Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze by Jamie McHone

Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze

Written by Jamie McHone

Illustrated by Walter Policelli

Mascot Books, November 5, 2019

 

Happy Book Birthday! Today is a special day for both Jamie and Walter as Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze is released to the world. Book birthdays are super important to book authors and illustrators. Cue the music, balloons, and confetti!

Chris Baker at Mascot Books sent me a review copy of Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze. I am happy to spread the word about this new release.

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Book Blurb:

Durban is a bird with giant sneakers and wings so small he can’t fly. He’s tired of being made fun of by all the other flying birds, so he sets off on a journey to find out who he really is. Along the way, he meets Maudry, a smart and sassy female bird, and Wainwright, a grumpy worm with a short temper. Together, the unusual trio goes through thick and thin to discover what it really means to be yourself.

This zany tale of Durban Frankenshooze and his friends will help children begin dialogues about diversity, acceptance, and appreciation of differences, all while building vital language skills.

Southwest Virginia native Jamie McHone is delighted to share her very first children’s book with young readers everywhere! Although McHone enjoys animals, she does not have birds in her home in Blacksburg, Virginia. Instead, she has Rottweilers!

To set up an interview, reading, signing, or for information regarding Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze, please contact Chris Baker at chris@mascotbooks.com.

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What I liked about this book:

~ The names are super creative and fit each character and the problems faced by the characters. Clever and fun!

~ The issue of feeling unlovable due to personal characteristics-be it tiny wings, huge feet, needing glasses, or having thick eyebrows-is universal to humans of any age. Young readers will discover how Durban, Maudry, and Wainwright form a unique friendship and head out to explore the world and solve their “challenges.” (Really, they have fun together and learn to enjoy life in spite of their perceived physical shortcomings.)

~The vocabulary is wide and varied. Readers will be exposed to different words, idioms, and sayings. Stopping to discuss new ideas and vocabulary will enrich the story and reading time.

~While the story is told in a longer format and might not work for a read-it-all-in-one-session, it would be easy to break the story into sections for multiple readings. Older readers will enjoy reading this as a chapter book.

~I love the friends aspect of this book. Despite their differences, all 3 main characters find commonalities and learn to enjoy time spent together. They also make new friends as they travel on their adventures.

 

For a fun read, check out Everything is Always Gonna be Alright, Durban Frankenshooze.

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Book Report: The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu

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The Lost Girl

Written by Anne Ursu

Walden Pond Press, 2019

 

Much thanks to Kirsti Call, Writers’ Rumpus, and Walden Pond Press (Deborah Kovacs) for gifting me with a copy of The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu!

Blurb from Amazon:

Anne Ursu, author of the National Book Award nominee The Real Boy, returns with a story of the power of fantasy, the limits of love, and the struggles inherent in growing up.

When you’re an identical twin, your story always starts with someone else. For Iris, that means her story starts with Lark.

Iris has always been the grounded, capable, and rational one; Lark has been inventive, dreamy, and brilliant—and from their first moments in the world together, they’ve never left each other’s side. Everyone around them realized early on what the two sisters already knew: they had better outcomes when they were together.

When fifth grade arrives, however, it’s decided that Iris and Lark should be split into different classrooms, and something breaks in them both.

Iris is no longer so confident; Lark retreats into herself as she deals with challenges at school. And at the same time, something strange is happening in the city around them, things both great and small going missing without a trace.

As Iris begins to understand that anything can be lost in the blink of an eye, she decides it’s up to her to find a way to keep her sister safe.

My thoughts about The Lost Girl:

***Spoiler alert.

I loved this story! Iris and Lark, what great names and characters. I adored how each twin was her own unique self while at the same time totally connected (with secret twin language) to her sister. I love how they completed each other…

Until it was time for them to truly become themselves. Which happened unexpectedly at the beginning of the fifth grade school year when parents and principal decided to split Iris and Lark into different classrooms. Without telling them before they got ‘the letter.’

The Lost Girl has such wonderful writing. I was totally engaged in the thought processes of each girl, though most of the story is told through the eyes of Iris. Essentially, this story is a tale of learning to stand confidently in ones’ own shoes and deal with life-hobbies, school, friendships, challenges.

I loved the magical threads woven through the story and the mysterious disappearances of favored items. An eerie character, different after school pursuits, sneaky crows, and new friendships captured my imagination and focused my attention on the twin story.

Great ending!

If you are a twin, you definitely should read The Lost Girl. If you are not a twin, never fear. Now you can read and feel what it’s like to be a twin. Great read!


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Book Report: Sophie’s Squash

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Sophie’s Squash

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller

Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013

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My collection of potential Bernice squash

Meet one of my favorite fall books: Sophie’s Squash.

One day, Sophie falls in love with a butternut squash while shopping with her parents at the farmers’ market. And names her Bernice. While Sophie’s parents have culinary plans for the squash, Sophie adopts Bernice as her child and lovingly, protectively, and firmly cares for her new baby. Plans contradict each other as Bernice matures the way of other squash and Sophie’s parents attempt to put Bernice out of her misery. But Sophie remains committed to the relationship and cares for Bernice in such manner as dictated by squash. And then, surprise!

I won’t ruin it for you, but I love the ending. And the sequel, Sophie’s Squash Go to School, is just as much fun.

What I love: The VOICE of Sophie and the entire cast (even Bernice) is fantastic. I love her character. I adore fall books. I love stories relatable to young children. Everyone knows at least one kid who forms an odd yet endearing attachment to some random item. I love that about this book. I love Sophie and her commitment to Bernice.

Thanks to Pat for this copy of Sophie’s Squash in Chinese! How fun is that?!

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If you know me from my teaching days, or kid-caring days, or church days, you know I’m all about books, language, and literacy. Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to Barefoot Books. My grands LOVE the little videos and songs that go with the different stories.

Barefoot Books is coming out with another great tool for story building, language, and literature: Build-a-Story Cards. I love these! Characters, settings, and objects cover wordless adorable colorful cards. Some characters show emotions to help create story conflict. Playing with these will be loads of fun!

Head on over to Tara Lazar’s blog to see photos and more explanation of these new literacy tools. The first set is a fairy tale theme. Fun times ahead!

Thanks, Tara, for giving us the heads-up on these Build-a-Story Cards!

via How Do You Build a Story? Play Cards! (plus a giveaway)


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STORYSTORM 2018 Day 3: Let’s Get Visual with Mike Ciccotello

What do sketches, photos, magazine images, newspaper pictures, and art supplies have in common? ALL of them can be used to create story ideas!

This is a great idea for dreaming up picture book characters, settings, props, and storylines. Way to go, Mike! Thank you!

Grabbing my scissors, pencils, and paper to get my imagination pumped up…

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 3: Let’s Get Visual with Mike Ciccotello

Thanks, Tara! Storystorm is going great!