Book Review Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid

Title: Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid
Author: Dina C. Tate
Genre: Chapter Books, Fantasy
Age Group: Lower Grade and up
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine if all the little girls of the world looked alike.

If the Same Glam Goddess gets her way, it can surely happen.

McKenzie Rivers, the pint-sized daredevil, and Lizzie Sanders, who loves all things frilly, aren’t afraid of being different. And that’s exactly why Princess Lovina of Exquisite City calls upon them to stop the Same Glam Goddess from making all the little girls of the world look the same. With the aid of their magical lovely lockets and fierce diva weaponry, Lizzie and McKenzie will travel the world to find the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Their first stop is the magical city of Madrid.

Lizzie and McKenzie will need help to obtain the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess gets her hands on them. If the crystals are not found, little girls all over the world will remain under the spell of the Same Glam Goddess and will lose their identities forever! Will Lizzie and McKenzie be able to find the crystals, break the spell, and stop the Same Glam Goddess?

Lizzie & McKenzie’s Fabulous Adventures: Mayhem in Madrid is the first book in a series of chapter books focusing on Lizzie and McKenzie. Lizzie and McKenzie are two best friends with very distinct personalities. McKenzie is a deredevil who doesn’t back away from any challenge. Lizzie is girlier, and loves frilly things, dresses, jewelry. Despite their differences, they’re best friends and get along really well.

What starts out as a regular day for the girls soon changes when it starts raining and a rainbow puddle forms near their feet, growing bigger and bigger until it reveals Princess Lovina from Exquisite City, where it’s okay to be different. Princess Lovina enlists the girl’s help to stop The Same Glam Goddess, a goddess on a mission to make all the little girls of the world look the same.

She’s already cast a spell to accomplish her wicked plan, but to make the spell permanent she would need the Seven Crystals of Sisterhood. Now, Lizzie and McKenzie have to get to the crystals before the Same Glam Goddess does.

A very imaginative, entertaining story featuring two protagonists kids can easily relate to. The book has gorgeous artwork that accompanies the text and really makes the scene come alive. On the one hand, you get the feeling you’re reading a book, on the other hand it’s almost like watching a cartoon TV series about Lizzie, McKenzie, and the new friend they meet in Madrid, Lucia. With their fancy gadgets, it’s like watching an episode of Totally Spies or Sailor Moon, and the artwork only makes the book more engaging than it already is.

I would recommend this book to all kids from age lower grade and up. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Book Review: Fluffy the Bird by Juanita & Ronald Destra

destraworldbookcoverTitle: Fluffy the Bird
Author: Ronald Destra and Juanita Destra
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, Children’s Picture Book
Rating: 4 stars
Buy: Amazon

New Children  Book ‘Fluffy the Bird’ Teaches Children About Following Their Purpose in Life.

Fluffy the Bird sang the most beautiful music, everyone who had the pleasure of hearing him was delighted. He truly had a gift!

Was this what Fluffy was meant to do? Did he have a purpose? Was his voice a voice a way to make the world a brighter place?

With a bright future and so much potential ahead of them, encouraging children to uncover their natural talents and skill is vital in their development. Take a journey with Fluffy as he discovers his purpose in life– discovering his talent and opening up a world of possibilities for children.

Fluffy the Bird is an inspiring story about a bird with an amazing voice who wonders about his purpose in life. The story is short and the illustrations are cute, with vivid, bright colors. My only pet peeve about the book would be the editing. The writing has a lyrical, sing-song tone to it, which matches well with the book’s content, which mostly focuses on singing. However, some words seemed out of place, and this was a little distracted.

Overall, a good read for kids though, and fun.

Book Review: I Woof You From The Bottom of my Heart

iwoofyoucoverTitle: I Woof You From the Bottom of my Heart
Author: Kathy Vassilakis
Genre: Children’s Book
Age Group: Children
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

The idea to write this book came from my daughter and my dog. This book was written to show children how special a bond and friendship they can have with their dog. Dog’s are wonderful pets and love us unconditionally. They will protect and love us no matter what. Children deserve to learn that at a very young age and grow to love all animals. Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character.

