#BookReview Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi by Eugenia Chu

Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子) is a beautiful little story that should be read across the nation!

Jiǎo zi is a dumpling, in case you didn’t know (because I didn’t until the book told me!). Brandon loves dumplings – make them and eat them (mostly eat, obviously). One day, Brandon’s Grandma from China comes to visit and everything becomes super, duper exciting! Mistakes occur along the way, but everything is made to be fun!

Epic positives:
1. The description and quick lesson about Pinyin was super cool! I don’t know much about Chinese characters and Asian languages, so the little lesson was very much appreciated! I’ve always been curious how translations can work, so this totally spiked my interest. I can totally see families bonding over the language barriers, especially if they are learning a new language!

2. This book is really positive. It not only is educational but shows that Brandon could make mistakes and it was able to be fun and not a negative experience. I can totally appreciate that! Kids make mistakes in the kitchen all the time and they should be embraced, not ridiculed!

3. The glossary! I normally am not a super big fan of them, but I liked seeing all of the words used so I could do a little learning myself.

The pictures are also hand drawn and it’s obvious. I think it’s sweet and gives a very homey feel, but this may be a negative for some readers. So – readers beware!

Overall, this is definitely one of my top children’s reads this year! It’s short and sweet, but packed full of adorableness!

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Barnes & Noble

Check out the read-through for this book:
YouTube

You can find out more about the author, Eugenia Chu, by clicking the links below:
Goodreads Author Page – Eugenia Chu
http://eugeniachu.com/
Twitter – @chuauthor

 

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#BookReview Incredible Cacao (Miss Tree Tale’s #2) by Deepa Remesh

To misquote the first sentence in this book, it was a beautiful book!

Miss Tree Tales is a wonderful little series all about educating the people about the environment! Last time around we learned about coconuts and sustainability and this time we get to learn about cacao (mmmm…chocolate… cue the Homer Simpson reference).

Our heroes, Mia and Nik, are back yet again to teach the youngings about all the good things that keep this planet spinning! For one, they teach us about the Millenium Seed Bank (which I had NO idea existed, so bonus points to Deepa for teaching me something new!). Then, the duo want to plant some seeds so their Mom recommends finding a new place to plant them (because we don’t want to run out of nitrogen – let that soil sit and ferment a bit!). Suddenly, they are whisked away on an adventure to learn about Cacao trees, seeds and pods! Cherry spitting, soccer, plantains, fermentation, baking, cacao percentages in chocolate and more get discussed in this lovely educational follow-up. There’s more adventure and fun throughout this novel, as if Deepa wanted to amp this book up!

Side Note: How does one join Miss Tree’s Plant Savers Club? I feel like I need honorary membership or something.

Yet again, the illustrations perfectly match the story and are quite sweet. They add just enough spice and sass to the story. The scrabble pieces were definitely my favourite.

I was a little disappointed that the chapters didn’t have the extra educational information, but I guess all good things have to come to an end. I know some reviewers didn’t enjoy them as much as I did, but I would have loved to see more of them! It felt like a little lesson packed tight into the book. There is a Seeds for Thought section at the back thought, which kind of makes up for the loss.

Overall, these books hold up really well and are great educational tools! I would love to see more Miss Tree Tales come out ASAP and for more classrooms to utilize these tools.

Four out of five stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Deepa Remesh, in exchange for an honest review.

You can find out more about this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Check out the first book in this series:
Mighty Coconuts (Miss Tree Tales #1) by Deepa Remesh
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find more information about Miss Tree Tales:
http://www.misstreetales.com/
Goodreads
Twitter – @misstreetales

If you love this series (or even the review) here’s some other books that might grab your attention:
#BookReview Yara’s Tawari Tree by Yossi Lapid
#BookReview Unlimited by Kevin Miller
#BookReview 100 Tiny Tales by K. Kris Loomis

 

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#BookReview Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence

Who doesn’t love a book about a strong female character? Especially a girl like me who grew up needing some strong female influences!

Marie Curie and the Power of Persistence is a wonderful, little book that is a must read for children.

