Category Archives: Book Reviews

Reading Series – “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume

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margaretA coming of age story, Margaret searches for a singular religious identity as well as journeying through puberty, boys, school and all the things that go with it.  First published in 1970 by Yearling, Judy’s Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” landed on Time’s Top 100 Fiction Books in 2011.  It’s popularity also spurned another book, only this time from a boys perspective.

Reading Series – “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” By Ransom Riggs

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source - ransomriggs.comI’ve heard the old cliche “never judge a book by its cover”, but I did on this book and I am glad I did because Ransom Rigg’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” was a frighteningly fantastical debut novel with just enough macabre and the ties that bind us to another human to keep you enveloped to the very end. I loved this young adult novel and the pictures that the story is built on really brings something to this story that so few books have.

Reading Series – The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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50I first read ‘The Hatchet’ by Gary Paulsen when I was in grade school.  It was first published in 1987, and since then has been a classroom staple in the years following.  A story of survival, young Brian weathers the wilderness for 54 days after his plane crashes.  In his time there, he deals with how to survive, the death of the pilot and all the troubles in his home life. This is the first in a 5-book series and is definitely worth a read, especially if you have school aged children.

Reading Series – Green Eggs & Ham

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I think it would be very safe to assume that almost everyone at one point or another has read a book by Dr. Seuss.  I have and my daughter has quite the collection on her shelf.  One of her favourites is “Green Eggs & Ham.”
First published in 1960, ‘Green Eggs & Ham’  “was the 4th best-selling English language children’s book of all time.”  A part of the ‘Beginner’s Books’, this book has only 50 different words and simple vocabulary for children learning how to read.  It was a bet stemming between Dr. Seuss and his publisher that resulted in so few different words.  His publisher didn’t think he could write a book using that small amount of words.  Teacher’s and children have been reading this book since it’s publication and has been a class favourite ever since.

Reading Series – The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle

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4948Quoted as being “one of the greatest childhood classics of all time” ‘They Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.  Inspired by a hole punch, children are able to follow a very hungry caterpillar’s life cycle and the metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly.  This book is great for early readers and not to mention helps with math with basic counting.  The pictures help beginners follow the story and strengthens developing reading skills.

Reading Series – That Yucky Love Thing by Michael Catchpool

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6611807Everyone is in love. Yuck. Double Yuck!  In “That Yucky Love Thing” by Michael Catchpool, a young boy is utterly disgusted by all the lovey dovey people in his life with all their kissing and holding hands.  Yuck.  So he leaves, but in his travels he only finds animals expressing their love. Double Yuck.  He then finds an abandoned Island where he gets to do all the awesome things he wants to do but soon comes to find a young girl living there as well.  Not so yucky.  This book is really funny as you can picture young children having the exact same reaction in real life.  The illustrations are quite good and I think that this would be a book good for young boys, but my Princess loves it too.  Come read about “That Yucky Love Thing.”

 

*I was not paid for this review and I purchased the book myself*

Reading Series – Bored Bill By Liz Pichon

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862071Mrs. Pickle’s dog Bill is bored.  He never wants to do the fun things that Mrs. Pickle does like cooking, reading and even kung fu!  In this story, Bill is swept away by a huge wind into space and meets some aliens where he learns what being bored is really about.  This book has colourful pictures, repetitive words that helps early readers and a story that is out of this world!  This book can be interactive as you can ask your children what makes them bored and what they can do to stop themselves from being bored.  Written by Liz Pichon, Bored Bill is a great story for children.

*I was not paid for this review and I purchased the book myself*

Reading, Books and So Much More!

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Numerous studies have been done on the benefits of reading and children’s success in school.  Reading to children can help their ability to speak properly using correct grammar, can give them knowledge about things they didn’t otherwise wouldn’t know about, creates social skills by allowing them to talk about a book and what they thought, it enhances hand and eye coordination and not to mention it’s just fun!  So to celebrate going back to school, for the month of September, I will be posting some of my favourite children’s books, ranging from baby to early readers to pre-teens.  I hope that you will all suggest some of your and your children’s favourites.  Also, if you are an author of children literature, feel free to message me about having your books featured!

“The New Republic” By Lionel Shriver: A Book Review

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11778910Ever since reading “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, Lionel Shriver has been on my go-to author whenever I feel like having my ideas and opinions turned upside down.  She has an innate ability to take taboo subjects that people often shy away from and rub their faces in it.  She treats her readers as an etch-a-sketch, imprinted with their experiences and then shakes them with her words, leaving them a blank slate to be re-written on.  “The New Republic” received scathing reviews from a lot of people, but I enjoyed it.  Sure there were some characters I felt could have been left out, but the very idea driving the novel was what kept me turning the pages.  A satire on terrorism, this is not for the faint of heart.  She puts a social commentary on terrorism.  While most people see the act of terrorism itself, Shriver makes you a witness to the dealings in the background.  Dark, politically eye-opening, “The New Republic” will make you question your very trust in elected officials, the media and how it spins world events.  For my full review, click here.

“In comes Edgar Kellogg.  A former fat boy and lawyer turned freelance journalist, looking to escape his second string complex and finally get his big break.  Much to his chagrin, he is charged with finding out was happened to his predecessor, Barrington Sadler, who disappeared while reporting on the SOB (Os Soldado Ousados de Barba) who claim international bombing.  When Kellogg arrives, his complex comes back with full force as he finds that everyone cannot stop talking about the infamous Barrington Sadler.  It isn’t long before Edgar realizes there is more to Saddler than all rumours his fellow Rat Pack spew.  Bombings, international recognition and effect on local policy increase, and soon it isn’t long before things begin to spiral.”

Little Red Hen

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The Princess’ teacher sent home an update on what they are learning about at school.  Counting and estimating for math, how vegetables grow for science and they are reading “The Little Red Hen” and have begun their reading journals for English.  As an avid reader, I always told myself that when I had children I would read whatever my children were reading in school so that I would be able to carry on education at home.  I’m a firm believer that in order for your child to excel at school, you have to carry that on at home too.  I try to mix fun with learning and I’m excited to read Little Red Hen with my Princess.  The Princess has numerous books and we are fortunate to have not one, but three copies of this story.

Basically the gist of the story is Little Red Hen plants wheat, harvests is, mills it and bakes it into bread with no help from any of her barnyard friends.  However, once the bread is baked, all the friends want a bite, but the Little Red Hen says no as she is the only one who did all the work.  The moral of the story is that people who don’t want to contribute to the project, do not get to reap the benefits of the end product.

Originally a Russian old folk tale, the Little Red Hen had its role in reading instruction.  In the late 1800’s, there was a shift from religious texts to texts that still portrayed clear morals with less religious content.  Also with its repetitive vocabulary, it is still is reading technique used for reading beginners.