I Woof You From the Bottom of my Heart is one of my favorite books for young children. The book focuses on the relationship of a small child and her dog, the unbreakable bond they have, and it shows kids that dogs are great pets who love just about anyone, and they’re great friends too, protective and loving. The book also shows all kind of things one can do with a pet. The illustrations are cute, and the writing style works for smaller children. I’d definitely recommend this book for young kids.

Book Review: Globaloonies: The Big Red Button by Max Candee

Globaloonies1_EbookTitle: Globaloonies

Author: Max Candee

Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Time Travel

Age Group: Children

Rating: 4,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promootions in exchange for an honest review.

“Joey Papagopolis is your typical 10-year-old.
Like most boys that age, Joey has a pet chameleon named Larry and a mysterious Big Red Button that can transport the two of them through time and space to the far reaches of the planet…
Hey, wait a second, that’s not typical at all! In fact, that’s pretty amazing — which is why you will want to follow along as Joey and Larry set off on their first Big Red Button adventure.
An absent-minded wish and an accidental pressing of the button land Joey and Larry smack in the middle of a conflict between a Native American tribe and some English settlers. Yikes!
Are their lives in danger? Can Joey resolve the conflict? Will Larry teach them all how to line dance? Does Larry even know how to line dance?
The answers to these questions and more await you in the fun and fantastic adventure of THE BIG RED BUTTON.
65+ illustrated pages (may vary by device).
Humorous illustrations by Anne Zimanski.
Includes a professionally crafted audiobook. Look for the link inside!”

Globaloonies: The Big Red Button is the first book in a children’s book series about 10-year-old Joey with an average first name and a complicated to pronounce last name, who has a chameleon named Larry and one day finds a mysterious big Red Button which transports them through time and space. This is an amazing start to a series, that manages to combine teaching kids history and an engaging, enjoyable adventure that all kids will enjoy.

They end up in the adventure of a lifetime, in the middle of the conflict between Native Americans and the English settlers. Joey acts like any typical kid, with typical bravado, the weird habits all kids have, and a great dose of humor. It’s easy to relate with Joey and his pet chameleon, and to find oneself completely drawn into their adventure.

The writing is down to earth and exactly on the level kids need. The book offers an intelligent storyline, throws in some historical facts (without making it sound like a dull history book) and manages to craft an amazing story that will inspire kids and grown ups alike. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous too. Recommended to every kid who enjoys reading, and every parent or teacher looking for a great book to read with their kids.

Book Review: The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #1: The Magic Box

20674714Title: The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #1: The Magic Box

Author: L.M. Falcone

Genre:  Children’s Books, Fantasy, Mystery

Age Group: Children

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

In this first title in the detective fiction series by L. M. Falcone, ten-year-old Max Monroe is intrigued to discover that the carriage house behind his grandpa’s home was once the office of the Monroe Detective Agency. Then he learns the agency had belonged to his grandpa’s dead brother, Larry. But Max didn’t know he had a great-uncle. “Well, he’s dead,” says Grandpa Harry, “but his ghost still haunts the detective agency.” It seems Uncle Larry died of a broken heart because he “never solved one measly case.” However, a surprise phone call from a magician named Marty the Magnificent with an offer of a detective job seems like the second chance Larry has been begging for. Except, Larry is a ghost — he can’t work a case in the real world. But Max can! With Larry’s help, of course. The offbeat idea of a boy detective with a ghost as a sidekick provides this story with lots of opportunities for inside jokes and misunderstandings. This is a terrific chapter book series for newly independent readers who are ready for something more challenging than a first reader, with simple sentences, humorous dialogue and very short chapters, designed to make the reading experience less daunting. The limited black-and-white illustrations (around one per chapter) by Kim Smith provide details that enrich the story. The series provides a great introduction to the mystery genre, perfect for honing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Ghost and Max Monroe, Case #1: The Magic Box, is a quirky little mystery. It starts out with ten-year-old Max Monroe who discovers the Monroe Detective Agency in his grandpa’s backyard. The agency is haunted by Uncle Larry, his grandpa’s dead brother and former detective. When a case shows up about a missing girl, the ghost of Uncle Larry, and Max, team up to save the day. They head over to the birthday party of the missing girl, and try to find her, talking to possible suspects and finding out what happened to make her dissapear.

