Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 6/11/18


The weekly post where I recap some of the KidLit books I've been reading. Ocasionally, I'll also talk about some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other Kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR piles.

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Picture Book 

written by Amy Dixon
illustrated by Karl James Mountford
Sterling Children's Books, 2017

I absolutely love this picture book. It is funny and heartfelt and just great. Both of my kids sat through multiple readings. Mountford's illustrations are fantastic. Highly recommend. 


Middle Grade

written by Jan Eldredge
illustrated by Joseph Kuefler
Balzer + Bray, 2018

Another fantastic read. I love excellent kidlit horror, and this one grabbed me from the get go. Highly recommend. Read my full review here.


Young Adult

by Scott Westerfeld
Simon Pulse, 2014

Scott Westerfeld is always so consistent in his ability to tell a great story. This one was particularly fun because of the NaNoWriMo component. As an aspiring writer, I found myself easily cheering for the writer protagonist. The format of Afterworlds is pretty unique because it is essentially two books/stories wrapped together. Recommend. 


Adult Fiction

by Jonathan Maberry
St. Martin's Press, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. It is creepy and unsettling and wonderful. The story is essentially about what happens when nightmares and reality collide and spill into each other. Jonathan Maberry, with all his amazing skill, has written a book about dreams that actually makes you feel like you are in a waking dream. And it's just fantastic.



Sunday, June 10, 2018

EVANGELINE OF THE BAYOU by Jan Eldredge - Middle Grade Book Review

illustrated by Joseph Kuefler
Balzar + Bray, 2018

At a Glance


Genre(s):

supernatural, folklore, horror


Age Range: 

8-12 years old (middle grade)

Plot:

"Twelve-year-old haunt huntress apprentice Evangeline Clement spends her days and nights studying the ways of folk magic, honing her monster-hunting skills while pursuing local bayou banshees and Johnny revenants."

"But when Evangeline and her grandmother are called to New Orleans to resolve an unusual case, she uncovers a secret that will shake her to the soles of her silver-tipped alligator-skin boots." (source)

Strengths:

  • excellent overall storytelling
  • the mix of folklore was fantastic
  • I liked Evangeline's character and I think kids will relate
  • Just the right amount of creep factor for the age range
  • Werewolves!
  • illustrations were so much fun
  • a twist actually surprised me 

Weaknesses

  • I had a slightly difficult time picturing the setting for the final battle 

Would I recommend this title:

Most definitely yes!

Full Review

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I am always on the lookout for good kid appropriate horror. Evangeline of the Bayou totally fits the bill. I love all the folklore that Jan is able to pull into the novel. Her descriptions actually have me wanting more, in a good way. I want to go on every single hunt with Evangeline and her Grandma to see how each baddie--big and small--is handled. I hope that there will be a sequel.

Joseph Kuefler's black and white illustrations throughout the book are fun and add a bit to the creep factor without going overboard. 

I feel like Evangeline's character is relatable, especially to the target age group. That is what makes the book so great. Growing up, living up to expectations--both internal and external, death, and loss are all artfully intertwined into a story about a young girl fighting monsters. What is not to like?

It was hard for me to come up with anything negative about this book because I enjoyed it so much. The one place that I struggled slightly was during the setting for the final fight. It was probably my own fault, but I just had a hard time picturing the set up. Fortunately, as the scene got going, I was able jump back in and get a sense of everything. That was really the only place that I remember being pulled out of the story, and it was just a brief moment. Story-wise, I understand why Jan placed the battle where she did though. 

One thing that I give total props to Jan for is getting me with a few twists. I usually have things all figured out by the end, but she got me.  I tip my hat to you, Madam. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys folklore, spooky stories, or just great storytelling.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Poetry Friday - A Is for Alvarezsaurus



It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. Be sure to check out Keisha Shepard's blog, Whispers from the Ridgeto see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! I am back from my fun (and exhausting!) trip to Tennessee. 13.5 hours driving (not including stops) in one day is a lot to do with two little ones in tow. But we made do. It is always great to see family and watch the cousins play together.

Animal Alphabets (an A-Z twitter drawing prompt, but I use it as a poetry prompt) just started fresh with a new theme of extinct animals. A was for Alvarezsaurus (which posted this past Monday) and I had some fun writing an acrostic for it. I meant to do a little sketch to go along with the poem (as it primarily is an illustration prompt) but I ran out of time. I am kind of glad that I did, because now I don't feel so much pressure to accompany each letter with a poem and a drawing. 

(c) Rebecca Herzog 2018

I was really excited when they announced the theme was extinct animals. I was thinking they would pick animals like the passenger pigeon, and the black rhinoceros. Well, next Monday, B is for Boreaspis! Boreaspis was a jawless fish from the Devonian period that had a long pointy snout. You can learn a bit more here. Ha! Piece of cake, right?

Friday, May 25, 2018

Poetry Friday - Giveaway Winner + Tennessee


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. Be sure to check out Reflections on the Teche to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! Last week I reviewed and held a giveaway for Chris Harris' I'm Just No Good at Rhyming: and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups.

written by Chris Harris
illustrated by Lane Smith

And now for the winner (as picked by the random.org number generator)! Drum-roll please!!!



