Monday, April 24, 2017

#Review: The Library by Sarah Stewart/Illustrated David Small #AtoZBlogChallenge #T

Elizabeth Brown doesn't like to play with dolls and she doesn't like to skate. What she does like to do is read books. Lots of books. The only problem is that her library has gotten so big she can't even use her front door anymore. What should Elizabeth Brown do?

My review:
As a book and library lover, I was drawn to this book right away. I loved that the main character was based on a real person who was in the dedication. I found the character to be a compadre of sorts because she never stopped reading, not even to vacuum! The cover actually drew me in first as it was very nostalgic with a woman pulling a wagon load of books. This would be me, no doubt.

As I opened the pages to The Library, I was hit with more of those very well done nostalgic pages. The colors were in muted pastels, lined drawn and just gorgeous.  They jumped out of the book with every page turn. I loved seeing with each turn the 'books' getting higher and higher and cleverly stacked. Each illustration was framed in a black and white line drawn frame.

The writing was two to three paragraphs for each two-spread page. It was done in poetic form and again, perfect! By each of the paragraphs were smaller black and white images that went along with the poem and not necessarily the other illustrations. However, these enhanced the already fantastic book. The twist at the end was the culmination of a book lovers dream.

5 stars!

Disclosure: I obtained this book at my local library. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. Hudson aka Naila Moon

Sunday, April 23, 2017

#Review: Sona and the Wedding Game by Kashmira Sheth/illustrated by Yoshiko Jaegge #Multicultural #AtoZBlog Challenge #S

Sona's big sister is getting married and she's been given an important job to do. She has to steal the groom's shoes. She's never attended a wedding before, so she's unfamiliar with this Indian tradition as well as many of the other magical experiences that will occur before and during the special event. But with the assistance of her annoying cousin Vishal, Sona finds a way to steal the shoes and get a very special reward.

My review:
Usually, when I am reviewing a book, I have a clear mind of what I think about it. Sona and the Wedding Game happens to be one of those books that I had to think a little harder than usual.

This is the story of a fictional Hindu wedding but is based on real-life weddings for some Hindus. I thought the tradition of stealing a groom's shoes was very different but the book explains the reason and it is all about family. In fact, the book makes it clear that every nuance of this kind of wedding is to bring two families closer together. I like that!

I was a bit disappointed at the end as her request was asked but then there was no conclusion it seemed. Maybe I missed that part and it could be because...

The few illustrations I was able to see were colorful and cute. Unfortunately, the copy I had on Kindle did not convey as well as I would have liked to have seen. In fact, I think they were missing altogether. I do not think that is the fault of the author but if it had been a child trying to read the book, it would have been disappointing.

The book is a nice glimpse into some of India's rich culture It is only a small part, but still yet still worth reading, especially if learning about India.

3 stars

Disclosure: A Kindle copy of this book was obtained through NetGalley. All views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~MM. aka Naila Moon

#Review: Rosita and the Night of the Radishes by Dorothy Thurgood Manning #Multicultural #AtoZBlogChallenge #R

Young Rosita competes in Oaxaca, Mexico's radish carving contest which is held every December 23rd. She hopes to win first prize and use the money to help her family's failing farm.

My review:
Rosita and the Night of the Radishes is a fictional tale based off of a real live event in Oaxaca, Mexico.

The character, Rosita, is a young girl who must take care of her family farm while her parents try to sell what farm goods they have raised. They are poor farmers and Rosita enters the competition each year to try to help win money so her parents can hire more help.

The tale tells how she gets to grow the radishes and the carving she does. The ending is such a twist that I was surprised to see what actually happened. Is it a good ending? Bad ending? Ah, my readers, you must get the book to know.

To me, the whole story was a sweet and powerful take on dreaming about being better, persistences, hard work, and courage. I loved seeing the main character being a girl with all of these traits and more.

The illustrations were quite bold and colorful. They enhanced the already good story line and made it come to full life.

At the end of the story, it gave a brief history of the "Night of the Radishes." Again, I was surprised to know that this is a real event that happens every year just before Christmas. The end pages also include real photographs of the event. To me, that was really cool to see and a nice comparison to the fictional story.

