Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Halloween Hustle by Charolette Gunnufson #review #CountdowntoHalloween2020


In the dark, a funky beat. Something white with bony feet. Skeleton dancing up the street, Doing the Halloween Hustle. Skeleton is dancing his way to a Halloween party—but as he grooves across town, he keeps stumbling, tumbling, and falling apart! Can Skeleton stay in one piece long enough to make it to the party?

My review: 

This is a cute beginning reader picture book that rhymes.  Skeleton being the main character is invited to a ghostly dance that gets his toes a tapping. Along the way, he picks up some ghoulish friends. He unfortunately has a few mishaps on the way.

I could not help but smile while reading this book. Even though skeleton had some seemingly awful things happen to him, he picked himself up, put himself together (literally) in fun ways  and kept on moving. Skeleton has a positive outlook on life and is part of the whole point of the story. He also just knows how to make some friends.

I just know, that kids will want to read this one over and over and most likely want to dance to their own party too.

5 pumpkins!

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

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Retold by Cyril Bavis #CountdowntoHalloween2020


Have you ever wished that instead of having to do your chores all by yourself that someone--or something-would help you get them done faster? That's exactly the way the sorcerer's apprentice felt one day when the sorcerer left him all alone to clean the castle--so he tried to do some magic of his own, and ended up in a bubbly mess! Ultimately the young apprentice finds that passion and hard work, tempered with patience and discipline, can make the most magical dreams come true.

My review:

Have you ever been stuck doing household chores day after day? We all have at some point or another. This is what happens to the apprentice, Tiernan, who has been selected to work for the greatest sorcerer of all. Before long he gets bored with this and decides to use magic, that is when everything goes wrong!

I am familiar with this story but for me, this one was cut short. true, it was made for a read before bed but even at that, I thought it could have been longer...think Mickey Mouse shorts...there was so much more of the tale that could have been added.

I did like the illustrations. The book was obviously made with a picture book in mind. The pictures were in your face bold! They made you feel like you, the reader, was right there in the midst of the story.

This classic tale is told as a series of 5 minute bedtime stories that certainly kids would love but for me, was a little bit of a miss. In any case, the story still gets 3 pumpkins and a witch's broom to clean up.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich: The Zombie Next Door by T.W. Kichner #Halloween #CountdowntoHalloween2020 #review


For the sleepy, seaside town of Vivian, life is usually just another day at the beach until a rash of bizarre robberies occur with one thing in common—the DNA lifted from the crime scene belongs to a dead man. Fourteen-year-old Goldie Rich is hardly concerned about that. She has enough problems dealing with her annoying guardian for the summer, older sister Gema.

Goldie’s problems escalate when she finds a pendant necklace washed up on the beach. The pendant contains the souls of zombies created by an evil sorcerer. Goldie must wear the necklace until she frees the souls, but to accomplish this, she has to confront the zombies face to face.

Goldie seeks help from her best friend, eccentric and free-spirited Rita. Although the pair’s zombie hunting exploits get them into huge trouble, they uncover the truth about the town’s robberies and how the secrets of Goldie’s past will define her future.

My review:

Sometimes, I receive a book that takes me a little bit to read. This happened to be one of those books. It is not because I didn't like the book, it is just it took a bit to get to the heart and true meat of the story.

Goldie is stuck with her sister for the Summer and is nothing less than a precocious teen with with a penchant for trouble. To make matters worse, she has zombies after her.

This story is more than just zombies, this is a story about family and friend dynamics and who has your back. Goldie finds out but it takes those twists and turns to get there.

I was disappointed to find out this was only book one. Once the book got going for me it seemed to have abruptly ended and I wanted to find out what was going to happen next.

In any case, a pretty decent book for the middle grade readers.

3 1/2 stars.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

About the author:

T. W. Kirchner


T.W. Kirchner likes to write action-packed books that inspire children to read--especially boys. The Pirates Off series have male protagonists as does the YA supernatural/horror Dagger & Brimstone: Town from Hell. The Troubled Souls of Goldie Rich series features many supporting male characters who join in to help the main protagonist Goldie fight against the evil Bokor and his zombies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Review: What If? by Fran Lewis


What if? by Fran Lewis




With the pandemic that never seems to be leaving us anytime soon I’ve created worlds that might make you pause for thought. Dark stories told by the characters as they experienced their journeys into worlds that you might not want to live in a hopefully be happy in the one you’re in.