To begin with, there is a super, evil villain who has decided the best way to ruin the world is to stop the spread of knowledge! This monster is big, mean and scary and seems to be content with his super devious plan. In walks Marie Curie, a woman who will turn into a superhero scientist through her amazing intelligence and experiments! Our evil villain wants Marie Curie stopped before she can get too smart and stop his wicked plans. Along the way, we will learn how Marie Curie is full of persistence in many different ways!

This little book is a wonderful mix of fiction and non-fiction. There’s lots of learning opportunities about this super scientist scattered among the pages. Definitions, facts and timelines about Marie Curie and information about the things she studied and created are all available to see. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good STEM book for their kids, especially since it’s about Marie Curie. She was a legend!

Also: references… in a children’s book… I LOVE IT.

On a side note, I thought the pictures were lovely and very unique. I haven’t seen this style a lot in children’s books, so I was impressed. It was colourful, fun and had lots of awesome details.

I am so thankful for this book. It is absolutely amazing and I wish I would have had books like this in my youth. Hopefully many kids are able to pick this book up or many educators get their hands on it! Seriously, we need more books like this – educational and fun!

Five out of five stars!

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Explore for giving me the opportunity to read this amazing book!

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo

 

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#BookReview The Underground Toy Society Helps Ellie the Elephant

The Underground Toy Society series continues with a marvelous addition!

This time around, those pesky kids left Ellie the Elephant behind! But no worries faithful audience, the Underground Toy Society is going to come to the rescue!

My positives:
1. I love the opening picture of the book with two girls holding their stuffed animals and reading. It’s utterly adorable and gives you a great feel for what this book is going to be: heartwarming.
2. The squirrel drawing. That’s all. The squirrel itself is a positive. I think Chippy’s cute.
3. This children’s book is a little longer. It has paragraphs and a full story instead of the typical simple sentences with rhyming schemes.

My negatives:
1. As with the other books by Jessica, the aesthetic of children’s drawings may not please all readers. It is by no means a negative for me, but I can see some readers not enjoying it.
2. How did the mole get a bow and a skirt? Did someone leave them behind and Mindy decided to wear them? I need to know. This is crucial. It is not explained anywhere in the book!
3. This book didn’t have as much of a theme as the original did, but it’s still a marvelous little story.

Overall, this is a cute book and I’d highly recommend picking it up! If you’re looking for something different for your kids, then grab this unique book! The pictures are drawn by Jessica’s kid, she’s a self-published, indie author and it’s just a magical little series!

Four out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Jessica D. Adams, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check this book out on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

Check out Jessica on:
http://onesweetday48.wix.com/undergroundtoysociet
Twitter – @onesweetday48
Facebook
YouTube

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#BookReview Mighty Coconuts (Miss Tree Tales #1) by Deepa Remesh

Miss Tree Tales by Deepa Remesh is a wonderful series that is an absolute must read!

Book #1: Mighty Coconuts is a cute, little gem that should be actively sought out by avid readers. This middle grade novel is short but sweet, and delivering all the right messages.

Mia and Nik live in Texas, and boy is it hot! The nine and seven year olds are full of whimsy and adventure. When a storm seems to blow through, a woman appears and begins to teach the children wonderful facts about the local nature (think droughts, growth and greenhouse gases). These intelligent kids can keep up with Miss Tree with ease, and they learn a lot in the process. Miss Tree offers them a gig to help save the planet! Seedcopters, seed apps and lots of fun happen among the pages of this book – all of which is knowledgeable yet packed with fun! If you’re looking for a Green Thumb, this book is just for you!

The illustrations were cute and felt like they fit right into the story. I had an e-copy of the book, but I’m assuming the physical copies would look so much nicer. The quality of the pictures tend to rely on your device these days.

The best part of this book was the “Seeds for Thought” sections at the end of the chapters. These little blurbs provide useful and information and links for curious students to follow. One excellent quote from this book is, “Protect, Sustain, Conserve”, which perfectly sums up the goal of this read.