This book is targeted for 3-8-year-olds. The younger set would enjoy being read to as the older children would enjoy reading the book.  I give this book a 5-star win!
I was so interested in this annual event because I had never heard it before, that I decided to look up a video. This video is not connected to the author or her book but is an interesting connection to it. Enjoy.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. Hudson aka Naila Moon

Friday, April 21, 2017

#Review: The Queen Is Coming to Tea by Linda Ravin Lodding/Illustrated by Constanze von Kitzing #AtoZBlogChallenge #Q

When Ellie finds out the Queen is coming to tea, she snaps to attention!
But will the Queen patiently wait? And what exactly will be waiting for the Queen?

My review:
The Queen Is Coming to Tea is a cute story with a cute twist of an ending. The illustrations are bright and bold but not overly exciting. I was not as drawn to this book as much as other picture books but that does not mean I did not like it.

I thought the book was imaginative and "took" kids around the world to get the things needed to prepare for tea. Preparation for such an important person would need to be much. However, my problem with the around the world trips was that the places and characters seemed to be stereotypical.  That was a definite oops for me even though I see what the author was trying to do.

For the emerging reader, this might be a fun book to read or for the child who enjoys dressing up and having tea parties. Overall, for me, this is a 3-star book.

Disclosure: I received an ARC copy of this book for free. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

#Review: Paul Needs Specs by Bernard Cohen/ Illustrated by Geoff Kelly #AtoZBlogChallenge #P

Paul's world is turning fuzzy, but luckily he has Sal, his big sister, who is happy to help bring it back into focus, and tell his story to the world.

My review:
Paul Needs Specs is a funny title to me which is why I picked up the book, to begin with. I was not overly enthralled with the cover as it was all in grayish color and silhouetted except for these big bulging eyes. I did not like that the title looked like a frown. I decided even still, to give the book a shot.

The book is told from the perspective of "Paul's" sister. She narrates this whole story of why Paul ended up having to have glasses. It is not the best story but I did like that the words are written sometimes very funky or even large. There is one point the words are written in the "glasses". I am sure that kids would find that to be fun.

The best part of this book is actually the illustrations themselves. As this is mostly a picture book, the pictures really stand out. Most of the pictures are a two-spread and are colorful and quite large. Funky does not even do them justice, they are just plain wild. The first few are also grainy which is intentional to show bad eyesight.

I wish that I could give this book more stars than the 3 I am giving it but the story line really hurts the book and for that reason, I cannot and is only ok to me.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book for my own collections. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Hello, welcome back to another month of terrific children's literature. We welcome you to the April 2017 Kid Lit Blog Hop. This hop takes place every 3rd Wednesday of the month. It is designed to engage a  group of people who love everything that has to do with children's literature. Everyone is welcome to join us: bloggers, authors, publicist, and publishers!

**This month I want to share with you all of the A-Z children's books I have reviewed thus far. As of this writing, I have shared all the way through the letter "O". You can find them by clicking on the #2 spot on the linky or you can click on my home page. There are some unbelievably awesome books and worth the look. Leave me a comment to tell me you visited too. 

Thanks for being here for the hop! ~M.M. aka Naila Moon**

Have you seen the  Kid Lit Blog Hopper Facebook fan page? This page has all the news and information related to the hop plus ongoing posts, giveaways, news articles, etc. related to Kid's Lit. Check it out and of course, please like the page.

So for our hop, please make sure that your posts are related to Children’s literature only and add it to the linky. (Please make sure to add your direct post only) If you are an author, feel free just to link to your blog. Once you are done, then hop around to visit others. Please follow the co-host and visit at least the one or two people above your link. Please leave a comment when you do visit, we all like those.

Also, it would be appreciated if you grab the Kid Lit Blog Hop Badge and display it on your blog and/or your post. Note: Make sure you have the newest badge as the old one goes to the wrong page.
We would also be grateful if you tweet and/or posted on Facebook about the blog hop. Let’s grow this wonderful community.

Thanks for sharing your great children's books with all of us! The hostess will be around to see you.

Happy Hopping!
BeachBoundBooks, co-hostess
                                                     Pragmatic Mom, co-hostess
The Logonauts, co-hostess
Spark and Pook, co-hostess


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

#Review: Octopuses One To Ten by Ellen Jackson/Illustrated by Robin Page #AtoZBlogChallenge #O


Dive into this fascinating counting journey through the amazing and mysterious world of octopuses.

Everyone knows octopuses have eight arms. But did you know that they have three hearts and nine brains? This intriguing exploration of octopuses goes through numbers one to ten, with a snappy rhyme and fascinating octopus facts for each number. 

My review:

At first, when I looked at the cover of this book, I thought it was a simple counting book. However, when I flipped through the pages, I realized I was wrong. This book is anything but a counting book.

