Tag Archives: animals

6th Grade Revengers: Cat Crimes and Wannabes by Steven Whibley

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catcrimes6th Grade Revengers: Cat Crimes and Wannabes by Steven Whibley, e-book, 88 pages, published in 2015.

Jared and his best friend Marcus style themselves as The Revengers; a team that takes care of problems in their community. Their first task is to rid the Oak Street neighbourhood of a crazy and evil cat that is ruling the street with his claws and teeth. They also have to do something about Gunner, Jared’s sister’s boyfriend and wannabe pop star. He just hangs about Jared’s house pretending to write music and loafing off Ronie (Jared’s sister). The boys are going to have to be creative to solve these problems, and prove themselves as a team that gets things done.

An easy and quick read, Cat Crimes and Wannabes was entertaining and amusing. There were occasional black and white illustrations among the text, and the chapters were fairly short, good for reluctant readers.

The first chapter was a very clever way to begin the story, introducing Jared and his family. I enjoyed reading about Jared and Marcus and their new business. I especially liked their efforts to banish the evil cat. That was one scary cat! So vicious and aggressive, it was more like a small tiger than a house cat. Jared and Marcus really underestimated how difficult removing such a cat would be, but their efforts were funny.  While Gunner wasn’t dangerous like the cat, he was still an annoying presence who I disliked greatly. The boys’ plan to remove Gunner from their lives was ingenious, and much nicer than things I thought of to do to him!

This is the first book in a series following The Revengers. I had a moment of disappointment when the story finished, as I was expecting it to be longer based on the page count. Instead there was a preview for the next book in the series at the end , and now I want to read that one too!

Cat Crimes and Wannabes is most suitable for middle and upper primary school children into lower high school.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland

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18162731The Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

Bear is picking berries when he is startled by Boris Buffalo, who emerges from the slimy waters of the bog. Bear claims he wasn’t scared, and that he can do the bravest things that Boris can do. They challenge each other to various activities trying to out-brave the other. Could there be anything that scares these two brave  beasts?

The Very Brave Bear is another book in The Very Cranky Bear collection from wonderful author and illustrator, Nick Bland. My pre-schoolers love this series, and they are very fond of Bear.

We love this book! It has been read many times in our family; The Very Brave Bear is funny with lovely lyrical language and detailed illustrations. It keeps my kids engaged and wanting to read more. I’m impressed when Bear and Boris try to wear a beard of bees, but my kids like it best when they are tumbling down the steep hill and getting poked with porcupine quills. We all like the ending to the story.

The Very Brave Bear is suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. It is a perfect book for sharing a giggle with your child.

A Day in the Park by Matt Weiss

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dayparkA Day in the Park by Matt Weiss, e-book, 271 pages, published in 2016.

During a science lesson at school, Ryan’s teacher suggests that he investigate a local park area to look for frogs and frog spawn. Along with his mates, Casey and Jay, Ryan heads to the park, but along one of the trails in the forest, he discovers something else. Even though they do not know what it is, the three boys decide to dig it up and research it.

Overall, I quite enjoyed A Day in the Park. I have an interest in archaeology and palaeontology, so a book about fossils and prehistoric creatures is right up my alley. There were a lot of references to scientific terms and processes during the story, which might throw some readers. However, all of the terms were explained sufficiently for people new to this area of science.

I was surprised the first time that Ryan drifted off into the prehistoric landscape. And I’m still not sure if he was dreaming, hallucinating or actually travelling back in time! There was also no explanation as to how or why he was experiencing these prehistoric travels. These sequences were some of my favourite parts of the story. They were well developed with lovely descriptive language, bringing the prairie and its inhabitants to life.

The boys were average young teens being encouraged to leave their screens behind and find adventures in nature. Jay was definitely the clown of the trio, doing some rather silly, though funny things. Casey was the brains, always ready to investigate things thoroughly, and read extra information. Ryan was kind of in between. He was quieter than Jay, but less studious than Casey. I liked all three, and through the story I learnt plenty about each of them.

