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Archive for the ‘Books for Boys’ Category

Cold Case by Julia Platt Leonard

Posted by hollybookscoops on August 16, 2012

For the fast-approaching month of October, I have a creepy mystery for all those who want to get ready for Halloween. Of course, this is not a tale exclusive to the Halloween season. It just fits in rather well. Cold Case is Julia Platt Leonard’s first novel, and a doozy at that. I grew up a fan of Nancy Drew novels, with a few Hardy Boys thrown in to the mix for good measure. Cold Case is a little like Hardy Boys on steroids. When Oz Keiller finds a dead body in the freezer at his family’s restaurant, the 13-year-old  sets out to find the killer and clear his brother’s name. It’s a fast-paced murder mystery, without the proverbial ‘colloquialisms’ so to speak that are common to the formulaic mysteries I grew up on.

Oz, first off, is not a typical middle-upper class, white american, with a housekeeper and his own car. He’s the youngest son of a French-American widow, drives a bicycle around town and works to help run the family restaurant, Chez Isabelle. While his mom is off in France caring for their ailing grandmother, Oz and his older brother Dave have to deal with the scariest most intense period of their lives. I enjoyed reading Cold Case- it brought back so many memories of the good old days. If you like mysteries and you’re not too creeped out by dead bodies and blood, you will be impressed with Julia Platt Leonard’s work.

*Thanks Julia for the review copy of your book!

*Disclosure: I received a review copy of this novel, but my apologies to Julia. I wrote this and it got buried in my drafts pile instead of published long ago. Hopefully, it’s not too late to get the word out!

Posted in Books for Boys, Uncategorized, Young Adult | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby

Posted by hollybookscoops on May 12, 2012

I just read Matthew J. Kirby’s debut novel, and I’m about to start devouring his next book, Icefall, which just won the Edgar Award in the juvenile ficiton category. I am looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we are putting in some landscaping- flower beds and such, and so I am going to have to work hard to sneak in some reading in between gardening. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll work it in somehow.

But… back to The Clockwork Three… I had a great time reading this novel and seeing how the lives of Frederick, Guiseppe and Hannah worked together like the intricate gears of a clock. Frederick is an orphan clockmaker’s apprentice, Hannah is a maid and the sole provider for her poverty stricken family, while  Guiseppe is a busker and slave to his Padrone (a really mean man that is basically a child-extortionist and slave-master). I love the name Guiseppe- it’s so Italian, and the Italian aspect of his heritage was a small part of what endeared Guiseppe to my heart.

I’ve heard great things about Kirby’s next book and I can hardly wait to get started. I also am looking forward to meeting Matthew J. Kirby in person this summer at the WIFYR conference and having him sign a copy for me. That’s one of the great perks about this conference. Not only do they have a First Line Contest (open to everyone) going on right now, but they usually have a first line contest at the conference and they have author/illustrator signings. It’s like a celebrity meet and great for the literary world. I can hardly wait to see all my favorite people @WIFYR!

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Some Books to love this Christmas and a fun reading lamp idea…

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 1, 2011

We have been loving some books lately that I want to share with you. The first two, my boys and I have read together. We’ve all laughed and it has allowed for some great conversations. Not to mention some fun activities.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger. My boys and I read this out loud together last year and all got a kick out of Dwight and his escapades with the sixth grade and his talented origami finger-puppet Yoda.

 

Darth Paper, an Origami Yoda Book also by Tom Angleberger. We ordered this one from the Scholastic Book Order. It seemed to take forever for it to arrive. Monday, my 3rd grader came home triumphant, book in hand. I toyed with the idea of making my boys wait until Christmas- it is so close. But, I just couldn’t wait myself. The only one who likes to wait for presents in this house would be my husband. He’s good with surprises. And waiting. Me? Not so much.

Right after dinner, my husband and boys flipped to the back where there are instructions for folding your own Darth Paper. We then folded and colored a multitude of ten-fold Darth Papers. Mine turned out to be the five-fold Origami Yoda. Somehow I must be a little paper-folding challenged. Either that or I just never listen to the dark side (yes- that would be blatant denial there). I think all of my kids, including my kindergartener, have taken some form of Star Wars Origami to school this week. We’ve had such a great time together reading and folding. I (we) highly recommend this for a family-friendly Star Wars activity.

