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Archive for the ‘the girl 2010’ Category

With Halloween fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to share The Girl’s thoughts on a book she read last year, Spell of the Screaming Jokers, part of R.L. Stine’s Ghosts of Fear Street series.  This review originally appeared on Jenn’s Bookshelves last October as part of Jenn’s Fright Fest event.

Do you like to play cards? Yes? Then pick a card. Uh-oh. Brittany picked a joker. And it’s no laughing matter. Because these jokers are deadly.

On your way home from school – riding your bike – even in your hall closet – they attack! Each time, they stamp a card suit on your arm – first a club, then a diamond, then a heart – then a spade. That’s when the game really starts … when you get all four suits. Because that’s when the joker plays for keeps! (publisher’s summary)

Thoughts by The Girl (age 10 at the time):

The book, Spell of the Screaming Jokers, is about 4 kids, Brittany, Frankie, Louisa, and Jeff. Their principal tells them that they have to visit this sick kid named Max. His mother, Mrs. Davidson, takes them to his room. Max wants to play cards. Frankie draws a joker. On the way home, a kid hurts him and gives him a bruise shaped like a club. Then weird things start happening.

I recommend this book for ages 8 and up for kids who like creepy stories. I loved this book and hope to read more from the series.

Disclosure: The Girl bought her copy of Spell of the Screaming Jokers at a library sale.  I am an Amazon associate.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Of the 26 books read by me, The Girl (age 10), in 2010, these are the 5 that I enjoyed the most.

1.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
2.  Big Nate:  In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
3.  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
4.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
5.  The Famous Nini by Mary Nethery, illustrated by John Manders

The Girl’s Read in 2010 List (with links to reviews)

1.  Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman by Dav Pilkey
2.  Bone:  Out From Boneville by Jeff Smith
3.  Night in Werewolf Woods by R.L. Stine
4.  Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
5.  Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey
6.  The Bubble by Brian D. McClure, illustrated by Buddy Plumlee
7.  Princess Katie and the Mixed Up Potion by Vivian French
8.  The Famous Nini by Mary Nethery, illustrated by John Manders
9.  Miracle in Sumatra by Jeanne McNaney, illustrated by David Cochard
10.  Room One by Andrew Clements
11.  Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross
12.  Art & Max by David Wiesner
13.  Leo the Snow Leopard by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff
14.  Dragonart Evolution by J “NeonDragon” Peffer
15.  How to Raise a Dinosaur by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Pablo Bernasconi
16.  The Fall of Saigon:  The End of the Vietnam War by Michael V. Uschan
17.  Big Nate:  In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
18.  Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
19.  Spell of the Screaming Jokers by R.L. Stine
20.  Bone:  The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith
21.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney
22.  Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
23.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
24.  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
25.  You Can’t Scare Me by R.L. Stine
26.  Slappy New Year! by R.L. Stine

I hope to review more books in 2011, and I appreciate when all of you read my thoughts.

© 2011 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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It is not easy to be a snow leopard who needs his mother and doesn’t have one.  Likewise, it is not easy to be a human who needs to rescue and care for a wild animal.  But Leo and the people who saved him went to extraordinary measures to help one another.  This is their amazing story.

(from Leo the Snow Leopard)

A goat herder in the Karakoram mountains in Pakistan rescued a baby snow leopard whose mother was nowhere to be found.  Leo was hungry and alone, and this goat herder picked him up and carried him home.  When Leo became too big and too active to handle, the goat herder contacted the World Wildlife Fund, whose veterinarians determined that he was just seven weeks old and severely dehydrated.  Ultimately, the Bronx Zoo was chosen for Leo’s home, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, with help from the U.S. Department of State, took steps to bring Leo to New York.

Leo the Snow Leopard: The True Story of an Amazing Rescue by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and their father, Craig Hatkoff, describes the rescue efforts in the steep mountains, where the roads were vulnerable to avalanches and landslides.  There are color photos of Leo from when he is first rescued by the goat herder and when he becomes a resident of the Bronx Zoo.  The Hatkoffs provide some general information about snow leopards, detail Leo’s transition to life in the zoo, and inform readers about the organizations instrumental in his rescue.

The Girl (age 10) and I both loved Leo the Snow Leopard.  It wasn’t hard to fall in love with the adorable Leo and feel great respect for those who helped save him.  I have a hard time reading sad animal stories, and I avoid them like the plague ever since listening to Marley & Me on a car trip a couple of years ago and bawling my eyes out while my husband chuckled.  But I can’t get enough of these hopeful, heart-warming animals stories.  (Another one to check out is Nubs, which The Girl and I reviewed last year.)

