Sunday, August 2, 2015

Children's Book Review and Giveaway: Ellie

What would it be like to be Amish? Ellie Maust shares her story.

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Offer expires 8/8/15.

Ellie: Ellie’s People Book 1
Mary Christner Borntrager
BIBLIO: 2014, Herald Press, Ages 9 to 12, $7.99.
REVIEWER: Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Middle Grade
ISBN:  9780836134681

What would it be like to be Amish? Everything you wanted to know you could see through the eyes of a young girl named Ellie. Ellie Maust was born into an Amish home. Her life was very sheltered until she entered the first grade of school. Her experience at school wasn’t a very good one. She was made fun of because she wore a cap, black stockings and spoke with a German dialect. Her Amish up bringing had made her a target. On top of that, her daily chores were also proving to be a challenge. Ellie was older now and she had a lot to learn regarding her role on the family farm. Every day was a busy day in the Maust house, especially Saturdays. The list of things to do was extensive. Lamp chimneys needed washing and filled with kerosene. Stoves needed polished, pots and pans needed scrubbed. Baking, hair washing, bathing and shoe polishing were just a few of the other items on the list. Growing up Amish had its burdens and responsibilities, but it could also be very rewarding. Ellie did make a friend in Missy. Missy had a disability but that didn’t stop her from being a good friend. Ellie was even allowed to have Missy over for a sleepover. This was Ellie’s chance to shine. Her knowledge of how to care for her siblings and the farm animals was better than she thought.  She showed Missy what to do and Missy was impressed and was an eager student. Ellie’s father was leery of Missy because she was English and wore a bright colored dress. But when he noticed the brace on her leg and her willingness to learn, it helped to soften his heart. Ellie continued to strain against her father’s strict ideas and wondered what her future would hold.

Author Mary Christner Borntrager has created a wonderful series for young readers. If you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series then you will love learning to know spunky Ellie and her friends and family. This story takes place in the early 1900’s. Parents and teachers can utilize this series in a home or classroom environment to open up dialogue about history, the Amish and what life must have been like during this era. Borntrager grew up Amish and based her novels on events and experiences from her own Amish childhood. This easy to read story will intrigue and engage readers of all ages.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Children's Book Review:Water Frog Polliwogs

Kids will have fun learning about the life of the North American bull frog.

Water Frog Polliwogs
Dawn Bluemel Oldfield
BIBLIO: 2013, Bearport Publishing Company, Ages 9 to 12, $21.32.
REVIEWER: Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Non Fiction
ISBN:  9781617726064

What is a polliwog? There is no need to wonder anymore. This guide may be tiny like a polliwog but it is full of great facts that will teach readers more than they could ever imagine about polliwogs. Young readers will be introduced to an American bull frog polliwog first thing. Polliwogs swim in ponds and look like a little fish. Bull frogs are the largest type of frog in North America. An interesting fact about the bull frog is that they can weigh as much as five baseballs! A mother bull frog can lay up to 20,000 eggs at one time. It only takes about five days for the eggs to hatch and become a polliwog. There, little guys eat algae with their tiny teeth. In about a year the polliwog goes through some big changes. By the time the polliwog is two years old it looks like a frog but still has a short tail.

There is so much to learn and colorful photos show readers exactly what’s happening in the life stages of a polliwog. The glossary in the back has word pronunciation and definitions. Parents and teachers will love sharing this little guide with children. Small hands will have no problem flipping through the pages to learn about water frogs and polliwogs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Children's Book Review and Giveway: Trailing Tennessee

Book Giveaway!

A great adventure story young readers will love!

For a chance to win this wonderful coming of age story all you have to do is:
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Offer expires 7/29/15.

Title: Trailing Tennessee
Author: Cory Wheeler Mimms
Illustrations: Brian David Smith and Jott Robertson
Publisher:  Craigmore Creations
ISBN:  9781940052007


Eli Sutton is a fourteen-year-old boy who lives by the Appalachian mountains. Like his father and his grandfather he liked to fish, hunt, hike and spend time among the trees and insects. His  grandfather used to tell him stories about the Cherokee ghosts that haunted the woods. Another story he loved was the one when his father and grandfather hiked the Appalachian Trail and carved their names into a tree at the end of the 1500 mile hike.

Eli lost his father in a truck accident. Eli survived the accident but knew he would be changed forever when he lost his father. After the funeral, his mother gave him an old leather journal that his father had kept. He read it through the night learning more and more about his father and grandfather and their journey on the trail. He wanted to re-create their journey. He packed a bag with dried goods, toilet paper, garbage bags, duct tape, a toothbrush and other misc items he might need. He wrote a note to his mother letting her know he would return in late September or early October. He would carry his phone but only use it in case of an emergency. His adventure had begun.

Eli used the journal as a guide, but it didn't necessarily help him from getting lost.  He met other hikers along the way and stayed in a few shelters, some infested with critters looking for food. Little did he know his mother would worry and seek help to find Eli. Eli would encounter bumps, bruises and rubbed raw skin from his pack and his shoes. He would also encounter a bear and unknown entities in the night. Eli walked and walked. Something kept pushing him forward. He wanted to make his father proud. Out of food, Eli got a ride into town. He discovered the store owner had a poster of a missing kid and it was him. He grabbed the groceries and made his escape. With the need to complete his climb, the ghosts in the night and a man hunt to bring him home, how would he succeed?

Author Cory Wheeler Mimms has created a great book for boys. Adventure, bears and ghost stories are all here. Easy to read and fast paced this very visual guide provides readers with a sense of being there. This great coming of age read will get young readers engaged and intrigued to follow the quest of Eli Sutton. 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: One Direction

One Direction is coming to Kansas City at Arrow Head Stadium!

One Direction
Lynn Peppas
BIBLIO: 2013, Crabtree Publishing Company, Ages 12 to 18, $8.95.
REVIEWER: Kristi Bernard
FORMAT: Young Adult
ISBN:  9780778710530

Boy bands have always been popular among teens. “The story of the band One Direction, called 1D for short, is a musical Cinderella story. A few years ago, the “boys” did not even know each other. Today, they are in the hottest group in the music industry – worldwide!” These popular fellows hale from the British Isles. The name of the group reflects the members’ confidence and ambition. Louis William Tomlinson is the oldest and loves to dress sharp. Niall James Horan is the only Irish member and is a fan of swing music. Zayn Jawaard Malik likes to draw and create caricatures. Harry Edward Styles is the youngest member and is a big Elvis Presley fan. Liam James Payne has overcome serious kidney issues. The group competed on X-Factor and didn’t win. Social media blew up with disappointed fans expressing their opinions. Simon Cowell, soon after, offered them a contract. Their first single “What Makes You Beautiful” reached number one in its first week. Fans are referred to as Directions. The group has a book out about their lives and role in the music world. In the future they want to create a more mature album. The back of the book has a timeline for all of their achievements and a glossary of terms. Readers who are fans of this group can learn so much about them here. Excellent photography provides an up close look into the lives of these popular fellows and their path to success.


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