I know, personally, if I would have had books like this about biology back in my school days then I would have liked biology a lot more. I found the teachers were always bored with these topics and made it impossible for any of us students to learn. Deepa Remesh’s book makes me actually enjoy learning about biology. I’m sure many students and kids would appreciate help from educational books like this one. To top it off, it’s also just a good book in general!

I would recommend kids seven to thirteen read this book. Thirteen might be a little high, but I could see them reading this to their reading buddies. I’d even recommend this book for educational purposes within schools. It’s a different take on biology and conservation that I think would be a great asset and tool!

Five out of five stars!

I received a free copy of this book from the author, Deepa Remesh, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find more information about Miss Tree Tales:
http://www.misstreetales.com/
Goodreads
Twitter – @misstreetales

If you liked this review, here’s some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Underground Toy Society by Jessica D. Adams
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

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#BookReview Mr. Hoopeyloops Saves Christmas by Andi Cann

Kids Books + Christmas Books = My Guilty Pleasure

I was SO PUMPED to find this book for free via Bookbub! I absolutely love a cute children’s book and adding in some holiday spirit just made it all the better!

We open this book with Zoey visiting Mr. Hoopeyloops, and boy is she upset! Didn’t you know?! Christmas is canceled! Santa has a bit of a labour issue (and who doesn’t these days?) which ruins everything! So, Mr. Hoopeyloops grabs his friend Rex and they set off to save Christmas! How could he help, you might ask. Well, turns out Santa Claus is his brother!

While this is a picture book, it’s a little longer than the typical children’s book I’ve been finding lately. It has paragraphs beside the pages, which I absolutely love! I miss the days where children’s books had longer plots! I’d recommend this book for five to twelve year olds, because it’s an absolute delight!

I absolutely love the art style. It’s soft yet busy and fits perfectly with the story. I’d highly recommend reading this book just for the art alone! It’s probably my favourite picture book this year.

At the very end of this book, there’s a little educational moment about the history of glass Christmas ornaments. Having those educational side notes always makes me a very pleased reader, so that only made this book better! This could easily be used in a classroom or for reading buddies!

Overall, this book is absolutely marvelous! I was stunned at how great it is and I would highly recommend it!

Five out of five stars! Spread the Christmas cheer!

I found this book for free via Bookbub.

 

You can find this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

 

Find out more about Andi Cann on: https://www.andicann.com/

 

If you love children’s books, check out some others you might enjoy:
#BookReview Zachary and the Great Potato Catastrophe by Junia Wonders
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

 

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#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves is a truly fantastical, middle grade novel that focuses on Norse mythology.

I love Kelley Armstrong and I’ve been dying to get my hands on a novel by Marissa Marr for YEARS. So, when I heard that the two of them were writing a novel together I had to get my hands on it! On top of it all, I love a good, middle grade novel that I can sink my teeth into and not think *too* hard when reading.

Loki’s Wolves has Percy Jackson vibes, but for a little younger base. Matt Thorsen is, you guessed it, a descendant of Thor, and of course he’s the chosen one! He has been chosen to defeat a mythical serpent that will aid in the destruction of Ragnarok. Laurie and Fen are descendants of Loki, and they will join Matt on his epic quest. Along the way, they must find the children and descendants of the other Norse gods and try not to make their corresponding tales come true.

This book leaves itself on a WILD cliffhanger. I NEED to know what happens, and unfortunately for me I don’t have the next novel in my hands yet. The story does not stand alone, which is a real shame. I totally get leaving a cliffhanger so your audience wants to keep reading, but MAN I AM FRUSTRATED. The story just stopped, it didn’t end!

These 13 year old leads were shockingly like 13 year olds! Sometimes when you read a book like this, the leads act like adults. Lucky for us, Kelley and Marissa are amazing writers and were able to craft characters that felt like their age. They make silly mistakes, they trust people they shouldn’t and sometimes they are down right goofy. What more can you expect from a pre-teen cast? Especially when said pre-teens are the chosen ones who need to save the planet.

The plot itself is fast paced, full of fun surprises, and has lots of literal fun. This is a fantasy novel, so it’s not going to be some Oscar winning, realistic drama. It has monsters and amulets and silly tricks (I mean, you’ve got Loki in the title… what did you expect?). To me, I think it’s the perfect way to introduce the middle grade audience into Norse mythology. It’s a fun story with just enough mythology to make it interesting! Also, I totally binged it in a few hours. It was THAT good.

