The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland

February 28, 2017

fabulous-friendFrom the publisher, Scholastic : “When Popcorn, the friendliest chicken at Fiddlesticks Farm, finds a forgotten smartphone in the barn, she sets about making some brand new friends. Soon she is so busy sending messages to them that she begins to forget her old friends. “

The Fabulous Friend Machine [2017] by author Nick Bland is a cautionary tale about the hazards of the use of technology, specifically social media. In simple direct language and brilliant illustrations, the reader follows how Popcorn’s outgoing nature becomes affected by the discovery of a smartphone. Popcorn quickly becomes addicted to her device, all the while ignoring  her friends on Fiddlesticks Farm.

From an adult standpoint, this tale reveals how one must set an example/role model for little ones in the use/abuse of technology.

Nick Bland’s Read the rest of this entry »

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Mouse Vacation by Philip Roy

October 26, 2016

mouse-vacation-cover_final-286x300Mouse Vacation by Philip Roy and illustrated by Andrea Torrey Balsara is the fourth book in the Happy the Pocket Mouse Series.

Happy dreams of taking a holiday like his neighbour Mrs. Farrell. When he approaches his human friend John, about his ideas, John and Happy’s ensuing conversation will take the reader on a journey that covers many areas on the globe.

The soft watercolour closeup illustrations of Happy throughout this tale of the Pocket Mouse, expertly captures and mirrors the expressions that often young children convey when having similar conversations with an adult.  The lists that Happy and John compile reveal the difference each character has about taking a vacation. Happy’s  trips are all to farway places, whereas John’s rational for his choices are made from a more humble origin.

Eventually, a compromise is reached by both, which has Happy and John taking a journey via an overnight bus trip to the seashore.

At 32 pages, the expressive illustrations highly compliment the text and allow the reader to become fully engaged with Happy and John’s tale.

Although the story is simple in the telling, I found that Happy’s big ideas of ‘taking a vacation’ is an original way of introducing  world cultures, places and maps and engage young children! A great curriculum connection for primary children!

 

Highly Recommended! FIVE STARS!

 

[Book supplied by Ronsdale Press in exchange for an honest review]


The Rule of 3 by Eric Walters [ a brilliant new Dystopian novel!]

February 24, 2014

RULE-OF-THREE

  The Rule of Three3  by Eric Walters

  published by razorbill/Penguin Canada ; 404p. ; c2014

It was the dramatic boldly coloured cover of Walter’s latest book, The Rule of Three3, that captured and intrigued me from the start.

In no time, I became completely absorbed by this realistic and disturbing premise and by my own simultaneously personal question of, ‘what if ” this situation really occurred?’  Could this be a possible outcome to humanity – a dramatic reaction to a shocking ‘global viral catastrophe’?

This thought alone, made me want to halt my reading. But it was these same disturbing thoughts that compelled me to continue. Though the story feels almost science fiction-like, one only has to think back to recent global weather events that resulted in similar scenarios.

One quickly realizes that the veneer of civility is shed, if one is without all the computerized driven technologies that have become such an integral part of today’s society.

Through the eyes of sixteen year old Adam, we witness the fear of a seemingly local (innocent) power loss, escalate as the days increase without resolution, to an atmosphere of disorder, feuding, vandalism and desperation. As more time elapses, Adam and his family … with the help of a astute neighbour…try to combat the ever violent disorder and chaos surrounding their suburban neighbourhood into something more orderly…a necessity for survival.

Unfortunately what once was the norm, now has to be re-thought , a mentality, that not all can conform to.

Sacrifice and survival become the key, if any shred of what civil end humanity is to be retained.

This is a strong read, that will challenge the reader to think beyond the box!

Truly a  story of  “what ifs”!

Highly recommended!!

For Intermediate and Senior students


The Fallen (and Leviathan) by Thomas E. Sniegoski

August 5, 2010

The stark simplicity of the black and white photo and the singular title is what captured my attention as I scanned the book racks looking for another interesting read….a quest for redemption and a mystery… to me this became an irresistable combination and a must have read!  I was NOT to be disappointed!!

The Fallen 1 and Leviathan are the  first two books in a four- book series by author Thomas Sniegoski.

Usually I am a little leary of books that have angels in the forefront….but this author truly surprised me !   The angels in these series of four books are like no angels that I had ever read about.   Angel mythology and prophecies…and very potent combination in my opinion!    

As an onlooker you see how over time human vices such as jealousy, prejudice, indecision, anger impact upon the ‘Fallen Angels’ and this then sets the stage for conflict and possible resolution. 