 

 

My last recommendation is a super big secret. You can’t tell my kids. If you do, you will spoil Christmas. Don’t be a scrooge!

If you can’t keep a secret, the post ends here. I know, I know, I’m not good at keeping things secret. Let’s just say it’s a surprise. You can tell after December 26th. Here goes: Last year, Santa bought some lovely little reading lights from Costco for our boys. Unfortunately, they didn’t stand up to the destructive power of busy boy hands. They probably wouldn’t have lasted for girl hands either, but as we don’t have any of those in our house, I can’t make any promises. We were all sad when they ended up broken. Our nights were certainly more full of noise and rambunctious bunk bed escapades after the lights broke rather than peaceful, quiet reading-filled evenings. I have tried a few other kinds of book lamps but one thing has always frustrated me. The light never focuses where you want it by just hooking it on the book. It always required one hand for the light and one for the book. Leaving one or the other or both hands tired. Not to mention if you do manage to hook it effectively on the book, you end up moving it when you turn the page. Grrr! Not good for extended periods of reading in the dark. Which, if you are a night person and your sweetie is not, those little lights are necessary to happiness at times. So, I did some internet searching and found some Head lamps at Harbor Freight of all places. And check out the price! Only $2.49! For this price, I think Santa will definitely be stocking up. No more finger fatigue! They can break multiple times and still be cheaper than all those other more expensive, not to mention awkward, book lights. Happy reading! Yes, I will be wearing one of these ugly lights before long. They can double as Nerf Gun in the dark lights too. Think of the possibilities…

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Middle Readers, Young Adult | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth

Posted by hollybookscoops on July 20, 2011

I just finished reading an amazing book! It would make a great audio for vacation- especially for middle schoolers and older. Without being preachy in any way, it will help your kids- especially your daughters appreciate the privileges and freedoms we enjoy today. You might find yourself discussing some important subjects about equality of the sexes and traditions that don’t make sense, but that are hard to question because they are so entrenched in society.

Lela and her family live in India at the cusp of Gandhi’s new political and social ideas. Lela has the misfortune of losing her ‘husband’ at the young age of twelve, making her a widhwa, or widow. I love the parallels that Sheth weaves throughout the story between the political and marriage practices of 1918 India. I found myself angry at the injustices that Lela must face because of her sex. Widows are not allowed to remarry, so Lela’s life as she knows it, will never be the same. For those unfamiliar with these marriage customs, children were engaged, and marriages arranged, by parents for their children at very young ages. Lela was on the cusp of actually moving to her in-laws’ home, when an unfortunate accident occurred, altering her life’s course forever. I encourage you to read this amazing story- that is actually based on the true life story of one of Kashmnira Sheth’s aunt’s.

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Young Adult Fiction | Leave a Comment »

Cabin Creek Mysteries: The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake by Kristiana Gregory

Posted by hollybookscoops on July 14, 2011

I first learned about the Cabin Creek Mysteries when I stumbled upon a book club for boys called Mysteries by the River at one of our area libraries. It is lead by Kristiana Gregory, who is a mother of grown boys, and an author who understands the drive that many children have to read about creepy things and solve mysteries. Although we were only able to go a few times after we found out about it (due to a new baby, new house further away, and sports conflicts), my boys enjoyed it and I enjoyed seeing so many boys shy, but excited about reading.

The Clue at the Bottom of the Lake is a formulaic novel similar to all those Nancy Drew and Hardy boy mysteries that Cari and I inhaled as kids. The only difference is, they are geared more specifically to a younger audience. With the perfect amount of suspense and fingernail biting, brothers Jeff and David, along with cousin Claire, solve mysteries in their cozy home in the Blue Mountains. The mystery of the moment all starts when Jeff and David witness someone dumping a lumpy, heavy bundle into the lake, across from their home and right in the front yard of their secret fort on Lost Island.

If you are looking for some fun summer reading for your kids- this series is affordable and perfect to inspire some great summer adventures when things are hot and ‘boring’. You just might find you have some detectives in your home who want to sketch (like David), or keep their things organized (like Jeff), or who are thinking up great diversions to trick the criminally minded (like Claire).

