The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

Pigs in Love by Teddy Slater illustrated by Aaron Boyd

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 8, 2013


Pigs in Love is filled with ideas of the many ways to show love- to buddies and sweethearts, fathers and mothers and yes, even to pesky little brothers (Please excuse my rhyme. That’s not an actual line from the book, but the whole rhyming thing obviously rubbed off a little). You may want to spout valentine poetry to your loved ones too after you’ve read this fun book!

Here’s my favorite line:

“Sows and piglets, hogs, and swine- everyone’s someone’s valentine.”

If you want something sweet but free from processed sugar to share with your valentine, try Pigs in Love from Sterling Children’s Books.

*I received a review copy of Pigs in Love courtesy of Sterling Books. The opinions in this review are my own.

Posted in Board Books | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Home Front Girl- A Diary of Love, Literature, and Growing up in Wartime America By Joan Wehlen Morrison

Posted by hollybookscoops on February 8, 2013

Home Front Girl


I feel like I have a new friend after reading Home Front Girl. Joan Wehlen was so palpable on the pages of this book, that I wish I had in fact met her and could call her my friend. Full of historical snippets and teenage soliloquys, Home Front Girl is the Yin to Anne Frank’s Yang.

One of my favorite parts is something Joan Wrote at age 17:

“Oh you, my generation! –we were a lovely lot! Sharp minds—arguing all the time and brittle bodies and even more brittle laughter—and all the time knowing that we were growing up to die. Because we weren’t fooled, you know. All through those bright-colored years of adolescence we knew we were growing up to disaster. For at least four years—well, three, before it happened, we knew it was coming. Some sort of inner sense of war lay upon us. We were pretty brave—we joked about it the way we joked about love and about the polio epidemic when we were all scared to death of it.”

Joan, more than anyone I’ve ever heard of at this time, felt the world was small- that all were worthy of brotherhood and peace, and saving and that war for anyone and everyone was wrong. This is illustrated in another one of her quotes, “London is Troy tonight. . . . Berlin is Troy too.” I think in this sense Joan is somewhat unusual for her generation, for most youth of her time were not pacifist. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that.)

I highly recommend Home Front Girl as a primary source for research and insight into the Greatest Generation as so many have called Joan and her peers. Joan’s writings are full of insight and humor and the every day happenings of a teenage girl. Even though Joan had profound insights, she also struggled with the same thing teenage girls struggle with now- school, boys, parents and knowing what to believe in.

Thanks to Susan Signe Morrison, Joan’s daughter for wading through pages and pages of memories to bring her mother’s diary to light and share it with the rest of us. I received a review copy of this book at no cost to me courtesy of Caitlin Eck, publicist for Independent Publishers Group. The opinions are my own.

Posted in Biography, Books for Girls, Books for teaching history, Non-Fiction, Uncategorized, Young Adult | 3 Comments »

Bedtime at the Swamp and The Middle Child Blues by Kristyn Crow and a Giveaway!

Posted by caribookscoops on January 9, 2013

All my children love Bedtime at the Swamp and The Middle Child Blues by Kristyn Crow. My favorite part about these books is that they are so fun to read out loud.  These two books are some of our favorites. I had to go out and buy my own copies after receiving these copies for this giveaway. My kids love them so much that they quoted their favorite phrases while out shopping just the other day.

bedtime_at_the_swampBedtime at the Swamp is a fantastic bedtime story. Short rhymes and lots of fun. The illustrations by Macky Pamintuan compliment Crow’s text exceptionally well. Bedtime at the Swamp is about a little boy who is supposed to be going home to get ready for bed, but instead ends up hiding from a monster. It sounds scary, but it really isn’t. In fact, the monster ends up hiding with him. I think kids are more likely to giggle at the end of this book than be scared.

My kids’ favorite line

Splish Splash Rumba-rumba bim bam BOOM!

middle child blues

The Middle Child Blues illustrated by David Catrow is just like the title reads,  a story about all the woes and struggles of being a middle child. Lee is told a little too often that he is too small, too old, too young and so forth. This leaves him  sick and tired of being stuck in the middle. To cope with all this middle childness, Lee gets out his guitar and sings the Middle Child Blues. My children once again love Crow’s rhyming and catchy rhythms that go with the classic blues. In fact I wanted to sing through the book.

My children love the illustrations and now my 2.5 year old wants a guitar for his birthday. They couldn’t agree on a favorite line so you’ll just have to read The Middle Child Blues to pick your own.

