Tag Archives: children’s books

Children’s Book Review: A Morning with Grandpa – Delightful Story with Beautiful Illustrations

A Morning with Grandpa

http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-main/2016/5/2/advice-for-writers-taxidermied-piranhas-and-family-memoriest.html

Author: Sylvia Liu

Illustrator: Christina Forshay

Reading level: Pre-K – 2nd grade

(picture source: http://inkygirl.com/inkygirl-main/2016/5/2/advice-for-writers-taxidermied-piranhas-and-family-memoriest.html)

Mei Mei (little sister) and Gong Gong (Grandpa) spend the morning together in the garden, both of them learning new things. Gong Gong is practicing Tai chi. He slowly goes through the motions, just as this form of martial arts requires. Mei Mei tries to follow Gong Gong’s motions, but can’t help putting her own spin on his moves.

Then Mei Mei shows her grandpa the yoga poses she has learned in school. This are more difficult for Gong Gong as he isn’t as limber as his young granddaughter. But that is okay, he does his best.

This delightful tale of the love between generations and the value of the time they spend with each other. Neither requires perfection, and that is the treasure of sharing something you love with a person you love.

Sylvia Liu’s story brings us into the garden with Mei Mei and her Gong Gong. The beauty of the morning shines through her words as well as the love her characters have for each other. It is obvious Liu has put her heart and soul into A Morning with Grandpa, making it a story that your children will love to have you to read them over and over and you will enjoy it as much as they do.

Christina Forshay’s created exquisite works of art to accompany each page of A Morning with Grandpa.  Her colorful illustrations are mesh perfectly with Liu’s story, both children and adults will enjoy them.

Before the story begins, Liu gives the reader translations of words so everything is clear before you start to read. This picture book also has a section in the back with simple instructions for  yoga and  Tai chi moves as well as pictures of the poses.

Sylvia Liu’s award winning book (Lee & Low Books New Voices Award 2016) will become a well-loved book by preschoolers and early readers alike. It is the perfect book for teachers to read to their classes.

I was very excited to win a copy of A Morning with Grandpa from Kathy Temean’s blog “Writing and Illustrating”. You can check it out here:  https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/. On a personal note, my first grandchild is scheduled to arrive in October and A Morning with Grandpa is one of the first books for his or her library. All children should have a library of fabulous books and I don’t think it could be complete without this book.

 

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Book Review: Liberty – Pigs Take to the High Seas in this Adventure Filled Children’s Book

LibertyLiberty
by Darcy Pattison

Darcy Pattison’s newest children’s fiction book, Liberty takes place in a fantasy world. Once the characters cross over into a land called Liberty, man and animal understand and work with each other. The animals become humanlike as they use utensils to eat, wear human clothing and have to work to earn money to pay for life’s necessities.

The novel starts out in a barn yard with the arrival of a new pig. SanitagoTalbert is unlike any pig Penelope pig has ever seen. He is a proud Berkshire pig with grand thoughts of breaking out of the pen he lives in to escape to Liberty. With plans to sail the seven seas, he convinces Penelope that life is more than living in a pen. Her life will be spent having litter after litter of piglets who will all be sold for bacon until she is too old. Then she will be taken away too.

Penelope soon realizes that she wants more than living in the farmer’s pen, so she plans to leave with Sanitago. Liberty is far from the farm, but with her mother’s blessing, Penelope and Santiago escape and begin their adventure.

Their travels and adventures are full of dangerous characters. The newly freed pigs need to find out who they can trust and who is dangerous in their brave new world. They have to race for their lives when an evil captain tries to capture them. They’ve found out his secret and he is willing to do anything to keep them quiet.

Pattison creates an interesting setting, reminiscent of colonial America for the pig’s adventures. The characters come alive with her words. I felt sorry for Penelope when she tried to climb the rigging in the ship but had too much trouble since she had hooves instead of hands.  It is interesting to see how Penelope and Santiago learn to adapt to get the job done.

The ongoing thread of kindness and generosity is woven throughout this manuscript. The pigs are kind to everyone they meet, often putting themselves in danger to help another animal out of trouble. Their kindness is paid back one hundredfold, but they truly are goodhearted and would have helped others without repayment.