A Day in the Park is most suitable for middle primary school to lower high school children. I read the whole book in one day, and it kept me entertained throughout. While I enjoyed it as an adult, I know that I would have loved this book when I was about ten or eleven, so I am recommending it to my ten year old to read.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

This Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie

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hungrydragonThis Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

A very hungry dragon goes on an eating spree. Bear, fox, bull, is there anything he won’t eat?

This Hungry Dragon is an hilarious book with a message about eating right. The dragon grows and grows with every meal, eating well past the time when he is actually full, leaving him feeling rather sick.

All of my kids love This Hungry Dragon, especially my three year olds. They will ‘read’ it to themselves over and over, in between asking me to read it to them. The story is funny with great read aloud rhyming language and lovely illustrations. The dragon is pretty cute, but my favourite picture is inside the dragon’s tummy. We all love to spot different items that the dragon has eaten! I also like the unchangeable expression on the beefy bull.

This Hungry Dragon is most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. Heath McKenzie is a well loved author in our house; we like I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess and What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas. We are looking forward to more books from this terrific author soon.

Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey

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pigelfPig the Elf by Aaron Blabey, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

It’s Christmas time, and the greediest dog of all, Pig, has made a very long list of all the things he wants from Santa. He loves Christmas for all the presents that Santa will deliver, but in true Pig fashion, things don’t go the way he desires.

We have loved all of the Pig the Pug books so far, so we were excited to see what Pig would get up to at Christmas. Pig is very greedy, so it wasn’t surprising that his Christmas list was incredibly long. You can read parts of the list within the back cover of the book. I laughed reading some of the things he asked for, such as a beard, and a trained shark. Oh Pig, just what would you do with those?

Pig the Elf is a great book to share with young children during the holiday period. The story is humorous, and the language rhymes, which is fun to read aloud. The illustrations are cute and quite festive. I particularly liked Pig in his red suit; though he looks rather crazy when he is informing Trevor that he will be waiting up for Santa. Of course, there is also a message in there about being grateful instead of greedy, I’m not sure Pig will really embrace it though.

We all enjoyed Pig the Elf, and I’m sure it will be a favourite for many Christmases to come. It is most suitable for toddlers and primary school children, as well as the young at heart!

Dalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott

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dalmatiandiggerDalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott, picture e-book, 34 pages, to be published by Capstone Young Readers in February 2017.

A little dalmatian wakes up to some loud noises coming from outside. What could be making that noise?

My three year old boys loved this book. It has big machinery and animals, two of their favourite things. In their view the only thing that could have made it better was if it had dinosaurs as well! They loved the onomatopoeia that went with each vehicle. I liked the way this text was formed.

The story is simple and best read aloud for the vehicle noises. We read it as a digital edition, but I think it would have been nicer to have the physical book, as we could have seen the two-page spread as it was meant to be. The illustrations in Dalmatian in a Digger are super cute, especially the little dalmatian. The pictures are bright and clear, and we enjoyed finding the little mouse on each page. My boys liked the digger, but I was partial to the Bear in a Bulldozer.

Dalmatian in a Digger is most suitable for toddlers and preschoolers.

 

*I obtained this book as a digital copy through Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers

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bigfootBigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers and illustrated by Catherine Straus, picture e-book, 24 pages, published by Jeffers Publishing in 2016.

Come on a journey through the Pacific Northwest to see if you can spot evidence of Bigfoot. Look for his footprints, nest or broken trees; you might even spy Bigfoot himself!

I had a lot of fun looking for Bigfoot on each page. The illustrations are very detailed, and evidence of Bigfoot is well hidden, so it was quite satisfying when I was able to spot him! It’s really difficult to decide which scene is my favourite, as they are all great, but I think I like the gold-panning river scene best. I really liked the way the trees on every page were depicted.