As mentioned, I am doing a giveaway. I was given an autographed copy of each book by the lovely Kristyn Crow (I don’t want to admit how long ago, but you know I’ve had a baby,  dealt with a daughter’s health issues, finished a book and moved) still, even with all my excuses this is long overdue.

Kristyn Crow’s website. Check out her other books Cool Daddy Rat, The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare and more.

Macky Pamintuan’s website. Macky illustrated Bedtime at the Swamp and he did  illustrations for Flat Stanley as well as Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew.

David Catrow’s website. David illustrated The Middle Child Blues and also  Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon and lots of other fantastic books.

Giveaway details

More then one entry possible. If you enter more then once you can leave one comment telling us everything you did to enter.

1. Make a comment about your favorite bedtime story.

2. Tweet about our giveaway and leave a comment to tell us.

3. Like our Facebook page and leave us a comment to tell us.

4. Post our giveaway on Facebook and leave a comment to tell us.

Bookscoop’s giveaway is limited to the continental United States only. The winner will be randomly chosen and notified shortly after the close of the giveaway. The giveaway will close at midnight, MST, Saturday, January 19, 2013. First person chosen will win Bedtime at the Swamp. Second person will win The Middle Child Blues. We will make reasonable attempts to contact the winner, however if the winner cannot be contacted we reserve the right to randomly choose another winner.

Posted in Giveaways, Picture Books | Tagged: , | 11 Comments »

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintoc

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 31, 2012

twelve kinds of ice

Long winter nights are now upon us and I have the perfect book for family reading snuggled up by the fireplace. I love finding the perfect read-aloud and am so excited to share this new one with you. Twelve Kinds of Ice brings the magic of family and homemade fun to life. It has a beautiful, melodic rhythm that will lull your family members into peaceful dreams- not full of sugar plums, mind you, but full of figure skating and hot chocolate and melting marshmallow comfort.

This is a magical story of a family that waits for all the subtle signs of winter, so that they can have fun together on the ice. It speaks of Little Women and ‘old-fashioned’ happiness. It makes me long for the simplicity that reminiscing brings to the hard work of creating lasting memories. It reminds me of some of the favorite things of my early years…

I spent some of my childhood at the local ice rink dreaming of becoming a figure skater. The rink closed down at just about the same time I learned to skate backward, so my dreams didn’t take off (but that was the only thing that stopped me, I promise!). One winter, the road froze over in front of our house and we spent a delightful evening shoveling off the top layer of snow and skating around on our instant ice rink. Under the cozy cloud-filled sky laying winter down upon us like a farm maid shaking out a feather bed, I was my own star. Unfortunately, I grew up in a place where winter snows usually melt by afternoon instead of staying for the duration as they do in Maine at the Bryan Gardens Ice Rink Under the Sky in Obed’s book.

I loved this book and plan to snuggle up with my loved ones around the fireplace and share it’s magic with them. I hope you like it as much as I do!

*I received a review copy of this book.

Posted in Middle Readers | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

Book ideas for Boys for Christmas Gifts

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 13, 2012

This post is a copy of an email I sent to a friend in response to her request for help to find good books for her Nephew this Christmas. It is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully there is something on here you haven’t heard before.
secrets of droon
One series that my kids have loved is Secrets of Droon. It’s a magical series about the same reading level or a little above the Magic Tree House, but it reminds me more of a mild Harry Potter. There are tons of books in the series and I’m sure you could find a lot of them to keep a voracious budding reader occupied for awhile.
Another series that my kids have liked starting around 3rd grade is Animorphs. It’s a story of some friends who are fighting an alien invasion of Earth. This series has been around for a long time as well, so there should be quite a few books available and you can sometimes find great deals on them at thrift stores and yard sales.
warriors cats of the clan
If he likes animal books, your nephew would probably like the Warrior Cats of the Clan books by Erin Hunter. There are a few different series that have sprouted off from this so, again- there are lots of books and the girls I know who’ve read them like them just as much as the boys.
 origami yoda
My kids have loved Origami Yoda and Darth Paper.
darth paper
The main characters are in middle school, so some of the situations are more appropriate to middle school than elementary, but nothing I had major issues with- I read them aloud at bedtime to all my boys. There was a lot of boy humor and we laughed a lot. There is a new one out called the Secret of the Fortune Wookie, which also promises to be full of laughs.
fortune wookie
More series to consider are:
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, author of Hunger Games (This is geared to a younger audience than Hunger games, but there’s still war and fighting)- 5 books:
gregor the overlander
Redwall (again, quite a bit of violence but I’m pretty sure I read it in 3rd or 4th grade)
Cabin Creek Mysteries series and lots of other books by Kristiana Gregory
blizzard on blue mountain
Chronicles of Narnia
chronicles of narnia
Partick Carmen’s Land of Elyon Books – make sure to start with the prequel for boys- since the 4-book series has a girl as a main character, and the prequel starts out with two boys. For some reason boys tend to be more hesitant to read books with girls as the main characters- but these are some of my favorites!
into the mist
Chris D’Lacey’s Dragon books (lots of global warming allusions in this one, but these are all really long big books I think there are 6 of them, so they should take up a lot of reading time for those insatiable readers.)