Orphaned since birth, Aaron Corbet has finely found a measure of security with the Stanleys and their autistic son Stevie.    Aaron has just turned 18 and is plagued by intense, vivid and often violent dreams — that upon waking leave him disturbed and shaking.  It is the power of these unsettling dreams that have Aaron begin to question  his sanity and he tries to dismiss the heavy foreboding feelings that begin to plague him.  He wants to confide in someone, like Vilma the cute girl in his class, but his fears keep him silent.  He copes by working at his after school job, the  West Lynn Veterinary Hospital and talking to Gabriel, his attention craving yellow retriever. Then two  mysterious strangers approach him, telling him that he has a destiny like no one else…. that he is the chosen one …  the one that was prophesied  millenia ago…that his role will be as a liaison between angels, mortals, and Powers both good and evil ….  it is not a destiny that he wants and he fights to remain a normal teenager! 

 Sniegoski skillfully keeps this wonderful  plot moving by sprinkling great action scenes throughout.  I was really connecting with Aaron and Gabe and definately ‘boooing’ Verchiel, the angel that put himself incharge of hunting Aaron down.  I am very glad that I had the the two-in-one version of the book — and am almost finished with the second two-in-one “ The Fallen 2 : Aerie and Reckoning “!   

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants  to read about angels in another light… so to speak!!

Author Wedsitehttp://www.sniegoski.com/fallen/

Added Reviews and discussions:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7171880-the-fallen-2


Journey to Atlantis by Philip Roy

June 9, 2010

 Philip Roy’s newest adventure ” Journey to Alantis” once again stars that intrepid trio that I fell in love with in his debut novel “Submarine Outlaw”.  Alfred (captain of the submarine), first mate Seaweed the Seagull, and canine companion extraordinare Hollie, sail into another fantastic adventure on his improved homemade submarine,  this time attempting an Atlantic crossing inorder to locate the fabled city of Atlantis!  Along the way, Al dispays  courage, determination and humour as he encounters  the Coast Guard, pirates in the Meditterean, old World War Two sea mines, and a camel in the Sahara of North Africa.

I was not disappointed in this rollicking high-sea adventure. Roy has skillfully blended the mythology and legends of ancient civilizations with geographical accuracy so that a reader could actually plot out Albert’s voyage on a map! Highly recommend it  even for  the reluctant reader!

River Odyssey, the third in the Submarine Outlaw series, coming fall 2010! ( by Ronsdale Press)

  • August 2009
  • ISBN: 978-1-55380-076-7  ; 224 pp
  • Reading ability : Grade 5 to 8

    Who would like this book?  Anyone who dares to dream and follow their imagination and loves to explore the world!

    Teacher/Curriculum Connections: ” Journey to Atlantis would be useful in the classroom, especially when read along with a geography or social studies unit on modern ocean travel, the Mediterranean area, or ancient Minoan society.”  by Karen Taylor, CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009


    Submarine Outlaw by Philip Roy

    June 8, 2010

    Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:   Z      Grade Level:   5-7  

    Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure

      Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre

    Red Maple Nominee 2010 , 251 pp.

    ____________________________________________________________

    “Fourteen year old Al changes his destiny by following his dream to become an explorer. Al’s journey begins off the rugged coast of Newfoundland in his handmade submarine. As he travels through east coast waters he rescues a family of four, finds a lost treasure, eludes the coast guard and the navy, befriends a seagull and an abandoned dog, meets a “queen” of the sea, and saves a lost boy. Al’s nautical adventures make him a celebrity but his ability to evade the police makes him an outlaw.”

    http://accessola.com/forest2010/redmaple/rm8/about.php

    Review by Karen:

    Meet Alfred — a fourteen year old boy who steadfastly refuses to follow in the family tradition of going to sea as a fisherman. However a chance glance through a hole in the local junkyard fence sparks Albert’s imagination and lights the flame of adventure and exploration.  Unexpected friendships, responsibilities and self discovery  all become a part of Alfred’s own journey “out to sea”. 

    Highly recommended !!

    Theme:  Self-discovery; Adventure; Friendship

    Teacher / Curriculum Connections: Canadian Geography /History (Eastern Maritime History) 

    Author link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmmb3UO6TwA&feature=related


    The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

    February 4, 2010

     

      

    Summary: 

    This book tells the story of a young German boy, Bruno, who moves with his family during the Second World War.  The father is in charge of running a concentration camp, a fact that is obvious to the reader but one that the naïve young narrator is oblivious to.  The story deals with the family as they live within the walls of the camp, trying to maintain a normal life but failing dismally.  A friendship is struck between one of the young Jewish prisoners and the son of the camp commandant, this friendship carries the story to its startling conclusion.  The story has several twists and turns and a very effective ending.  This is one of my favourite intermediate books! 

    Reading Ability:  intermediate level (themes and material) 

    Genre: Historical fiction
    Theme:  Determination, War, Friendship, Holocaust 

    Who would love this book? 

    -those interested in the Second World War 

    Related Links: 

    Movie Link   http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914798/ 

    You tube connections