*For full disclosure, I must admit that Kristiana gave this book to my second son with her autograph inside the front cover. My other son was too embarrassed or self conscious, I’m not sure which, to get his own copy. Oh well. Son #2 wants to be an author one day anyway. Son #1, last I double checked, still wants to be a paleontologist. Anyone have a dinosaur bone out there they want to autograph? j/k

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Middle Readers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Crispin The Cross of Lead and Crispin at the Edge of the World by Avi

Posted by hollybookscoops on March 4, 2011

crispin cross of leadCrispin: The Cross of Lead

I read and enjoyed this book many years ago, I re-read it just before reading the sequel, Crispin at the Edge of the World. A fascinating tale of murder and deception, the Cross of Lead traces the journey of a young boy struggling to discover who he is and why he has been proclaimed a “wolf’s head”, which means he can be killed on sight, no questions asked. Afraid to venture beyond the medieval village he has known his whole life, Asta’s son recognizes how little he knows when he meets the juggler named Bear. As Bear questions Asta’s son, and encourages him to use his own wit, Crispin learns that he has more potential than he ever imagined.

crispin edge of worldCrispin: At the Edge of the World

I enjoyed the sequel to the Cross of Lead, which follows the further journey of Bear and Crispin as they dare to sail away from England and escape the attackers who are hunting them without mercy. The people they find to help them along the way are genuine characters that add depth and perception to the story. Bear now acts as father to two children who trust him with their lives. Faced with impossible decisions and difficult situations, this is another successful spell-binding Avi tale. I look forward to reading the third and final volume of this planned trilogy!

Crispin: The End of Time

I was excited to find out what happened to Crispin in this, the last installment of the Crispin series. Crispin’s life has been one never-ending adventure since he left home as the wolf’s head in book one. The adventure continues in the foreign land he and Troth find themselves alone in. Set in a middle-ages environment, Crispin’s life story is fraught with danger and his life doesn’t slow down one bit in the last book! Once again escaping murderers and thieves, Crispin’s last tale will give readers the satisfying ending they desire and still leaves the door open for more tales, if Avi should change his plans. Avi has created a fun series for upper elementary students that will leave them with a great appreciation for the safety and security we enjoy in our civilized world!

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Juvenile Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult Fiction | Leave a Comment »

We Made Out Like Bandits!

Posted by hollybookscoops on January 24, 2011

It’s been a busy new year, and before January is officially over, I wanted to mention how much we loved the books we got for Christmas! My family and I love books. We love to give them and get them. Well, except for my husband, who mostly loves to give them to me. After the wrapping paper was stuffed into bulging garbage bags, and we had a moment to breathe, I took an inventory: 31 Books! We had a Dragon book, a Flat Stanley book, 3 Star Wars sticker books, 4 Animorph series, some Beverly Lewis Amish books, and a few other adult books including Austenland, by Shannon Hale. Let’s see, what else? I knew I should have made a list. You can read about some of our very favorites below: Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth.

This one has been loved on as much as any little baby could love it. Literally! A few days ago, my little one was opening it and closing it, turning it upside down, trying to pull the ladybugs off one by one. And finally? I had to laugh when I saw him toss it on the ground and crawl across it, licking each ladybug to see how they tasted! Yes, I admit, he’s still under one, but this is some great hands on baby-lovin’ book reading! My 4-year-old  actually loves this book too, but he insists on reading it backwards, because he doesn’t think it’s proper to count backwards from 10. Never mind, that when the words say a ladybug ‘disappears’, and we turn back a page, one automatically appears. It’s almost like magic! I’ve tried changing the words, but it’s very hard to make them still go along with the pictures. Ahh! The challenge of reading to young minds who are determined to see the world their way. I highly recommend Gerth’s fun contribution to children’s literature. It’s definitely a top ‘flavor’ scoop at our house.

The really popular book with my 10-year-old was the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid

My two oldest boys were also thrilled to find that Santa Claus had given them each an LED flexible arm book reading light. I now have to confiscate them at night or else I end up finding out my little rascals didn’t go to sleep. Some nights I beg to borrow their lights so that I can read while I lay down by little brother to help him fall asleep. So far, my boys have been generous to share with me.

What books did you get for Christmas?