Leo the Snow Leopard is a picture book intended for readers ages 4 to 10, but adults will enjoy it, too.  Everything the rescue team endured and Leo’s survival in the harsh mountains make for a fascinating story.  And parents can use the book as an opportunity to discuss the need to protect endangered species, like the snow leopard, whose existence is threatened by poachers, the fact that herders’ animals are grazing on the grass that once was eaten by the wild sheep and goats that serve as the primary source of food for snow leopards, and the herders who kill snow leopards to protect their animals.  Both an educational tool and an uplifting story about the steps taken to protect a helpless animal, Leo the Snow Leopard is highly recommended for animal lovers of all ages.

Disclosure: We received a copy of Leo the Snow Leopard from Scholastic for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Art & Max is a delightful picture book for young children about the creative process.  Art is a painter, and Max wants to learn to be an artist.  Art makes him promise not to get in the way, but when he can’t figure out what to paint and decides to paint Art (literally), chaos ensues.  When Art becomes a line drawing that unravels into a pile of spaghetti-like strands, Max must put his artistic ability to the test.

The Girl (age 10) was very excited when we unexpectedly received a copy of Art & Max.  While she’s older than the target audience, she loves art and was intrigued by the book when we saw its display at Book Expo America 2010.  We both enjoyed David Wiesner’s story about friendship and creativity and loved his vivid illustrations, with lizards in a variety of colors and the juxtaposition of full color illustrations and simple line drawings.

Children will be entertained by Max’s attempts to recreate Art and will want to paint or draw their own creations afterward.  Wiesner does a good job showing children that anyone can create a work of art, and painting doesn’t only mean a canvas and an easel.

Wiesner uses words sparingly in Art & Max, focusing more on the visual.  This is a book that children will want to hold themselves and just stare at the many illustrations that, in fact, do much of the storytelling.  Wiesner compels children to use their imaginations, to go out and create, which is an important message in an age when computers, video games, and television take up too much of our time.

Disclosure: We received a copy of Art & Max from Clarion Books for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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How to Raise a Dinosaur is an adorable picture book for children between the ages of 4 and 8.  Natasha Wing provides a guide for children who want a pet, with practical advice about selecting a pet of an appropriate size and making sure they walk, feed, and clean up after them.  Well, the advice would be practical if the pet wasn’t a dinosaur, but because the prehistoric creature is the pet in question, Wing advises them to have a bulldozer on hand to pick up its droppings!  (And of course, there’s an illustration for that.)

The Girl (age 10) has loved dinosaurs since she was a toddler.  We have tons of dinosaur picture books, scientific books, figures, puzzles, and paleontologist kits.  So even though she’s a bit old for this book, I thought we’d enjoy it anyway.  And we did.  And of course, she wishes she could have a pet dinosaur…but she’ll have to settle for the goldfish.

Pablo Bernasconi’s illustrations are filled with warm colors that bring the story to life.  We also enjoyed taking turns with the flaps on nearly every page that open various doors and even the dinosaur itself to reveal its skeleton.

How to Raise a Dinosaur is a cute book (so cute that when I told The Girl she should pass it on to her two-year-old cousin, she refused) that will engage children’s imaginations and even set them on the right track toward responsible pet ownership — but hopefully with a more manageable animal.

Disclosure: We received a copy of How to Raise a Dinosaur from Running Press Kids for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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The Girl (age 10) is always taking how-to-draw books out of the school and county libraries.  She absolutely loves writing and drawing, and she spends a lot of her time these days illustrating her own short stories or working on a series of comics about Bob the Penguin.  When I was contacted about reviewing Dragonart Evolution by J “NeonDragon” Peffer, I knew The Girl would kill me if I said no!

As soon as we received the book, she started drawing.  I thought I was going to have to pry the book out of her hands so I could write the review!  After flipping through Dragonart Evolution, I can see why she likes it so much.

Peffer provides more than 60 dragon demonstrations with step-by-step instructions.  There are instructions to create full medieval, fairy, and sea dragons, but what I like best about Dragonart Evolution is that you can create your own dragons as well.  Peffer begins with the five basic shapes that must be mastered to draw anything, along with discussions about shading, 3-D effects, and the use of color and patterns.  The full color drawings that accompany each demonstration are awesome.

There are demonstrations for different types of eyes, jaws, ears, horns, wings, scales, limbs, bridles and saddles, head shapes, and expressions.  With all of the possibilities, children and adults alike could spend hours and hours sketching.  The Girl’s imagination ran wild, and in no time at all, she finished the drawing to the right.

Although many of the drawings in Dragonart Evolution are quite detailed, you don’t have to be an expert artist to have fun with the book.  I might even give it a try myself, but since I’ve barely moved beyond stick figures, I have no plans to give up my day job.

Disclosure: We received a copy of Dragonart Evolution from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc. for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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The Girl (age 10) was thrilled to be asked by Jenn to guest review a horror book for her month-long Halloween Fright Fest event.

To read The Girl’s thoughts on R.L. Stine’s Spell of the Screaming Jokers, visit Jenn’s Bookshelves.  (Boy, that’s a creepy book cover!)  Thanks, Jenn!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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