Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

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Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

By Dusti Bowling

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

I won a copy of Dusti Bowling’s chapter book Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus from Literary Rambles.

What first attracted me to this book was the title. I could just imagine what type of events a cactus would stoically attend, though I knew the book was not about those fascinating plants.

What attracted me next were the characters and the setting. Having grown up in Arizona, I looked forward to reading a book set in the starkly dry and hot desert. The book has a captivating cast of diverse characters. I loved reading of friends Aven (born without arms) and Conner (spits at people when he eats) and how they manage their disabilities. The strength and courage of Aven compelled me to cheer for her and will inspire others who struggle with any type of disability. Family issues, a mystery discovered in an old out building, and facing ones’ own fears come together in a nicely written page-turner.

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus is a great read for any young (or old) person. Compassion, understanding, and acceptance of diversity will develop as readers live alongside Aven and Conner. I found that Bowlings’ book gave me the viewpoint of someone living with challenges and how they faced daily life and difficult situations. Readers will see that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!

Well done and great read!

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The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

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The Girl with the Red Balloon

Written by Katherine Locke

(Albert Whitman & Company, 2017)

 

Last fall, I won a copy of The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke from Natalie Aguirre’s Literary Rambles.

I immediately read The Girl with the Red Balloon. Who can not read a book with a tag that says The wall keeps us in. Magic gets us out.?

The tale is told of Ellie, a girl who visits the Berlin Wall Memorial during a school field trip. Ellie has family ties to World War II and Germany, as her grandfather miraculously escaped from a death camp. As Ellie considers the impact of that horrible time period, she notices a red balloon. Innocently, she grabs the string and is immediately deposited in East Berlin in 1988, where she is found by Kai, a member of an underground society. Ellie, Kai, and several others must work to figure out how and why Ellie was transported back in time when the purpose of the red balloons was to take death camp members over the wall and away from a certain terrible fate.

Much history is shared in the telling of this story. I loved the mixture of magical realism, history, teen relationships, family heritage, and mystery. Danger, high stakes, death, and good versus evil all blend together in this great story. Ellie is stuck in the past and must find a way to return to her own time. But this is complicated by magical developments and a budding romance.

Locke tells the story from different viewpoints, but the switch off is easy to follow as every chapter is clearly labeled with the point of view character. I had to focus a bit to understand the historical connections, but the book is well written and engaging.

The Girl with the Red Balloon is a great read for anyone who enjoys history hooked together with a bit of magic.

P.S. Look what comes out this fall!

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Terrific Tongues! Picture Book Review

Vivian Kirkfield recently shared a great post about this wonderful book, Terrific Tongues! Written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu, Terrific Tongues! is sure to engage, amuse, and educate young readers.

I mean, really, what child do you know who doesn’t love playing with or sticking out his or her tongue? I can’t wait get my hands on this one. Thanks, Vivian, Maria, and Jia! Congratulations!

Click here to visit Vivian Kirkfield’s blog and read more about Terrific Tongues!


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Tara Luebbe Books & a Cookie Recipe!

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I just read this blog post over at Vivian Kirkfield’s place. Click here.

Tara’s post is on April 7 (I’m a bit behind in my emails and blogs due to spring break). I loved reading about her writing story and new books. I may have slightly drooled a bit when reading her no-bake cookie recipe. I think we will be trying that soon!

Thanks to Vivian and Tara! Congratulations!

via TARA LUEBBE: Will Write for Cookies PLUS Giveaway


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Frankenbunny – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Frankenbunny

Written by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

Sibling rivalry, picking on the youngest, evil plans, plans thwarted, scary premise – Jill Esbaum delivers them all in Frankenbunny. Wonderful characters, setting, and interactions. The illustrations perfectly add to and tell the story.

I won a copy of Frankenbunny from Jill Esbaum and Picture Book Builders. I couldn’t be more excited!

The power of suggestion. It really packs a punch, doesn’t it? When big brothers tell Spencer about Frankenbunny, he doesn’t believe them. At first. But after many conversations, Spencer becomes convinced that monsters are real.

Or are they?

You will have to read Frankenbunny to find out the truth of the matter.

KID KANDY

Make Your Own Frankenbunny

Supplies: paper scraps, scissors, glue sticks, markers, construction paper

1. On construction paper, draw the scariest Frankenbunny you can!

2. Add clothes, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, fingertips – everything – by cutting up paper scraps and gluing them on.

3. Finish up with markers.

Show off your Frankenbunny! I bet it scares everyone!

P.S. I’d love to see your Frankenbunny! Ask a parent to help you post a picture of your artwork in the comments. Wow! I can’t wait!

 


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STORYSTORM 2018 Final Day: Doreen Cronin Makes Embarrassing Mistakes (and you can, too!)

Oh, I’ve had my share of embarrassing mistakes. Now if I only had the courage to remember them and transform them into stories…

Thanks, Doreen and Tara!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Final Day: Doreen Cronin Makes Embarrassing Mistakes (and you can, too!)


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Storystorm 2018 DAY 29: JANE YOLEN CULTIVATES THE WILD IDEA

Collecting those ideas is just like gathering eggs. You have to watch where you’re walking, keep your eyes peeled, and collect those golden orbs of inspiration and place them in a sturdy basket to incubate for hatching up a great story.

Thanks, Jane and Tara!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 29: Jane Yolen Cultivates the Wild Idea


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STORYSTORM 2018 Day 27: Josh Nash is Always on the Clock

Ideas wait for no clock. It’s now or never, baby! Write down those great ideas, whenever they appear!

Thanks, Josh and Tara!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 27: Josh Nash is Always on the Clock


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STORYSTORM 2018 Day 26: Jeanette Bradley Invites You to Tea

I’d love to come home and find ideas on my deck, just waiting for me. But usually all I find are dead mouse parts and fluffs of bird feathers (no bird attached).

Thanks, Jeanette and Tara!

via STORYSTORM 2018 Day 26: Jeanette Bradley Invites You to Tea