Posted in Young Adult Lit

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

10798418Why We Broke Up
Daniel Handler
Art by Maira Kalman
2011 Little Brown and Company
ISBN – 9780316127257
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – High School
2.5 Stars


Minerva Green, or Min for short is breaking up with Ed. So she writes him a letter and returns him all of the mementos from their relationship. Min is a film buff and Ed is a co-captain of the high school basketball team. They are an odd couple from the beginning, but sometimes opposites attract. The letter outlines all of the ups and downs of their relationship and how they fell in love and why they fell apart.

I don’t have any real solid reason for not loving this book, I just didn’t. It just wasn’t all that interesting. Each chapter comes with a painting showing each item that she is returning to him. I really like the idea of having visual media in YA books, but I just didn’t really like the paintings. I guess that is how I felt about the entire book. I like the concept, it just didn’t work well for me in practice.

Posted in Board Book

Hippopposites by Janik Coat

Janik Coat
2012 Appleseed Books
ISBN – 9781419701511
Genre – Board Book
Age – 0-2
4.5 Stars

This is a book about opposites with a big hippo as the main character. The author shows the hippo in many different scenarios, with the opposite scenario on the opposite page. These ranges from the easy concepts of small and large to more obscure concepts such as opaque and transparent. One of my favorites is soft and rough in which the hippo is made of different materials.

This book has merit for a lot of different reasons. The first thing I noticed is that it is large format (for a board book) which allows the illustrations to be clear and easy to see (especially important for infants.) It is also a great way to teach the concept of opposites in a book that can be chewed on and when the child is a little bit older it may be more easily comprehended. The pictures are mostly colorful and very expressive. Not to mention I really just love the way the hippo is drawn!

Posted in Young Adult Lit

Geektastic Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

5530930Geektastic Stories from the Nerd Herd
Edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci
2009 Little, Brown and Company
ISBN – 9780316008105
Genre – Short Stories
Age – High School
3.5 Stars


Well known young adult authors come together in Geektastic to write about everything from Star Wars to Star Trek, from theater geeks to the AV geek. This book has something for every type of geek! I read this book because it had stories by some of my favorite YA authors including John Green and Libba Bray, and although I could be considered a geek, I related to very few of the stories. However, I still enjoyed most of the stories, and learned something about the wide world of nerd! I really enjoyed the mini comics between the different stories that were a sort of how-to lesson for non-geeks. They taught me a lot. I did skip one story because it was just too heavy in geekdom, but overall a really fun book!

Posted in Picture Books

Wow! Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood

6903371Wow! Said the Owl
Tim Hopgood
2009 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN – 9780374385187
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Toddler, Preschool
5 Stars


When we are asleep at night, owls are awake. They are good at seeing in the dark. But one little owl was curious about what went on during the day time. So she took a long nap and woke up at the beginning of the day. Wow! said the owl, she was so amazed by all of the different colors that were present during the day. She saw the color pink of the sunrise, the white of the clouds, the red butterflies, and so many more colors. All of the colors were so beautiful. Then it turned back to night time, and the most beautiful stars came out!

I love this book. The language is simple in explaining different colors during the day. And the language complements the pictures really well. I love how the first pages of this book take place at night and the pages are all dark colors, but then when the sun rises the pages light up with lots of bright colors. There is an amazing amount of beautiful detail in each illustration that may not be instantly noticeable. For instance, many of the leaves on the trees have fun designs on them. After the end of the story, there is a page that shows all of the colors that were present in the book, and asks the reader to find them in the previous pages. What a fun a beautiful way to learn colors!

Posted in Young Adult Lit

Eve and Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate

13493463Eve and Adam
Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate
2012 Macmillan Audio
ISBN – 9781427226631
Genre – Science Fiction
Age – High School
1.5 Stars


Evening is in a terrible car accident. She wakes up after a 14 hour surgery to reattach her leg, to her mother trying to pull her out of the hospital and transfer her to the Spiker pharmaceutical facility. She meets a strange boy named Solo, and finds out that he has been her mother’s ward for the last six years. Eve starts to get very bored in her immobile state when her mother gives her a project. She is to attempt to create the perfect man using a genetic computer program. She creates Adam from scratch, and uncovers a few secrets while doing it.

This was a terrible book! The story is completely non interesting and non climactic. The characters have absolutely no depth or personality. I listened to this in my car, and to make the story even worse, I hated the narrators. The different chapters were narrated by the different main characters. I like that the audio book had different narrators for the different characters. That is just about the only thing nice I had to say about it. When I finally got to the ending, I couldn’t believe it just ended. No resolution (and I hope no sequel) and no satisfaction. I really hope the Gone Novels by Grant are way better than this was.


Posted in Children's Lit, Graphic Novel

Balloon Toons: Hiccup! by Mike Herrod

13330340Balloon Toons: Hiccup!
Mike Herrod
2012 Blue Apple Books
ISBN – 9781609052553
Genre – Graphic Novel
Age Early Elementary
4 Stars


It is the day of the school play for Jamie, and he is so nervous he doesn’t want to go to school. After his dad makes him his favorite breakfast, Jamie gets a case of the hiccups. When he gets the hiccups they always last a long long time, and now he is afraid that his hiccups will ruin the play! When he gets to school, he sees Jenna the star of the play, and she tries everything she can to help him get rid of his hiccups. She even enlists the help of other kids at school, Mr. Beakerbottom, and Coach Bloat. Will anybody be able to help Jamie get rid of the hiccups and save the play?