I also really like Margaret Peterson Haddix- but these are probably too old as well for him at this point
The Candy Shop War- this is one my 4th grader is currently reading and it’s an excellent read-aloud (the book on cd is awesome!). The second book was just released and I’m pretty sure it will become a longer series.
candy shop war
arcade catastrophe
You are welcome to check out our reviews on some of these books (we haven’t reviewed all of them) the easiest way is to search for them by title or author in the search bar at the top of this page. We try to categorize them but don’t always specifically mark them as boy or girl. I try to encourage my boys to read books that are written about girls, but that doesn’t always go over well. Actually, it almost never does, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying to educate them, right? Here’s a link to our boy category. It’s not age specific, and doesn’t include everything:
A few random books we’ve enjoyed lately- Fart Powder:Bubbles in the Bathtub
fart powder
 Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford (awesome audio book).
captain nobody
I hope you find success in sharing reading with the boys you love! What series or books do your boys love to read?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury audio book read by Elissa Steele

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 13, 2012

Wrapped is a great audio book for teen girls- I’m sure it’s great in written form as well, but I listened to it and loved it out loud. Agnes Wilkins is a beautiful young woman about to make her debut on London’s high society. She is invited to a mummy unwrapping party and discovers that she has stumbled upon a mystery when she is chosen to cut into the ancient mummy wrappings.

While standing still for endless hours being fitted for top-secret ball gowns Agnes spouts off Jane Austen quotes in multiple languages, much to the chagrin of her mother. Of course, in keeping with Jane Austen’s most famous decree that every single, wealthy man is in want of a wife, Agnes is expected to be snatched up by her wealthy bachelor neighbor, the dry arrogant Lord Showalter who loves to flaunt his wealth and knowledge (he’s also the host of the unwrapping party). I think my favorite character, next to Agnes, was Caedman, the aspiring Egyptologist who has no means to pursue Agnes and no hope to succeed in winning her because of that.  Wrapped

I would love to read this in written form because sometimes I get distracted when listening to things out loud and I kept having to backtrack when my kids got too noisy. I learned a lot about Napolean and London in this refreshing glimpse into 1815 London. Most novels of this time period completely ignore the political turmoil of the time, and I enjoyed getting a more world-savvy view. I also enjoyed that Agnes defied the social expectations of young women of her day to accomplish some amazing things. If you prefer written words, to audio books, you may want to check this version out:


I have to ask, because the covers are so different- which cover most appeals to you? Or do you like them both?

Posted in Audio Books, Books for Girls, Books for teaching history, Young Adult | 2 Comments »

After Hello Author Interview with Lisa Mangum!

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 27, 2012

Today I am featuring an interview with author Lisa Mangum here at Bookscoops. Lisa has written my top favorite time travel series, the Hourglass Door Trilogy. Please join us in celebrating her most recent novel, After Hello. Be sure to check out the links at the end of the interview for some fun opportunities!

I had the great pleasure of attending a lecture given by Lisa at the WIFYR conference this summer in Utah. I also met Lisa at the book signing and she is one awesome lady. If you ever need a hug- she’s a great hugger! Please join me in welcoming Lisa and getting a glimpse into how talented she is.

Holly with Lisa Mangum at WIFYR (sorry for the blurry cell phone picture)

Holly: Where did you get the idea for your book, After Hello? 

Lisa: It sounds cliché, but it came from a dream. I dreamed what eventually became the first scene in the book—the part where Sara sees Sam for the first time, takes his picture, and decides to follow him. The dream wandered into strange territory after that, as dreams often do, but when I woke up, I still remembered that moment of a first meeting, and the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I was about who these two people were and what they were doing and what their relationship would be like.

Holly: You are so creative to be able to take a moment from a dream and turn it into a whole novel! After Hello is a contemporary novel whereas your trilogy was not. What were the main differences between writing a contemporary novel and writing your previous Time Travel Series? (Which I loved by the way!)

