a piece of apple, and Jim nodded his head. This made Doc wonder what else Jim could learn.

With much patience, Doc taught Jim the alphabet. Over the next seven years, Jim learned how to spell words, add sums, find flags to identify states, move clock hands to tell time, and even write his name on a blackboard with chalk!

People were astounded. Doc explained: “The whip makes horses stubborn and they obey through fear. Kindness, kindness, and more kindness, that’s the way.”

Doc and Jim Key performed around the country, helping to promote the cause of kindness to animals. Humane societies decided that Jim Key was the perfect animal to represent their cause. The humane societies believed that animals were intelligent, capable of emotions, and willing to learn if treated well.

Doc and Jim Key traveled the country for nine years, proving to millions of people that “with kindness, anything is possible.” Let us all remember the lesson they taught.

I had never heard about this astonishing animal before reading this book. I wish I lived back in Doc and Jim Key’s time so that I could see the talented horse in action. Since that is not possible, I am grateful to Ms. Bowman for doing such a wonderful job bringing Jim Key to life for me.

Ms. Bowman is the author of a number of educational books for children, including The Sioux: The Past and Present of the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota and The Navajo: The Past and Present of the Diné. Her love of horses is apparent not only in her writing about Jim Key, but also in two other horse books that she has written. Her website, www.donnajanellbowman.com is full of information and resources.

Have you read any great books lately?