The story is told through simple rhyme, and contains facts about the myth of Bigfoot. The language is basic, suitable for younger children, and the text is quite clear, despite the busyness of each page. Some of the story is spent reminding the reader to keep an eye open for the ever elusive Bigfoot.

I read this as an e-book. Unfortunately, in this format each page didn’t align with it’s pair, as it would when the paperback version is opened to any given page. Ergo, I would have preferred to read the physical book, but it was really only a minor inconvenience, and I still enjoyed it very much.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest is suitable for children and adults, though I think primary school students would enjoy it the most. It is good to share with children, helping them to spot evidence of Bigfoot, and talking about the legend. We also spoke about other things we could see in each scene, such as explaining gold-panning.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! by Julia Lassa

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goOn Your Marks, Get Set, Go! by Julia Lassa and illustrated by Merve Terzi, picture e-book, 30 pages, published by Bower Maze in 2016.

On a sunny day three friends decide to have a race. One is a little girl, Ladi, another is a lizard, Liz, and the third friend is a chameleon, Cam. Each place that they choose to race gives an unfair advantage to one of them, so how can they race fairly?

This is a simple picture book, yet also a lovely one. The text is large and easy to read. The story is fun and easily understood by younger children. It also sets the stage for a discussion about equity. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Every page is so bright and enticing, with wonderful use of colour. I particularly like Cam’s facial expressions.

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go! is ideal for younger children from toddlers through to lower primary school.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Bees in Loretta’s Bonnet by Lois Wickstrom

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beeslorettaBees in Loretta’s Bonnet by Lois Wickstrom and illustrated by Francie Mion, picture e-book, 34 pages, published in 2016.

While bringing in wood from the woodpile during winter, Loretta finds a leafcutter bee’s nest. She puts the nest back in the woodpile and watches it to see what happens when spring arrives.

Bees in Loretta’s Bonnet blends facts and fiction into a delightful and educational picture book. Information about leafcutter bees is integrated subtlety; the kids won’t even know they are learning about nature! The story is easy to read and the text is clear. Quaint illustrations feature throughout the book.

At the end of the book there are instructions for making a home for solitary bees, such as the leafcutter, to encourage them into your garden. This looks like an easy and fun activity for kids, as well as something that will help your garden flourish.

Suitable for primary school children, Bees in Loretta’s Bonnet makes for lovely shared reading time.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights by Lola McClane

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birdThe Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights by Lola McClane and illustrated by Angel dela Peña, picture e-book, 64 pages, published by Xlibris in 2015.

Augie and his sister, Snookie, are newly hatched young birds. Together they eat, laugh, learn and grow, until it comes time for their flying lessons. Snooki takes to the air, but Augie finds himself unable to leave the nest due to an intense fear of heights. He is very lonely while his sister and mum are off flying until a cat appears at the edge of the nest. The cat, Coleman, helps Augie to overcome his fear of heights.

This is a pleasant story of a wonderful and unlikely friendship that brings about a huge change in a little bird’s life. It is about persistence, patience and determination, as well as the faith and trust found between friends. I quite liked the feel-good nature of the story. This book could be a good starting point for talking about fears and phobias in general with kids. While it is specifically about overcoming a fear of heights, many fears can be tackled in a similar way.

The illustrations are appealing to children and very cute. Augie reminded me of the chickenhawk from the old Looney Tunes cartoons I used to watch as a kid. I read a digital copy, but I think that reading the physical book would help align the illustrations with the relevant text better.

I found the text on some of the pages was unpleasant to the eye. Where there was a coloured background, each individual word was surrounded by a small white outline, which I hated. It was more difficult to read than the text printed on lighter colours or white, and I felt like I was straining my eyes.

The Bird Who Was Afraid of Heights was too long for my younger children to enjoy in one sitting. It was better for my older kids; my 9 year old particularly liked it. It is suitable for reading to lower primary school children, while middle primary school children could read it for themselves.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.