Posted in Board Books, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Children's Literature, Juvenile Fiction, Middle Readers, News, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Cowboy & Octopus by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith

Posted by hollybookscoops on January 19, 2011

This book is funny the same way that Napolean Dynamite is funny. All the jokes are dead-pan come-again type. The kind that kids love. We read this book over and over and over. A fun companion to those cowboy boots your little one is asking for and a little leg up on telling jokes, although the authors don’t seem to ever have gone much past the 4-5 year old joke stage.

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Picture Books, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 19, 2010

gossamerI wasn’t sure what to expect in this story about where dreams come from. I liked what I found. A quick, easy read but with two stories intertwined. One about the dream makers who gather bits and pieces of memories from the objects in our home and then bestow them upon us to give us the dreams we have. Littlest one is one of the dream makers in training and her touch is like gossamer. She defies rules and exceeds expectations to bestow dreams that offer hope and peace in the face of the Horde (the bestowers of nightmares). 

A quick note of awareness for parents and teachers: the boy in the story is in foster care and is dealing with the affects of an alcoholic, physically abusive father, and co-dependant mother, which will definitely offer great points of discussion for those who read the story.  I personally think Gossamer would give my fourth grader nightmares, but that it would be a great discussion book for junior high age kids. So, although some age recommendations go as low as 4th grade, I would rate it higher for content, and if you want to read it before your kids, it’s definitely captivating for adults as well.

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Fantasy, Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult Fiction | Leave a Comment »

Book Giveaway! Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman illustrated by Scott Magoon

Posted by hollybookscoops on August 18, 2010

Otto Grows Down has wiggled its way right in to my heart. I have been loving on this book ever since I opened the front cover. I can’t keep it to myself any longer (big sigh) I think I will have to buy my own copy because this one has always been destined for a giveaway. Yeah for everyone else (see below for details on how to enter)! Children will love this humorous tale and beg for more. I can hardly wait to see what Sussman writes next!

How did Otto wiggle his way right into my heart? Well, first off, the mesmerizing illustrations remind me in a way of some of David Shannon’s work! (and I love David Shannon). Also, Otto Grows Down is a captivating tale of the consequences of our innermost selfish wishes. Otto’s childish innocence speaks right to that part inside me (and probably you too) that sometimes threatens to get in the way of peaceful family relationships. As many of you know, we at Bookscoops have added two (in Jen Robinson’s words) little ‘bookworms’ to our family this year. Which puts me in the perfect position to love Otto, having observed some of his characteristics in my very own children recently. I am happy to highly recommend Otto Grows Down as a great book to help with the new baby blues transition for older siblings. My four year old now emphatically says, “I do NOT want to take our baby back to the hospital!”

So, enough with the commentary, you want details, right?

Otto is a sweet little boy who has a new baby sister and on his 6th birthday, when he blows out the candles, he wishes that his sister had never been born. When he opens his eyes, his wish begins to come true, with unexpected consequences. Time begins to go backwards and Otto relives his life in reverse as he takes his baby sister back to the hospital, spits out his food at the dinner table, and slides up and climbs down all the playground equipment at school. Day after day, year after year, until Otto almost isn’t Otto anymore.

Hands down, my favorite line, and illustration?

“And going to the bathroom was downright disgusting.”

We laughed and laughed over this one at our house. Then we shared this book with everyone who visited and laughed and laughed some more. Otto Grows down will appeal to kids and adults of all ages. If you would like a chance to win this book, please enter the giveaway below. If you would like a chance to buy this book, it is available pretty much everywhere now, and is the perfect gift for a new older sibling. If I could go back in time, I would have given it to my older sister when I was born. No offense Cari, but maybe it would have saved me a special haircut or two.

Book Giveaway Details:

Bookscoops is giving away one hardback copy of Otto Grows Down, courtesy of Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at  Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation, to one lucky winner. You may enter the giveaway by linking  to this post, commenting on this post, sharing a tip of how to help kids adjust to new siblings, or a funny anecdote about new baby growing pains. Comments will close for the giveaway at midnight MST on August 26, 2010. I will be happy to ship the book to any winner within the continental United States. Thanks and happy commenting!

Check out Michael Sussman’s website and Scott Magoon’s for more information on their fantastic contributions to children’s literature.

Posted in Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Giveaways, Picture Books | 14 Comments »

 
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