Book Details:

Genre: Time Travel/ Sci Fi
Published by: Fidelli
Publication Date: July 8, 2020
Number of Pages: 78
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

My review:
I read the book in one sitting. This short book has six stories in it and one poem that made this reader sit back and go "whoa." Each was as thought provoking as the next and played into fears that the common person might have, especially this year of 2020.

The particular story "Confined" is the one that everyone could relate to right now with the whole virus thing going on. All of the stories though, make me question every decision I make as it will you too when you ask...what if?

4 stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.
Fran Lewis

Author Bio:

Fran Lewis is a reviewer, talk show host, mj network, reading and writing staff developer. She was the administrative assistant to the Principal and created original programs for students after school. She was the music director and created musical festivals along with other staff members. She’s a member of Marquis Who’s Who, Continental Who’s who and who’s who of America’s professionals and educators.

Catch Up With Fran Lewis On:
Website,  & Facebook

Thursday, October 8, 2020

What Were the Salem Witch Trials? by Joan Holub #Halloween #PenguinHouseBooks


Something wicked was brewing in the small town of Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. It started when two girls, Betty Parris and Abigail Williams, began having hysterical fits. Soon after, other local girls claimed they were being pricked with pins. With no scientific explanation available, the residents of Salem came to one conclusion: it was witchcraft! Over the next year and a half, nineteen people were convicted of witchcraft and hanged while more languished in prison as hysteria swept the colony.

My review:

I have read a few of the "What were... or Who Is..." series of books. They are always concise and informative. Usually they are aimed at grades 3-7. This one is no different with the exception of who the author is. All of the authors are different for each book. Joan Holub has written a few including this one.

I knew a little about the Salem Witch Trials but as usual with these books, I found out a little more. For example, I thought all of the "witches" were burned at the stake in Salem. Actually, they were not but hung, which doesn't make the atrocity any better but just different than I knew. I also did not know it wasn't until 2001...YES, 2001, that all the victims were vindicated. Amazing!

The book was extremely thorough in how the accusing began, how it spread, and how it eventually ended. Photos and drawings were included to support the information. All of it was interesting and somewhat of an eye opener. I would caution to have conversations especially with younger children about some topics that may be frightening.

Terrific book and gets 5 pumpkins!


I received a copy of this book from the author. The reviews here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Best Halloween Hunt Ever by John Speirs #Halloween #Mazes #Scholasticbooks


 Who will win the Halloween hunt? Sara, Roy, Tina, John, and Alexis are making masks, buying pumpkins, and searching all over the neighborhood for treats! 

My review:

This cute little Halloween book is all about the fun side of Halloween. Each two-page spread features a different place where the little trick-or-treaters go to have a good Halloween time. On the left-hand side of the page tells what each character sees and invites the reader to find them and find the bats as well.

This book is for kids who love the "I Spy" series of books. Readers will certainly have fun looking for everything and discussing other things they might see. How fun!  Just in case, in the back of the book, it gives answers to all of the different pages and tells how many bats can be found on each page. Too add to the fun, the book comes with stickers to use.

This is a Halloween winner for me. 5 pumpkins!

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Golem by David Wisniewski #folklore


Some four hundred years ago, according to Jewish legend, a revered Jewish teacher and scholar, Rabbi Loew, shaped a giant man out of clay--a golem--and brought him to life. The golem's task was to vanquish those who persecuted the Jews of Prague, and he performed it almost too well.

Retold from traditional sources and accompanied by masterly cut paper illustrations, Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. It offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control.

My review:

Golem-an artificial human being in Hebrew folklore endowed with life.

This is a folk lore story about a Rabbi who see evil and accusations among his people that is causing chaos. In order to stop this hatred, he creates a golem and is able to bring him to life. Supposedly only a high Rabbi can do this. Interesting to me that this smacks of being God-like.

The golem grown big and in height and fights for the Jewish people against their attackers. I found this to be almost opposite of what he was trying to do which was keep destruction down and yet here he creates something that does just that. What a confusing thing in my mind.

In the end, the golem wants to live and yet his "life" is not precious and it is taken away from him. In essences, he has no choice in the matter.