The story line is written in poetry and features a large octopus. On the side, is further explanation of the octopus. Each number represents some aspect of the octopus. For example, the number, nine, is the number of brains. In a small corner, it shows how big a particular octopus would be compared to a human.

The last number counts down 10 of the different kinds of octopus there are. That to me was interesting as I never knew there were that many. Kids interested in aquatic animals will love the information.
Seriously, I was rather fascinated to find out all about the octopus.

Octopuses One to Ten includes in the back of the book some cool activities to do as a family as well as discussion questions.

You cannot go wrong with the book on your shelf for your interested readers. For that reason, I am giving the book an eight-armed 5 stars.

Disclosure: I obtained this book at my local library. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Review: Never Mail An Elephant by Mike Thaler/Illustrated by Jerry Smith #AtoZBlogChallenge #N

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but find out what happens when our young hero tries to mail an elephant to his cousin for her birthday.

My review:
I absolutely laughed out loud at the reading of this book, Never Mail An Elephant. The absurdity of mailing an elephant is enough, but the process the young character went through was hilarious!

The author and illustrator obviously worked closely together to make this an adorable book. The cartoonish illustrations worked perfectly together. I especially loved the look on the mailman's face and the elephant peeping out from the mailbox. What a hoot! Oh, and the stamps...the stamps! *laughs*

This is one of those books that emerging readers will enjoy reading over and over.  Children who cannot read will want the book read to them repeatedly as well.

Terrific book and 5 stars.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book for my own collection. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Monday, April 17, 2017

#Review: Museum Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Museum Archives by Steve Brezenoff #KidMysteries #Multicultural #AtoZBlogChallenge #M

When the plans for the prototype of a failed flying machine go missing from the Air and Space Museum's archives, Amal's father, the assistant archivist, is blamed. No one suspects a crime has been committed ― except Amal and her friends. With her father's job on the line, it's up to them to track down the missing plans. Can Amal and her friends get to the bottom of the museum mystery before it's too late?

My review:
Museum Mysteries: The Case of the Missing Archives is a truly fun elementary age chapter book.
I was interested in this book as I love museums and a good mystery too. Combine them together and this is what you have for this second book in a series. I only wished that I had read the first book. It is obvious that these series are stand alone books which give a mystery for each of four young sleuths. 

This time it is featuring Amal and her father's museum. The children seem to find a mystery without even trying. Learning to work as a team, use deduction, and figuring out steps is what this is all about. They work together well and solve the case. I liked that the book concluded with consequences for the person who did the crime and did not wrap the book up in a tidy bow.

The book is also about being friends and enjoying each other's differences even though they come from different cultural backgrounds. I loved that!

The few illustrations in the book enhanced the already good writing. Included in the back of the book are discussion questions, a glossary, and information on the Air and Space programs and museum.

Overall, a great little chapter book that I give 4 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Sunday, April 16, 2017

#Review: Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena #Multicultural #AtoZBlogChallenge #L

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share

My review:
Last Stop On Market Street is one of those beautiful books that seem to make a lasting impression. I immediately wanted to read this book over from my first reading. I wanted to catch those little tidbits that sometimes you miss from a first read.

I could relate having to ride a bus and wondering, like CJ, why I did not have another means and why I did not have certain things. However, the Grandmother in the book was very wise and saw things in such a different way that me, the reader, saw through her eyes too. The author made you feel like you were traveling along with them and participating in the environment. 

Nearing the end of the book, I felt saddened because it seemed like these two had circumstances beyond them. However, the twist was surprising and lovely too. Of course, I will not spoil it but only encourage you to purchase a copy for yourself.

The illustrations are bold and colorful. Again, I was immersed into the book because of the writing but the illustrations as well. They were real and I loved them!

This book is by far the 5 stars I will give it.  Don't believe me? Then let the awards this book one stand for its testament.

Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal
A 2016 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2015
Wall Street Journal Best Children's Book of 2015

Disclosure: I was gifted this book by a friend and was honored that she had the book signed for me by the author. This reader is grateful!
~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Friday, April 14, 2017

#Review: Katie Woo and Friends by Fran Manushkin #ChapterBooks #Multicultural #AtoZBlogChallenge #K

Katie Woo loves playing with her friends JoJo and Pedro. They do everything together, from losing teeth to looking for ghosts. Even when they argue, they always make up in the end. After all, there's nothing like a good friend.