Dani Burtsfield
Congratulations! Please email me at slothreads1985 (at) gmail (dot) com to claim this awesome book. 

Today My family and I are driving up to Tennessee to visit more family. So I thought it would be appropriate to share The Volunteer State's official state poem. I have included a snippit from the background of the poem, also found at the link below. 


"Naval Admiral William Lawrence composed "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee" while enduring a 60 day period of solitary confinement in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. Lawrence spent a total of six years as a POW during the Vietnam War. This poem describes the love and longing he felt for his beautiful home state:"


Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee
by William Lawrence

Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee
What Love and Pride I Feel for Thee.
You Proud Ole State, the Volunteer,
Your Proud Traditions I Hold Dear.
 
I Revere Your Heroes
Who Bravely Fought our Country's Foes.
Renowned Statesmen, so Wise and Strong,
Who Served our Country Well and Long.
 
I Thrill at Thought of Mountains Grand;
Rolling Green Hills and Fertile Farm Land;
Earth Rich with Stone, Mineral and Ore;
Forests Dense and Wild Flowers Galore;

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Book Giveaway!

The weekly post where I recap some of the KidLit books I've been reading. Ocasionally, I'll also talk about some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other Kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR piles.

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Happy Monday everyone! I am giving away a copy of Chris Harris' I'm Just No Good at Rhyming. Click here to enter!


Today is a post of recent books that I have absolutely loved. Have you read any of them?


Poetry


written by Chris Harris
illustrated by Lane Smith
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017)


My family absolutely LOVED this collection of poems. I cannot recommend it enough. You can read my full review here and enter to win a copy as well!


Middle Grade

by Cassie Beasley
(Penguin Young Readers, 2017)


This book is absolutely beautifully written. I love middle grade because I find the stories engaging. Not only is Tumble and Blue  a fun story, it is expertly written. Read my full review here.


Picture Book

by Ben Hatke
(First Second, 2016)


Another fantastic read. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys the game Dungeons and Dragons or just epic fantasies like The Hobbit. It takes the genre and turns it on its head. And Ben Hatke's illustrations are always wonderful.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poetry Friday - Poetry Book Giveaway!


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. I am hosting the round up today, so be sure to check out the links at the end to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! I am super excited to be hosting the Poetry Round Up today. I cannot wait to see everyone's contributions this week.

To celebrate, I have decided to do a book giveaway. Be sure to read to the end to find out how to win a copy!

written by Chris Harris
illustrated by Lane Smith


I checked this one out from the library not too long ago, and my family absolutely LOVED it. I have an 8-year-old and an 18-month-old. My husband and I would each take turns reading a few poems each night before bedtime. My daughter, without fail, would beg for "just one more" poem to be read.

The poems are really funny. Like belly-laugh-my-cheeks-hurt funny. (I guess that makes me an immature grown-up? YES, I'll take it!) Not only were Harris' poems hilarious, but many of them also had a lot of heart. He does not pander to kids, but yet is able to really convey some great messages (think Shel Silverstein's "Listen to the Mustn'ts").

Another aspect of this book that was fantastic is that it begs to be read aloud. The poems were just the right length and the humor really popped when reading to the family. I especially enjoyed the poems that went back and forth between two characters because I would read one side, and my daughter would read the other.

The illustrations are great too, and add a lot to the humor. Not only do the they support the poems, but they are actually vital to some of them. I liked the banter back and forth between poet and illustrator too.

This is they type of collection that inspires me to sit down and write. The poems read so effortlessly that I think, Man, I want to write a collection of poems.  And then I sit down and try, and realize how hard it is to write something so good. But it still makes me want to keep trying! Chris Harris really is a great children't poet.

And now for the giveaway! 


All you have to do to enter to win a copy of I'm Just No Good at Rhyming is comment on this post below by Thursday, May 24th at 5:00pm EST. You can get a bonus entry if you share this post on social media too (just let me know where you shared it--facebook, twitter, etc--in your comment). The winner will be announced next Friday. Good luck! And be sure to check out all the other Poetry Friday posts too!


Friday, May 11, 2018

Poetry Friday - Student Postcard Project


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Jama's Alphabet Soup to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello everyone! I am finally back from a longish break of blog posting. Do you ever just need to step back for a bit? Now I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things! 

This week I am sharing a fantastic poetry postcard that I got from Emily B., who is in 5th grade. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your poetry talent, and thank you to Jone MacCulloch, the amazing media specialist at Silver Star Elementary, for organizing the postcard project. It was a real treat to open the mailbox and see the poem.


Zebra drinks
Crocodile chomps
Zebra gone
(c) Emily B.
5th grade

I love the imagery of the poem. I can totally see the crocodile sneaking up on the crocodile. And I love her artwork on the postcard. I especially like how she added the lion's shadow on the savanna. So great.

This week, the poetry round up is over at Jama's Alphabet Soup, so be sure to check it out. And make sure to stop back next week, because I'll be hosting the round up!