As I was reading this, I had two profound thoughts. The first being that author, Mary Shelley, probably knew of this story. Frankenstein's monster is certainly a golem-esq creature and her story is very similar to the "Golem" legend.

 My second thought was this is an awfully scary story for a child too young for it. The intensity of the book was almost too much for me. Added the amazing pictures cut from paper, this book, however, does work for me in the Halloween category of which, I am sure that it was not meant to be.

This is a Caldecott winner book and i can see that from the art work but from a story line, not so much. I can only give this one 3 pumpkins.

Disclosure: I purchased this book for my own collections. The views here are 100% my own and may differ from yours. ~Michelle

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Oh Susannah: Things That Go Bump: An Oh Susannah Story by Carole P. Roman #scared #CarolePRomanBooks



Susannah Maya Logan is not having a good day. She doesn't want to go to her best friend, Lola's sleepover. Susannah thinks the house is big and spooky, not to mention the ghost that is said to live there. Lola's big brother, Kai, loves to tease Susannah with scary stories.

Throughout her day, she sees people deal with things that scare them. Her sight-impaired friend, Macy, is terrified of unicorns, of all things. She sees a boy at a party who's frightened of clowns. Her teacher is afraid of getting a cold. Susannah realizes everybody is scared of something. She wishes she was more like Lola, who is not afraid of anything, or so it seems.

Susannah discovers people have different ideas of what is scary and what is not, and only they can determine the difference.

Join Susannah as she learns to confront her fears and not let her imagination prevent her from having fun.

My review:

This is the second book in the "Oh, Susannah" series of books. In this book, Susannah has to come face to face with here fears of the dark, creaky houses, and ghost. She learns that no matter who you are or what your age, people have a fear of something. She learns that how you can overcome that fear is best for you so that you can move forward. Susannah also finds out that if you "fear" something it may not mean that you are really scared but using it as a term of something unknown.

I enjoyed reading this second book. I like that this series has continued on with topics that kids seem to face everyday and that it is simply okay to discuss them with adults to get through them. Although there were only a few fears addressed in this book, it pointed out that different people, kids and adults alike, do not always have the same fears.

The only thing I missed here is that the cover, although cute, did not seem to match the book itself. I kept this book to read and review in October because it seemed like it would be a slightly scarier book (and maybe how to deal with that) or at least about Halloween. I saw pumpkins and ghosts on the cover! The only connection to Halloween was it was mentioned off handedly and not even as one of the fears (except for ghosts). Hmm...? Maybe that was the intentioned thought process but in the end, got dropped.  In any case, not a deal breaker for me.

Overall, even with the above noted, I still have to give the book 5 pumpkins and a high 5 for all the characters who courageously faced their fears head on.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author. The views expressed here are 100% my own and may differ from yours.

Friday, October 2, 2020

A to Z Mysteries: The School Skeleton by Ron Roy #Halloween #Skeletons #KidMysteries #ScholasticBooks #bookextensions



S is for Skeleton . . . It’s a bona fide mystery at Dink’s school! Someone has stolen Mr. Bones, the skeleton from the nurse’s office. Soon mysterious clues start showing up all over the school. Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose must follow the clues and put those old bones to rest.

My review:

This book comes from a series of A-Z kid mysteries written by Ron Roy. This book takes on the letter "s" in a fun and clever way. 

Mr. Dillon calls a school assembly at the Elementary school where clever kids, Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose go to school. He announces that the school nurse skeleton is missing. The class that finds it will win a trip to the local aquarium. What a deal! 

These clever young sleuths use simple math skills, deduction, and reasoning to look for the missing skeleton. When other classes start finding clues as well, the three have to step up their game or become at risk for losing the coveted prize.

But who could it possibly be and why take it to begin with? Ah, see now, my dear readers to read the book you will indeed find out.

I enjoyed  taking on this little mystery and even though I thought I knew, I wasn't anymore sure than the characters in the book. What fun little twists to be had!  

This book is aimed at third graders but younger and even a little older would enjoy this mystery too. All genders of children would love this as well.

If you have a little detective running around then this is surely the book for them. 

NOTE: An extension to this book is set up your own mystery to be solved complete with clues. You could even copy the mystery here and follow the book to help find and figure out clues.  Another idea: after reading the book, engage in playing the clue game.

This book is getting 5 pumpkins from me.

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