I’d highly recommend this book. Seriously, whether it’s for your middle grade readers or adults who just want to sink into a good, fun book! I loved it and I’ll definitely be continuing this series if I can ever find the sequels.

Five out of five stars!

 

Check out this book on:
Amazon.ca
Goodreads
Indigo
Kobo

 

Check out some other books you might enjoy:
#BookReview Virals by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs
#BookReview The Water War by Kevin Miller
#BookReview Peter Green and the Unliving Academy by Angelina Allsop

 

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#BookReview Monster Blood (Goosebumps) by R.L. Stine

Goosebumps was one of my all time favourites as a kid. I scrambled to the library at every chance to get my hands on any Goosebumps novel. I didn’t care if I read them over and over and knew the story by heart, I’d read them again! And then hope the library got the television show and movie versions so I could watch them.

As an adult, I’ve been trying to find the Goosebumps series in my home town without much luck. Then, lucky me found five at a local thrift shop and my inner child went wild.

Fortunately, these books were just as good as I remembered!

Monster Blood follows Evan and Andy at Evan’s great-Aunt’s house. They buy some monster blood, slime like toy and suddenly all heck breaks loose! Evan’s dog grows in size, the cat is evil and his Great-Aunt Kathryn is seemingly weird. Is she a witch?! Is she crazy?! Either way, that monster blood is taking over the city!

This book was a hundred pages of pure fun and mild terror. As a kid these were so much scarier, but they were still just as epic! I loved the story moving quickly, being full of wild twists and turns and being a great book for both children and adults. This book also brought me back to my childhood with lots of nostalgia. Do you have any Nintendo games?!

Was there any negatives about the book? Yes. Trigger was an elderly dog who acted very young. Was it super duper scary? No. I think it might scare the middle grade readers who this book is aimed to scare, but it’s not scary to adults. Either way, it was still a fun and easy read that had me chuckling along the way. I enjoy R.L. Stine’s writing style. It’s not meant to be taken seriously (it’s not It or Carrie or any Stephen King book). This book was meant to bring the younger demographic a little horror novel and introduce them to the genre. Can every Goosebump book be an absolute winner? No.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a little spooky and is totally getting me in the mood for Halloween and October!

Four out of five stars!

You can find this book on:
Amazon.ca
Audible
Indigo
Kobo

 

Check out some other reviews you might enjoy:
#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark
#BookReview Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
#BookReview The Mega Collection by Scott Gordon – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories!

 

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#BookReview The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark

The Boy Who Cried Ghost by Richard Clark is a spooky, cute tale to get your little minions into the horror genre.

This book is by no means a horror novel, but if you want to work your way up to Goosebumps then you’ve found the right book! I love Richard Clark’s fun way to presenting a novel, and his entire book catalog feels the same. It’s simple to read, fun to say aloud, and makes you feel like you’re whisked away into another universe.

I’d call this book SPOOKY, because it does dabble in the haunted house side of horror. It’s not super scary, but it’s be a great way to get your kids thinking about Halloween or scary movies. Following Peter, Denise, Brenda and Fritz on their real estate shopping was a real fun way to present the stereotypical haunted house plot line. Throw in a few POPs and BANGs and you’ve got yourself a solid, fun to read story.

It’s not my favourite book, but it wasn’t meant for me as a reader. It will definitely be a hit with the kids who need a reading buddy or a bed time read (hopefully this won’t cause any nightmares!)! I would have loved this book back in the day with my reading buddy, we would have had a smashing good time!

Also, can I read Chiller Comix?! It sounds like a lot of fun!

Three out of five stars!

I found this book via Bookbub.

 

If you enjoyed this book, check out another you might enjoy!
#BookReview The Mega Collection by Scott Gordon – Nine Awesome Bedtime Stories!
#BookReview Unhinged by Richard Clark
#BookReview Pandora’s Lunch Box: Don’t Open! by Richard Clark

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