Saturday, May 27, 2017

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chao. Vivian Vande Velde. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. 2011. Holiday House. 68 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Being a squirrel is the best thing in the world.

Premise/plot: One day a squirrel named Twitch ends up INSIDE the school. How? Why? Well, Twitch was seeking to outrun an OWL and a dog. Twitch had until then only been acquainted with the school pets through the windows. Now, he finds himself in need of a lot of FRIENDS and ADVICE. Why? Well, the dog--the principal's dog--follows him INSIDE as well. (The owl doesn't!!!) Soon, both are trapped by the closed doors. The dog remains in pursuit of the squirrel; the squirrel has to be quick, quick, quick. The end result is a LOT of laughs. Each chapter is narrated by a different animal.

My thoughts: This one was so much fun. I didn't expect it to be so FUNNY and enjoyable. I think the alternating narrators makes this one even better than it could have been. Almost every chapter has something worth quoting--worth sharing--to draw in reluctant readers. I think this would be a great read-aloud in the classroom.

For example,
A squirrel mother teaches her young all they need to know by the end of summer, but human children spend five years in School. Five years is long enough for a squirrel to grow very, very old, so it's a good thing we're faster learners. And the humans aren't even truly finished in five years!
Ms. Walters never talks about being in first grade, so I think she may have skipped first grade, too. But she does talk about last year's second grade class. I'm smart enough to know that means Ms. Walters was kept back. But I am polite enough not to mention it.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Friday, May 26, 2017

Say Hello to Zorro

Say Hello to Zorro! Carter Goodrich. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mister Bud had it pretty good. Everything was just right. He had his own house. His own bed. His own toys. His own dish. But most of all...he had his own schedule. And everybody stuck to the schedule.

Premise/plot: Mister Bud is a dog who likes things his own way. This book is about when a new dog, Zorro, comes. Everything changes, but, are the changes for the better or for the worse? Will Zorro and Mister Bud get along?!

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I loved the schedule bits! I really liked how these two resolved things! Definitely recommended for dog lovers of all ages.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pig the Pug

Pig the Pug. Aaron Blabey. 2014. Scholastic. 24 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Pig was a pug and I'm sorry to say, he was greedy and selfish in most every way.

Premise/plot: Pig is a selfish, greedy dog who often gets REALLY, REALLY, REALLY upset with the other dog of the house, Trevor. Trevor seems to be a happy-get-along-with-everybody dog. Essentially, Trevor and Pig are complete opposites. One day his selfishness leads him into big trouble....

My thoughts: I didn't like this one very much. The rhyming worked for me for the most part. But the story itself was just okay, in my opinion. While Pig got exactly what he deserved, I just wasn't charmed overall.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 5 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Harry by the Sea

Harry by the Sea. Gene Zion. Illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. 1976. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Harry was a white dog with black spots who liked everything about the seashore, except...the hot sun.

Premise/plot: Harry gets too hot at the beach, and, while looking for some shade, accidentally gets swept out to sea. The good news is he makes it back to shore. The bad news? He's covered in seaweed and EVERYONE mistakes him for a sea monster. Can this misunderstanding be cleared up before he's captured? Will he be reunited with his family?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I'd read other books in the series. But we did not have Harry By the Sea in our home library. I had no idea this one existed until I spotted it at the library. (I might have squealed a bit.) It was a very fun book.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand (May)


The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.
Reformation Heritage Study Bible--KJV. Edited by  Joel R. Beeke, Gerald Bilkes, and Michael Barrett. 2014. Reformation Heritage Books. 2218 pages. [Source: Birthday Gift in 2014]

Ginger is helping me out once again in introducing my newest Bible reading project. This is my fourth Bible to select as project this year. I am LOVING it.

Basic Christianity. John Stott. 1958. 179 pages. [Source: Bought]

This is one of the books I read while drinking tea. I am making good and steady progress, so I'm hoping to finish it this week. 

Dawn's Early Light. Elswyth Thane. 1934/2017. Chicago Review Press. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I am really excited to start this series. I've only read the last in the series (Williamsburg is the name of the series), and that was in high school--twenty-something years ago. (It was the only one in the series the school library had.)

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA. Bridget Heos. 2016. 263 pages. [Source: Library]

 Each chapter tackles a different element or aspect of forensic science. Within each chapter there are dozens of true crime stories--mostly historical, but some contemporary. I am finding it fascinating!

The Portrait of a Lady. Henry James. 1881. 640 pages. [Source: Bought]

 It had me at hello. Literally.
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
 44 Scotland Street. Alexander McCall Smith. 2005. 325 pages. [Source: Library]

Started this last night. I am really enjoying it so far.

An Exposition of Psalm 119. Thomas Manton. 2025 pages. [Source: Bought]

Still enjoying this one. I have slowed down some, I admit. But I have every intention of finishing this one this year.

Matthew: All Authority in Heaven and On Earth. Douglas Sean O'Donnell. 2013. 1090 pages. [Source: Bought]
 This is a Bible commentary, and I'm to the part where he's explaining Matthew 25. So maybe I'll finish early-to-mid June!





© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Read more...

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP