Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review: Subway Ride

Whether you live in a city with a subway system or are planning a trip with a child to a city where there is a subway system, Subway Ride by Heather Lynn Miller and illustrated by Sue Rama is a must read.

The author's perspective is that riding subways is a great adventure whether in your own country or in one of the 10 international cities that are featured in the book. Whether you're traveling in Cairo or London, Chicago or Mexico City, the similarities between subway systems are evident making the people who ride them seem familiar too. In this way, subways are an important part of each community and link communities together.

Fun facts about each of the subway systems are included in the back such as the longest escalator in the Western hemisphere is located in the Washington, D.C. metro at the Wheaton Station. It climbs 230 feet from the tracks to the street.

Don't forget to enter the I SPY Prize Package Giveaway. You can enter here until July 4th.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Enter the I Spy From A to Z Book & Prize Package Giveaway

The I Spy book series has provided many hours of entertainment for young children over the years. The A to Z collection is a representative set of some of the previous I Spy books. Here is a wonderful array of still life photographs jam-packed with kid-focused objects that will delight the young in all of us. The 46 treasure-hunting photos are accompanied by easy-to-learn rhyming couplets, each of which details specific items to find in the photographs. Of course, there are plenty of other items in the photos to spark conversation.

In the introduction, author Jean Marzollo provides coaching for parents and teachers on how the book helps develop pre-reading skills. Some of Walter Wick's photos picture scenes that are as carefully staged as any movie set while others are a fabulous montage of objects old and new. This book is sure to become one of the most loved in any child's library. Be sure to check out the official I Spy website!

Now for the Prize Giveaway!

One Grand Prize Package: ($86 value)
  • Wii Video Game "Ultimate I SPY"
  • Board Game - "I SPY Memory Game"
  • I SPY A to Z: A Book of Picture Riddles
  • I SPY Treasure Hunt - one more great book adventure!
Four Runners Up will each receive one copy of this book - "I SPY A to Z: A Book of Picture Riddles

So, How to Enter for the Giveaway? So simple. Leave a comment here to enter. Be sure to include a way to get in touch with you in case you win. Contest is only open until July 4th so be sure to enter right now!

Sorry, but only continental U.S. readers are eligible.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Series - Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

What better place to set a modern story of an historic and epic battle between good and evil than in Las Vegas. It is hard to imagine that there could be a better backdrop for a family of real magicians than the Winter Palace Hotel and Casino where the family's lead magician, Damian, is starring in the greatest magic show on earth.

These descendants of Russian royalty are quite at home in the Winter Palace complete with snow, onion domes, horses, bears and tigers. Secret floors and vaults are available only to the family but like most Las Vegas hotels, the lobby is still a casino and Damian stars nightly in the Winter Palace theater.

Author Erica Kirov comes by her Russian history honestly. Although not from a family of magicians, she is of Russian descent and grew up hearing about life in Russia including stories of what life was like before the Bolshevik revolution. The arch villain in this story is the same Rasputin who betrayed the last Russian tsar and his family.

Our hero, Nick Rostove, and his cousin Isabella are being trained for Damian's show while also learning magic from the family practioners. Rasputin is after Nick believing that Nick knows the secret of the Eternal Hourglass that was rendered unusable by Nick's mother before she died.

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass
is the first installment in what promises to be a terrific series. What do you get when you mix an interesting array of characters with a shared history battling the forces of good and evil in the magical playground of Las Vegas? A rollicking good story, that's what. This middle-grade adventure is fun to read alone, but it would also be a terrific read-aloud.

Check here, here and here to see what other reviewers are saying about Magickeepers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Grandmother, Have the Angels Come?

Author Denise Vega and illustrator Erin Eitter Kono have created a fabulous story in Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? Highlighting the special relationship between the very old and very young, this is a joyful meditation on growing old as seen through the eyes of a young girl.

Rich, vibrant and whimsical, the saturated color of the illustrations perfectly match the heartwarming and inspirational text. The story is written joyfully and reassures the granddaughter that her beloved grandmother will always be there to love and guide her.

Here is a sample:
Grandmother, Grandmother, have the angels come and bent your fingers?

Yes, my darling granddaughter.
They have bent my fingers
so I may hold your hand more tightly.

Will you hold me when I'm scared and feeling all alone?

Yes, my darling granddaughter.
I will hold you when you fly
and when you fall.

This special book will reassure youngsters that this special love will endure. This is a book to treasure. Check for other reviews here and here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Faith: A Global Fund for Children Book

This book is a visual feast of children in religions around the world as they pray, sing and participate in rituals. Faith by Maya Ajmera, Magda Nakassis and Cynthia Pon showcases the similarities between the world religions in sections such as:
  • We pray
  • We celebrate with festivals
  • We mark the important events of our lives
  • We respect others, making friends and building peace.
All three authors are associated with the Global Fund for Children. The group's mission is to advance the dignity of children and youth around the world by making small grants to groups working with the world's most vulnerable children. Read more here.

Full of delightful, engaging children, the books clearly demonstrates that people of the world are more similar than different. The book can be used as a teaching tool or just to share with your favorite young reader. Globalization in the 21st century is pushing the countries of the world closer together. This book is a good way to introduce youngsters to their future as global citizens who care for and respect the differences of others. Kudos to Charlesbridge publishing and the Global Fund for Children.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Video - Book:The Sequel

How odd is it, that my 100th post is a video about a book?

This video features an interesting project that culminated at last week's BEA in New York. A month ago, this team sent out a request for an opening line from an imagined sequel to any book ever written. They received more than 780 entries which they did not review until Thursday last week. Over the next 48 hours, the team "crashed" a book - they assessed, edited, designed, printed, bound and delivered copies to their BEA booth. In addition to the printed edition, the book also simultaneously appeared in formats for the iPhone, Kindle and Sony Reader as well as large type, braille and audio.

That's a stunning display of technical virtuosity as well as savvy promotion as they filmed multiple videos of the process which can be viewed here.

I think I'll order it!