Katie Woo and Friends Combines four previously published stories about Katie Woo and her friends, including Boss of the world, The tricky tooth, Goodbye to Goldie, and Katie goes camping.

My review:
This book is meant to be for an emerging reader. I would say probably late KG-2nd grade. It is a simple chapter book divided into individual stories. The book has large lettering which would help a child who may be struggling with reading.

The whole premise of the book is being friends, learning to be a good friend and accepting each other as they are. This is a cute read that highlights multicultural children. Although Katie Woo is the star in each chapter and how she relates to her friends, It was also fun to see each of the individual characters and how they related to one another.

I will caution parents who purchase this book for their children. There is one chapter in the book that deals with the death of a pet. The chapter is well done but it may be a sensitive subject for some children and may need pre or post discussion. However, the chapter does not take away anything from the book.

Look below for some activities that can be done with the reading of this book.

4 stars.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Activities to go along with this book (Need parent help):
1. The last four pages of the book offer two activities. Scrapbooking and Treats.
2. Set up a tent in your backyard and have a backyard camp out.
3. Take a photo of you and friends (make enough for everyone). Make a frame out of popcicle sticks and decorate it with markers, glitter, etc. Glue the photo to the back.
4. Get some pens, markers, and paper. Write a letter to the Tooth Fairy thanking her for leaving you something after taking your tooth. Draw pictures for her too.
4. Make friendship bracelets out of yarn for each of your friends.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#Review: (The) Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco #AtoZBlogChallenge #J #specialneeds

My summary:
When young Trisha finds out her class at the new school is known as "The Junkyard," she is devastated. She moved from her old town so she wouldn't be in a special class anymore! But then she meets her teacher, the quirky and invincible Mrs. Peterson, and her classmates, an oddly brilliant group of students each with his or her own unique talent. And it is here in The Junkyard that Trisha learns the true meaning of genius, and that this group of misfits are, in fact, wonders, all of them.

My review:
The Junkyard Wonders is a sweet tale about a group of kids who are tossed aside by society. They are nicknamed "The Junkyard Kids". They are bullied by the "normal" kids and seen as less.

Written in first person, each character is described in detail, first beginning with what makes them "special" but then what makes them superb! Together, along with an amazing teacher, who sees their potential, they rise together to become and do something great. Written within the pages is great parental support.

The characters come alive with colorful illustrations and show their mannerisms in a fun, pleasant way. I loved these kids and the talents that each had. There is a bit of sadness that happens about the middle of the book but that sadness fuels the children to continue on.

My favorite part of this book is the very last page. It tells what happens to each of these kids and what they go on to do. Oh, didn't I tell you? This book is based on a real live event that the author experienced. Yes, she was one of the kids!

This is well worth reading and should be on book shelves everywhere.

5 stars.

Disclosure: I obtained a copy of this book from my local library. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

#Review and #Giveaway: Initiation by Kirstin Pulioff #MiddleGrade #AtoZBlogChallenge #I

Tommy feels lost after his father’s death. To make matters worse, his mom moves him to a new town where he doesn't have any friends, and he quickly becomes a punching bag for the school bully. He can’t win. So, when a mysterious visitor approaches him with the promise of adventure, Tommy jumps at the opportunity.

Whisked away to a school in the sky where magic rules and storms are forged by an elite group of Sky Raiders, Tommy learns that the world’s problems are much larger than his own.

When the weather spirals out of control and a rogue Raider’s diabolical plans surface, Tommy must decide" how much he is willing to risk to save the world.

My review:

This middle-grade book is just the kind of book I enjoy. It has a mysterious school and twisted plots. The characters are well developed. The story kind of reminded me of the beginning of "Harry Potter" meshed with "He-Man" and the "Wizard of Oz."

The only concern I have about this book is that it begins a bit slow.

 I do not mean to spoil but I can easily say that you will see very familiar characters.
The book boasts of heroes in the making but more importantly, the idea that friendship is everything. When friends stick together amazing things can be accomplished and that is exactly what happens.

4 stars.

Disclosure: I received a PDF copy of this book to review. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. This review is also part of the Beach Bound Tours, of which I am a part of.

Where to find the author:

Facebook    Goodreads     Amazon

I am not responsible for this giveaway. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: How to Catch an Elf by Adam Wallace & Andy Ellerton, Illustrator #AtoZBlogChallenge #Christmas #H

You've been waiting all year long, and now it's finally Christmas Eve! Is this the year you'll finally catch an elf? 

My review:
Have you ever wondered who is Santa's right-hand elf? Well, I have! This book, How To Catch An Elf explains that the elf from,"Elf on a Shelf" fame is not the one. Nope, this elf helps Santa not get caught by taking out traps set up by kids.

I loved this book. It is illustrated in a cartoonish and whimsical style. The elf looks like your everyday kid but with well-known elf clothing and ears. He is humorous and the trouble he gets into is just plain fun!

The poetry is well done and it is obvious that the author and illustrator worked closely together to come up with a top notch children's book.  You will want this one for your home. 5 stars!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Review: Gwynne, Fair & Shining by Stephanie Lisa Tara #AtoZBlogChallenge #G

Gwynne, Fair & Shining is a twenty-four-page children's book, written in verse, about a young girl who learns she is special and can be anything she wants to be.

My review:
Reading this story, I was a bit confused about where it was heading. The story starts out as a "Cinderella-esq" type of girl and moves from there. There are fantasy and music with fun but the story simply did not flow well. Also, the poetry came off as contrived. This was unfortunate.

I cannot say that I hate this book but I also cannot figure out how it is an award winner. However, the ending message that girls, in particular, can do anything they want is loud and clear.

The only thing I think may have helped it is the style of illustrations. The colors are muted but they are whimsy and fun as the intention of the whole book was meant to be.

Overall, I suppose I can give this book a 3-star review as it was simply okay in my mind.

Disclosure: I purchased a Kindle copy of this book. The review here is 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. aka Naila Moon

Friday, April 7, 2017

Review: Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan #Multicultural #AtoZblogchallenge #F #CorettaScottKingAwards #Newberry

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, and In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN’T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person’s life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess.

My review:
This has got to be one of the most compelling children's book I have ever read. The book starts off with hearing from the plantation owner and why she is going to sell. Then the meat of the book begins with the first person's name, age, and story, as well as how much that person is "worth" on opposite pages. The next spread tells of his/her dreams.

I have known, as is possible for me, about slavery and the injustice of it but when I saw a bill of sale, my mouth dropped. I am not talking about something that was made up by the author but a tangible bill of sale. Seeing this made it real and shows the lack of human compassion. Wow!

The eleven human beings in the book were real, the lived, and had no life but had dreams. This is where the author used his power of writing to create those dreams for people who could only hope for such a thing, a voice for the powerless. The author's pen gave them a life, a life they would not have had from the bill a sale.

Not only did the author give them their voice but he also created their looks. He is the one who illustrated the book with collage and painting of each person. These are all in browns, blacks, and beige tones. Their dreams are alive with color and hope.

That was the whole purpose of the book. To make these people human in the eyes of the reader. He accomplished his goals and then some. 

This book should be in every library and classroom. If I could, I would give this book much more than the 5 stars I can only give.

If you are not convinced by my review, the book has won the following:
Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

Disclosure: I obtained a copy of this book from my local library. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from your opinions. ~M.M. Hudson

Thursday, April 6, 2017

(This Little) Explorer by Joan Holub #boardbooks #toddlers #AtoZblogchallenge #E

Learn all about the most influential explorers who searched the world far and wide in this engaging and colorful board book perfect for pioneers-in-training!

Little explorers discover a great big world. 

The youngest adventurers can learn about the greatest explorers in history with this bright and playful board book. Highlighting ten memorable pioneers, parents and young discoverers alike will love sharing this fun historical primer full of age-appropriate facts and bold illustrations

My review:
I have read and reviewed many of Joan Holub's books. I admittedly am a huge fan and cannot get enough of her writings. This book is the second in her new series of board books for toddlers.
My grandson loved her first book and I know he is going to love this one too.

The author writes in poetry about  a certain explorer on the left side of the page, she names him or her, and then explains what they did for exploration. On the right side she explains further what the explorer was famous for. One of my favorites is Amelia Earhart. Another would be Neil Armstrong.
The writing style is perfection which only Joan Holub could do.

All of the explorers are made in cartoonish kind of style which would be quite appealing to a toddler. A couple of them made me chuckle because they reminded me of "Kenny" fame.
The colors are mainly in primary colors  with only slight variation which no doubt intentional. The book is chunky and stiff, perfect for a toddler's hand. This illustrator has a winner here.

Great as always. I cannot wait to give this 5 star book to my grandchild!

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for free. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~M.M. Hudson aka Naila Moon