 Lisa: The biggest difference was that I couldn’t rely on a magical or paranormal solution to a problem! While I loved writing my time travel series (I have always loved the fantasy and sci-fi genres), I found writing contemporary fiction to be both refreshing and challenging. With a contemporary novel, I needed to make sure I kept my characters grounded in reality, facing real problems, and finding real solutions. I also found there was a certain immediacy I liked about writing contemporary fiction that wasn’t always present in the Hourglass Door series.

Holly: Will there be a sequel to After Hello?

Lisa:  I don’t have any plans right now to revisit the story of Sam and Sara. Without giving too much away, I wanted to leave the story a little open-ended so the reader could decide what happened next. After all, people often come in our lives only to stay for varying amounts of time, and that’s okay.

Holly: I think you are very good at sequels. There should be a sequel. I hereby call for a vote. All in favor say yes! Ahem. Oh yes, back to the interview… In After Hello, there is a lot of trading going on. What is the coolest trade you’ve ever made?

Lisa: I actually traded a copy of After Hello—plus a sugar packet—for a framed movie poster of the Avengers. I then traded the poster to my friend Heidi for a stack of fashion books and coloring books, which I then traded to my nieces in exchange for a bucket of Mr. Potato Head parts that I needed for a writing conference class I was teaching. Whew! If you want to join in the fun, visit and I’ll send you an official After Hello sugar packet that you can trade.

Holly: Sure…we totally believe you about the Mr. Potato Head :) . Although, I must say I never saw any Mr. Potatoe Head parts during your presentation. You just wanted to have your own set, right? j/k. When you aren’t busy with Mr. Potato Head, what project are you working on now?

Lisa: I actually have another contemporary YA novel in mind: Just June. My elevator pitch goes something like this: “May and June are as close as identical twin sisters can be. So when May commits suicide, June is left with one question: Why hadn’t she known her sister was in trouble?” I want to explore the issue of sisterhood and identity, secrets and trust. It’s kind of a scary topic for me, but exciting as well.

Cari with Lisa Mangum at WIFYR

 That does sound like a scary topic to address. It will be interesting to see how it goes. Speaking of scary and exciting things, tell us a little about your path to publication—how long did you work at becoming published before it actually happened?

Lisa: My path to publication took a decade-long detour through the editing world. Growing up, I wanted to be a writer. I loved everything about books, but somewhere in my teen years, that horrible voice of self-doubt convinced me that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say, that writing was a dream that other people had. So, I’m sad to say, I shelved that dream for a number of years. But I still loved books, so I looked into the possibility of becoming an editor. I graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English and almost immediately was able to start work as an Editorial Assistant in a publishing house. I loved it! And it wasn’t until 2007 or 2008 before I turned my attention back to writing. When I got the idea for The Hourglass Door, it was like the floodgates opened, and all those dreams I had as a child came rushing back. I finished the draft in about 8 months and submitted it to Shadow Mountain. They said yes, and about a year later, the book was on the shelf, ready to be read. It was a whirlwind process. I haven’t looked back since.

Holly: Well, you are quite a few steps ahead of me, that’s for sure. When I got that little voice of self-doubt I went and got a degree in Business. At least you stayed in the same general field! I always kept the love of books alive though. At Bookscoops we talk a lot about memories with books. What are some memories you have of reading as a young child?

Lisa: My first book-related memory is of me—maybe only 3 or 4—taking a copy of The Secret Garden to my mom and asking her to read it to me. We curled up in the big green rocking chair and she read the entire book to me. It’s still one of my favorites. I remember discovering Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen and crying my eyes out at the end of book two. (I also wrote her a letter, which she answered! And which I still have to this day.) I remember scouring the libraries for the sequel to The Three Musketeers. I remember one birthday where I wished to spend the whole day in the bookstore; Mom and Dad bought me ten books that day. (Happy birthday, indeed!)

Holly: I love the Secret Garden too! The Three Musketeers I didn’t read until I was in 9th grade French. I wasn’t super fluent (I’m still not) so my appreciation and understanding of that great piece of writing was spotty at best. On another note, I love your birthday memory! I’ve never heard of celebrating a birthday at the bookstore. Wouldn’t it be great if they had party rooms at bookstores? Maybe that’s what I’ll ask for on my next birthday. (Not the party room- the whole day at the bookstore, and ten books. Minimum.)
Thanks for the interview Lisa! It was great to hear more about you. Now, dear readers, please go check out Lisa Mangum’s new book, After Hello. And check out the sugar packet trading site We all have some serious trading to do!