Liberty was a fast-paced work of juvenile fiction. Due to the length, I would suggest 3rd to 4th  grade school students might enjoy it more than first or second graders. It could be read to them by an adult at home, teacher at school or a caregiver. There are a few scary parts for younger children, but nothing that would give them nightmares, especially if read to them by an adult.

Darcy Pattison is an award winning of fiction and non-fiction children’s books. Liberty will be available at your local bookstore, Barnes and Nobel and Amazon on July 19, 2016. Pre-order now!

 

Copyright © 2016 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from NetGalley that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

 

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Picture Book Idea Month – Sounds Easy Enough – Until You Try IT!

Today begins the first day of PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). How hard can it be to come up with an idea or two or three a day for a picture book? REALLY, REALLY hard.

Tara Lazar hosts PiBoIdMo on her blog:  http://taralazar.com/author/anonymom/. She has great guest bloggers and lots of information and encouragement to share. I highly recommend going to her blog and at least checking it out. I find great tips all year long in her posts.

This isn’t my first PiBoIdMo. I’ve participated the last 3 years. Out of those two month’s I’ve probably had 5 solid ideas. Not bad – until you try and tell the story in 500-600 words. AND making sure no one has used the idea or theme before. I can not imagine how difficult it would be to get far enough to have someone to publish your book once it is complete.

But still I write. It is fun to get “inside tips” from published picture book writers. They’ve been in the trenches, lived through the pain of cutting words and characters that just aren’t working no matter how much they love them.

A writer has to love to write. PiBoIdMo gives ideas and inspiration to make it easier to cook up great stories, but in the end you are the one stirring that pot hoping it doesn’t end up stinky and in the garbage. But if it does, a writer begins to write again.

Today’s inspiration came from Joan Holub whose list of books is enviable. But those books didn’t just appear in bookstores. Joan wrote & wrote and rewrote even more. Check out today’s post and if you are so inclined, sign up – you have until Nov 5th.

If I can come up with 30 ideas – so can you!

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Book Review: The Great Trouble – A Great Read for All Ages

The Great TroubleThe Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death & a Boy Called Eel

Deborah Hopkinson

234 pages

London 1854 is not a kind city for an orphan. Eel lives in a world where children live day to day in the filthy streets, sleeping under bridges, and begging, working, stealing for food. Eel has a steady job as an errand runner and a second job taking care of animals for Dr. John Snow a prominent London physician. Eel has it a bit better than other twelve-year-olds, but unfortunately he loses the errand job due to a thief and liar who has a grudge against him and the job with Dr. Snow does not pay him as much as he needs to make live.

Back on the streets, with a bad man from his past looking for him would seem like the worst thing that could happen. But Eel has a secret. This secret is costing him money each week that he does not have due to the boy that caused him to lose his job. His desperate attempt to make money forces him to make decisions that would terrify grown men, let alone a young boy.

With all of this going on, Eel goes to see a friend of his only to find the father of the family dying from “the blue death” which was cholera. The common theory is that this disease is spread by poisonous air, but Dr. Snow has a different theory. When he enlists Eel to help him investigate and support his theory.

Working against the clock amid the death knocking at almost every door in the neighborhood, Eel faces friends and foes to help the Doctor. This just might be the best thing that has ever happened to him.

This book was written for children 10 years and up. I am way past 10 and was thoroughly engrossed in this story. There was history, mystery, science, intrigue and relationships to wonder and worry about. The story is based on real people and the actual cholera epidemic in London.

I loved the way Hopkinson wrapped the true events in a great story that adds depth to the story to keep the reader’s interest high. As a bonus, at the end of the novel, she has biographical information on each of the characters that were based upon real people, including pictures of them. She also tells the reader about the books available for more information on the Broad Street cholera epidemic and the efforts of Dr. John Snow to stop the Blue Death from spreading.

I would recommend this book to adults and children that are interested in history and mysteries. It would be a great read-along for a classroom or with your child if it seems too long for him or her to read alone. The story will keep their interest.

If you don’t have any children to share this great book with, read it yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review

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