The story moved quickly – too quickly. Sometimes I couldn’t follow, and heck, if I can’t, then there’s no way a child can keep up. It hopped from here to there, and the chapter titles were annoying too. They didn’t look different enough from the regular font, and they predicted what would happen next, taking away some of the suspense.

The illustrations were a nice addition though. They looked nice as well, so the art definitely isn’t the issue here.

The characters were flat – uncle Larry, grandpa and Max basically all had the same personality – and the plot was too simplistic, leaving too many things unexplained. Like how the ghost only showed up now, why no one asked for him in years and why Max had never heard of him before.

All in all, not too bad, but I think the flat characters and the often too rushed pace might be a deal-breaker for some kids. A good idea for a plot though, to set up a team of a kid and a dead detective. Maybe if the next books have more character development, and slow down just a little, they’ll be more entertaining.

Book Review: Maisy and The Missing Mice by Elizabeth Woodrum

Maisy Cover FinalTitle: Maisy and the Missing Mice
Author: Elizabeth Woodrum
Genre: Children’s Mystery
Rating:  4 stars
Purchase: Amazon, B&N
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Maisy Sawyer is not your average fourth grade student. She is a detective with a special skill for solving mysteries. She loves black and white mystery movies, cherry lollipops, and her dog, Reesie. When a thief known as The Black Boot steals the school’s mascots and her lollipops, Maisy sets out to solve the case. Can she help return the mice to their home in the science lab? Will she ever see her beloved lollipops again? Find out in the first book in The Maisy Files series.

Maisy and the Missing Mice was a short, but enjoyable read. It’ll be ideal for lower graders who enjoy a pleasant mystery. It’s not scary at all, and our detective and main character, Maisy Sawyer, will be very relatable for little kids. She loves cherry lollips, her dog Reesie, and hanging out with her best friend, Veronica. At times, she’s completely random – like any regular kid – but she does have an intelligent head on her shoulders, and she loves solving puzzles and mysteries.

Like a junior Sherlock Holmes, Maisy tries to solve the mystery involving the Black Boot, the thief who stole the school’s mascots and later on, her lollipops, threatening her he’d crush all her lollipops if she got involved. As Maisy gathers clues, she also has to deal with Veronica’s upcoming birthday party.

The book is a light-hearted, fun read. The plot moves fast, but not so fast kids won’t understand it. The main character is easily relatbale, she’s funny, and entertaining. The mystery itself wasn’t overly complicated to understand, but it wasn’t blatantly obvious either.

A great mystery read for its target audience, and enjoyable even by an older audience. It reminded me of the mystery books I read when I was younger, and seems to have that tough of magic some children’s mysteries lack. Definitely worth reading, and ideal for kids.

Book Review: Why is the sky blue? by Shabana Muhajir

coverfinal_rankTitle: Why is the sky Blue?

Author: Shabana Muhajir

Genre: Non-Fiction, Kids

Age Group: Picture Books, Kids

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Website, Amazon

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

While playing at the beach, two boys begin to wonder why the sky is blue and ask their mother to explain the reason to them. As they are very young, their mother needs to decide how best to explain to her boys. She discusses the phenomenon of the blue sky in a manner that even her six year old can understand. While addressing their initial query, the boys come up with several other related questions, and the mother answers them all with simple facts and drawings. To make it easier and more interesting, she performs a fun experiment with her boys, which shows them why the sky is blue at sunrise and red/orange at sunset.