After Hello by Lisa Mangum

Posted in Author Interviews | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

After Hello by Lisa Mangum Review by Holly Papa

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 26, 2012

After Hello by Lisa Mangum


So, I met Lisa Mangum and she is awesome. Which explains how her books became the same way. I was excited to meet Lisa when I realized she would be at the writer’s conference I went to last summer. I had recently discovered her Hourglass trilogy and couldn’t wait to meet the person behind that great story. I was not disappointed. Lisa is very friendly and easy to get along with.

But, this is not a review of Lisa, it’s a review of her most recent book, After Hello. I wasn’t expecting anything like the Hourglass Trilogy, although I think a small part of me was hoping for some magic anyway. Which, now that I think about I still got. After Hello is set in New York City and is filled with the hustle and bustle and craziness that is the magic of New York. I went there once (to New York) and I was actually the same age as the protagonist in the story. I could relate in a zany way- as in an I once was there and I was way too naive and dependent on my Aunt to take me around to possibly be this character sort of way. There’s some suspension of disbelief that I had to employ in reading because there was no way on my bravest teenage day that I would have acted anything like Sara or Sam, the two main characters. And yet, I still enjoyed the story and found myself wishing I’d been that brave and bold  at the same time that I was glad I wasn’t so blind and trusting. Perhaps that is a clue to creating lovable characters- make your readers love them and hate them and not be able to set the book down because they want to know what crazy thing they’ll do next and you think that by reading faster maybe you can make sure they don’t get strangled by some crazy psycho lurking in the alley.

After Hello covers such a short period of time that it is amazing the depth and character development taking place. Sara and Sam are both in very different places by the end of the book. A 24-ish hour difference. I was left hanging at the end of the book and would love a sequel even though that’s not in the plans. You can read all about it in my author interview with Lisa Mangum where she tells us her upcoming plans here.

Now, what are you waiting for? Time’s awasting! Check out the great sugar packet trading contest with awesome prizes and you have way more than 24 hours to see what kind of trading master you are. I’m thinking I want to trade my sugar packet for a trip to France… but that would take some serious trading skills so we’ll see.  If you could trade for anything, what would you trade for?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Poopendous! by Artie Bennett

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 10, 2012

I have to admit I was excited to get this book to review courtesy of Author Artie Bennett. I know it sounds rather odd that a book like this would excite me so much. But not really, when you consider that I am the mother to four boys. We once spent a whole dinner discussing the finer points of passing gas- yes, everyone- well actually, everything that has a digestive tract does this (we had to do our research after we came to a draw). Your possible next book idea Mr. Bennett?

After reading other reviews, I was prepared for much laughter and hilarity. I was not prepared, however, for what we actually got. My two year old has a new bible. Poopendous is his potty training, all about poop bible. He holds this book and studies it like it is the be all-end all book about poop. I only wish it had a picture of a kid actually sitting on the potty instead of running for the bathroom door in desperation. He knows now that pooping is normal (I’m not sure he was wondering, but just in case) and that there are many different animals that do it in many different places. So, he’s decided he is a puppy and needs to poop like a puppy outside. He ran outside with no pants on just yesterday in a serious attempt to prove to me that he is in charge of where he goes to the bathroom. All the characters in his ‘bible’ poop in different places, so why should he be restricted to the toilet?  I just hope he doesn’t take any cues from the monkey in the book, “Monkeys fling when ender stress it helps the monkey decompress.” Over all though it has encouraged him to make all kinds of poops in his potty. Thank goodness!

A big thumbs up goes to this book about the finer facts of Professor Pip Poopdeck’s favorite subject. And just so you know there was no laughter, just quiet internalizing and digesting of these exhaustive facts. By all four of my boys. I was rather surprised. The other children who have been in our home and looked at this book have all gotten a silly grin on their faces. There’s just something special about a whole book devoted to poop- and in rhyme no less. It deserves our utmost respect and hallowed devotion. Kudos to Mr. Bennett and thanks again for the book!

Posted in Books for teaching Math and Science, Picture Books | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Announcement! Holly’s new Author/Illustrator Site

Posted by hollybookscoops on September 7, 2012

One of Holly's Illustrations from WIFYR Workshop

As many of you know, we (Cari and Holly) are both aspiring to be genuine published authors. Tack on illustrator to Holly’s goals and you have the whole picture. As part of the journey to publication, I (Holly) have created my  own website where I will be posting insights about writing and illustrating and chronicling my journey to success. I will still be posting here at Bookscoops and hope that you will follow along with me in both places.

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Stephen King

Here’s to a great ride. Cheers!

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »


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