This is my first Children’s graphic novel, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I can definitely see the value in graphic novels for young children. The pictures in each frame are bright and descriptive, they really helped explain the story. I also think that the amount of words per picture makes the book seem less intimidating for beginning readers. I thought the story was fun. The possible hiccup cures were creative and hilarious, sure to make the kids laugh. I also thought that Mike Herrod properly captured the attitude and personalities of elementary aged students. They are nervous, scared, and at times can be very self centered. I really think these graphic novels have a place next to early reader books, and can even be great to mix options for learning readers.

Posted in Picture Books

Say What? by Angela DiTerlizzi

9956705Say What?
Angela DiTerlizzi
Illustrated by Joey Chou
2011 Beach Lane Books
ISBN – 9781416986942
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Toddler
3.5 Stars


Say What? asks the question what are animals really saying when they make the noises that they do. “When a cow says Moo, does she really mean who?” DiTerlizzi, suggests an answer for many different animals including lions, snakes, owls, ducks, and more. Each meaning rhymes with the original noise of the animal. This book is great for toddlers because there is repetition, rhythm, and rhyme, which are all great tools for teaching the intricacy of language. The illustrations are bright and silly. Each animal has a fun expression on their face that shows the playfulness of the book.

Posted in Picture Books

Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas

11477054Is Everyone Ready for Fun?
Jan Thomas
2011 Beach Lane Books
ISBN – 9781442423640
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Toddler
4.5 Stars


Three cows are looking to have some fun at Chicken’s house. First they jump up and down on Chicken’s sofa. But Chicken doesn’t want the Cows to jump on his sofa. So next  they dance back and forth on Chicken’s sofa, but Chicken doesn’t want them to do that either. Next they wiggle to and fro on Chicken’s sofa. When Chicken says there will be no more jumping dancing or wiggling there is only one thing left to do…on Chicken’s sofa!

This is a great book that will help to teach toddlers actions and motor skills! When you read the book, you can jump, dance, and wiggle with your child! The illustrations in this book are a great transition between books for infants, and more intricately illustrated books for preschool aged children. The drawings are simple, with bold black lines, and simple bright colors. It is quite easy for a toddler to focus on. Not to mention the faces! OK so I realize I often mention the facial expressions in picture books. I am realizing now how important facial expressions are, and how they can change the whole tone of the book. Well played Jan Thomas, Well Played!

Posted in Picture Books

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

15815400Exclamation Mark
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
2013 Scholastic Press
ISBN – 9780545436793
Genre – Picture Book
Age – Preschool
4 Stars


The Exclamation Mark was different from all of the Periods. He tried so hard to fit in, but never could. He became very upset, confused, and deflated, and he even thought about running away. One day he met Question Mark, who was also different. Question Mark bombarded Exclamation Point with so many different questions that Exclamation point screamed STOP! He enjoyed that so much that he began exclaiming things constantly. He showed everyone what he could do. He finally learned to embrace his differences.

I thought this book was adorable. Exclamation Point doesn’t want to be different, he just wants to fit in. I think all kids feel this way at one time or another. It wasn’t until meeting someone else different that he was truly able to be himself. I love that this book shows us how great it can be to embrace exactly who we are, and not always try to compare ourselves to someone else. The illustrations were simple, mainly comprising of punctuation, and words in various sizes and colors. I also like that the pages look like the paper in school that we learn to write our letters on with the solid lines for tall letters and the dotted line for the shorter letters. Great life lesson and grammar lesson as well!

Posted in Children's Lit

Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

6399428Happy Birthday Bad Kitty
Nick Bruel
2009 Roaring Book Press
ISBN – 9781596433427
Genre – Humor
Age – Early Elementary
4.5 Stars


It is Bad Kitty’s Birthday, but she doesn’t want to wake up, until her favorite breakfast is served. After that the preparations for her party begin. They hang the decorations, which she destroys. The guests arrive, and they are all strange, and they all bring bad gifts, and they all get stolen. What kind of shenanigans will Bad Kitty and all of her friends get into? Will she find her missing presents, and get the one thing she wants the most?

So I just discovered the Bad Kitty series for early readers (not picture books,) and I love them just as much. First of all, I love cats, and all of the wacky things they do! Nick Bruel’s illustrations are hilarious and they accurately portray the attitude of not only Bad Kitty, but all of her friends. The story is great fun for kids between the ages of 5-9. And even adults that are young at heart! I just bought this for a 6 year old’s birthday and it was a big hit. Another really fantastic thing about this book are Uncle Murray’s sections. The more Bad Kitty books you read, the more you see how much she hates Uncle Murray. However, in this book, Uncle Murray teaches the reader interesting and true facts about cats. For instance, cats should not eat chocolate! Then at the end of the book, a few breeds that are portrayed in Bad Kitty’s birthday guests are described. It is a great melding of fun and fact.