Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater

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Pip Bartlett's Guide to Magical Creatures
by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
192 pages
Personal Copy
Scholastic Press
April 2015

Book Jacket Summary
From bestselling authors Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce comes an exciting new series full of magical creatures, whimsical adventures, and quirky illustrations.

Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. Her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. And her new friend Tomas is allergic to most magical creatures. When things go amok—and they often go amok—Pip consults Jeffrey Higgleston’s Guide to Magical Creatures, a reference work that Pip finds herself constantly amending. Because dealing with magical creatures like unicorns, griffins, and fuzzles doesn’t just require book knowledge—it requires hands-on experience and thinking on your feet. For example, when fuzzles (which have an awful habit of bursting into flame when they’re agitated) invade your town, it’s not enough to know what the fuzzles are—Pip and Tomas also must trace the fuzzles’ agitation to its source, and in doing so, save the whole town.

My Thoughts
This is magical realism at it's best. Everything is the same except one minor thing and in this book it is that mythical creatures are part of everyday life. Pip has the ability to speak to these animals but no one really believes her. Her parents think it's a phase that she she will grow out of and others just think she is lying. This gets Pip in trouble and ultimately shipped to her aunt's house for the summer. However, this is actually to her advantage because her aunt is a vet for mythical animals.
Pip now gets to help out and learns more about each animal; adding this information to her field guide. There is a nervous unicorn, a grumpy griffin, and an infestation of fuzzles. The fuzzles are everywhere and running around town setting fires when they are scared. It is up to Pip and her new friend Tomas to figure out why the fuzzles are coming in to town before they are distroyed.
 I really like Pip and her bravery when dealing with the different animals. Tomas is cute with his strange allergies that throw Pip for a loop. Pip has to deal with a nervous unicorn that is afraid of it's own shadow which Pip deals with in equal amounts of patience and frustration. She is learning how to deal with her abilities and how to convience everyone that she really can talk to these animals.
With names like Stievater and Pearce behind this book it should be a big hit beyond the middle grade readers it is intended for. I preordered my copy and recieved a signed nameplate and an original illustration. It is a cute book and a wonderful start to a new series.

Book Pairings
 Beast Keeper (Beasts of Olympus, #1) by Lucy Coats 
Whatever After Series by Sarah Mlynowski


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

COVER REVEAL: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

by Renee Collins
They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time.
Cassandra is a headstrong teenager craving drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and new stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger named Lawrence shows up on their private beach claiming it’s his own—and that the year is 1925—she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love—and Lawrence’s life—in jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history—or risk losing Lawrence forever.
 Expected publication: November 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Renee CollinsRenee Collins grew up on a beach in Hawaii. Sadly, she never met anyone from the past on those shores, but she did go on to get a degree in History, which is almost the same.  


Monday, June 15, 2015

Bramble and Maggie: Give and Take by Jessie Haas

15798652 Bramble and Maggie: Give and Take
by Jessie Haas
illustrated by Alison Friend
56 pages
Early Reader
Library Copy 
April 23rd 2013 by Candlewick Press 
Book Jacket Summary
Maggie and her mischievous horse, Bramble, are back for another spirited romp through the ins and outs of friendship.

Maggie loves introducing her new horse, Bramble, to the neighborhood, the beach, and the backyard. Bramble has fun too, once she is cajoled into participating by a well-timed carrot or two. But when Maggie has to go to school, Bramble is bored and lonely and gets into some trouble with Mr. Dingle next door. A misbehaving hen and a midnight visitor finally help to turn Bramble into a good neighbor. This charming and funny early reader flows at just the right pace for kids who are learning that others don’t always do exactly what you want, but that friends find a way to give and take.

My Thoughts
Horses were my favorite animal growing up and I always read horse themed books. I guess my eye is still drawn to them because I found this on the library shelf and thought I would give it a go. It is a very cute easy reader about a girl, her horse, and a hen. It it also about the stubbornness of horses, which I know from personal experience. There is a cute exchange about Bramble blowing out her stomach to keep the girth from being tightened. This a thing that most horses do and it was nice to see it in a kids book. There is an actual plot with Bramble being bored while Maggie is away at school and their neighbor giving Bramble his hen for company. This was an easy read, it is an easy reader after all but still enough there if an adult reads it out loud. This will keep a horse loving child entertained but it is also funny enough for a child not totally interested in them. A good mix of humor and animals hi jinx make this a rather good find.

Book Pairings
Bramble and Maggie
Bramble and Maggie: Spooky Season


Monday, June 1, 2015

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson

Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story 
by Deborah Hopkinson
illustrated by Steven Guarnaccia 
Picture Book
Feb. 2013

Book Jacket Summary
Mikey’s dad has left home to fight overseas during World War I, and Mikey wants to do something BIG to help. When his teacher suggests that the class participate in a knitting bee in Central Park to knit clothing for the troops, Mikey and his friends roll their eyes—knitting is for girls! But when the girls turn it into a competition, the boys just have to meet the challenge.

Based on a real “Knit-In” event at Central Park in 1918, Knit Your Bit shows readers that making a lasting contribution is as easy as trying something new! 

My Thoughts
A nice bit of history about World War I and knitting. I have tons of friends who love to knit and crochet but I have never had the coordination or patience to learn properly. This book makes me want to try again. 
It is a cute book that follows the life of Mickey whose father is off to fight in World War I. His mother and sister start to knitting hats and socks to keep their father warm in the upcoming winter months overseas. Mickey thinks it is all "girl stuff" until he is dared by a classmate. He ends up at a knitting bee and giving his one perfect sock to an amputee solider.
It was nice to see a boy learn to knit in a picture book, even if he did put up a fuss. He practiced and practiced to knit his father a pair of socks. The author notes talk about all the different groups that knitted for the cause. Including a group called the Rocky Mountain Knitters Boys of Colorado who were called upon to be as patriotic as the girls. The inside cover also has pictures of the different groups knitting!
I would recommend for an older elementary age, especially when they start to think in gender stereotypes. This might make some boys think differently about knitting and give it a shot.

Book Pairings
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Mr. Nick's Knitting by Margaret Wild
Knitting Nell by Julie Jersild Roth

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