The book is a must have for all those curious kids who are trying to make sense of the world around them, and for all those parents who want to satisfy their curiosity.

Two young boys, Aayan and Rayan, go to the beach one day with their Mom, when one of the boys asks Mom why the sky is blue. It’s such a simple, yet such a thoughtful question. Instead of coming up with half an answer, their Mom goes into great troubel to tell them how it works. She explains that all colors have different wavelengths, and for instance, blue and violet have short wavelengths, whereas red and yellow have longer wavelengths. Shorter wavelengths get scattered in the atmosphere by particles and gases. Red goes right through, because it has a longer wavelength, so we can’t see it, but blue, with its short wavelength, gets scattered. Why we don’t see violet? Simple, because we see blue more easily.

She also goes on to explain why the sky is red in the evening. But if you want to know why that is, you’ll have to read the book. Or as, in other words, I can’t be bothered to explain. And the book explains it way better than I ever could.

Why is the sky blue? is probably the first non-fiction book for kids I’ve read since I was a kid. It’s well-written, with short, easy sentences for kids to understand. The explanation offered here about why the sky is blue is perhaps the best-explained, easiest-to-understand explanation I’ve ever read about this particular subject. If a parent reads this book with a child, and explains (or refers to the glossary) what the child doesn’t understand, every once in a while, then the child will surely understand the topic, why the sky is blue, and what’s going on.

I also liked the little experiment at the end. It was great to see how the Mom, knowing both her sons were so interested in the subject, even managed to host an experiment to explain it! Great parenting, and an example for other parents.

My only pet peeve about the book were the illustrations. They aren’t all that professional. Even the simple illustrations to understand what the Mom is talking about, why well-thought-through, and explaining their point, don’t look professional, and in fact, look a little sloppy.

But apart from that, I enjoyed the book. The writing was perfect for young kids. If your kid likes science, or comes up with these kind of questions every now and then, then Why is the sky blue? is a must read.

Book Review: Magic in Us: The Power of Imagination by Natalie Tinti

Sewing-a-Friendship-2-Magic-In-Us-book 1-The Power-of-FriendshipTitle: Sewing a Friendship 2 – The Magic in Us: The Power of Imagination (Book 1)
Author: Natalie Tinti
Genre: Children’s Chapter Book
Age Group: Lower Grade
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

When a secret agent dog, Dogon, informed four best friends that Nina has a bad horrible scratch and she won’t be able to play her musical instruments, they must quickly come and make her feel better. While deciding what to do next, there’s a veritable blizzard of ideas put forth, and the girls have to sift through them all to come up with a plan of action. Together they create a magical world full of adventures where every obstacle can be overcome with mutual support and joint creativity.

Magic in Us is an inspiration for children to learn and grow into well-rounded individuals, to realize the power of friendship, to learn about the value of problem solving and discover hidden talents. It told by 10 years old Natalie Tinti. She is not only a multi-awarded talented writer, she is also an amazing artist!

 I’ve previously read and reviewed the first book in this series, Sewing a Friendship. I enjoyed the first book, but liked the second book better. Natalie Tinti has grown in the craft of writing, and it shows in her storytelling in Magic in Us: The Power of Imagination. The first book suffered a bit from sentences going nowhere, trails of thought leading to nowhere, etc. The second book doesn’t have these problems anymore. It also has a lot more illustrations, and I think those look better as well. Those illustrations, combined with the writing, must take a lot of work, and I’m curious about what takes the longest: the illustrating, the writing or the coloring.

Either way, in this story Nina has a bad scratch on her finger, which isn’t good at all, since Nina can’t play her favorite instruments anymore now. So Dogon, a secret agent dog, runs from house to house to inform Nina’s friends of her injury. Meeka, Sokron, Jonsy Jipsy and their new-found pal Kiki from the first book, get together to comfort Nina. Kiki is a bit wary about going, since she’s the new member of the group and only recently befriended them. However, the other girls quickly make Kiki feel like she’s been a member of the group all along.

The girls start telling stories about going to a magical birthday party, and each of them comes up with their own story of how they were invited and how they made it to the party in the end. The story were imaginative and fun, and something little kids would enjoy a lot.


Book Review: Sewing a Friendship by Natalie Tinti

SewingaFriendship-www.natalietinti.comTitle: Sewing a Friendship
Author:Natalie Tinti
Genre: Children’s Chapter Books
Age Group: Lower Grade
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon

The four best friends, who are seven years old girls, are super excited about the start of summer! Their adventure begins with getting out of school and talking about a pink sleepover. But things do not run smoothly when nine years old Kiki, the rival girl, gets in the way by uninviting the girls to a fashion show.

First of all, Natalie Tinti wrote and illustrated this book when she was barely nine years old which, in itself, is quite an accomplishment. The book is very adequate for seven to ten year old kids. It’s about four best friends who each have a rather unique name who wonder how they’re going to spend the summer holidays. The girls are each very different. There’s Meeka, who’s a bit of a brainiac and who enjoys solving difficult math problems, wondering how much humidity is in the air on any particular day, and all sorts of other scientific questions. Then there’s Sokron Blossom, who’s parents have a harsh set of rules she needs to follow, and who loves reading fashion magazines. There’s also Jonesy Jipsy who likes to belly dance and Nina who’s more relaxed than the other girls.

The girls meet up at the last day of school, and they wonder what they’re going to do during the summer holidays. They come up with the plan to join in the fashion show, but there are some troubles with that. First of all, there need to be five of them, and one of them needs to be nine years old. All the girls are seven years old, and there’s only four of htem, so that won’t work. But then they decide to ask Kiki Shaver, who’s the meanest girl in the world (the book says that literally, and I loved the sentiment behind that sentence so much that I remembered it) to participate with them. Kiki reluctantly agrees, and by the end of the day, they all become best friends.

The concept behind the story is cute and fitting for the age group. Natalie Tinti obviously has a lot of talent. I enjoyed her ability to write a story at such young age, and to come up with such colorful characters. Her illustrations were also very colorful and kind of cute. My only comment would be that at times the story felt a bit too disjointed, I actually had to go back a few times and reread part of a paragraph because the story made some jumps here and there.

Natalie has written a few more chapter books, and I’m looking forward to reading and/or reviewing these as well. She’s created a vibrant, enjoyable series.

Book Review: Curses for Sale by Steve Brezenoff

14459419Title: Curses for Sale
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Genre: Chapter Book, Horror
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2012
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

Weird and scary things happen after Jace buys an old toy car at a garage sale. Is the toy cursed?

Curses for Sale is a light, fun read for younger readers. It reminded me of the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine, which I enjoyed very much when I was younger. I wanted to read this book primarily for the cover. Don’t you just love the creepy old mansion? Although the cover is definitely scary, it’s appropriate for younger readers as well.

This book is part of the Raven’s Pass series. Apparently each book in the series is a stand-alone, but they fit together much like R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books – they take place in the same, cursed town. This was my first time reading a book in the Raven’s Pass series, but it may not be my last, considering how much I enjoyed this book.

While Jace and his Dad drive through town one day, they come across a garage sale. Jace notices a red toy car, large enough for him to sit in, and that for just five dollars! He buys the car, unaware of the dangers lurking right around the corner. Soon it becomes clear to Jace and his entire family that the toy car has a mind of its own, and it’s not afraid to hurt anyone who stands in its way. Jace goes to his best friend for help, and together they try to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

From an adult point of view, the story was quick and fun, but not necessary spooky. However, from a child’s point of view I imagine the story could be pretty scary. The vocabulary was easy to follow, the writing very fluent. I enjoyed the illustrations in the book itself, which could be especially helpful for young readers to help them picture what’s happening.

A nice read for younger readers, and a fun one for adults as well.