Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Great Kapok Tree

The Great Kapok Tree, A Tale of the Amazon Rain Forest, by Lynne Cherry, is very educational. It takes you right to the middle of the rain forest, the pictures are so detailed.

This book is about a man who comes to the forest to chop down a great Kapok tree. But after he takes a few whacks with his ax, he falls asleep. And all the animals, including a kid from a rain forest tribe, give him reasons why he should not cut down the tree. The reasons are good ones.

In first grade my class did a rain forest play based on this one book. Each of us was a different animal, and we added animals that weren't even in the book, like a harpy eagle (my character).

I would give this book an age rating of 3 and up as a read aloud. Hope you like it!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Three Pigs (a non fairy tale book)

The Three Pigs, by David Wiesner, is very, very funny. It starts out as the fairy tale of the three little pigs, but it turns into a quest between fairy tales and books. The three pigs get blown out of their story into a place where there is nothing but pages of stories. First they make a paper airplane out of one of their own pages--showing the wolf knocking on the door. And there is a very funny page where you can only see the pigs' bums (bottoms). Then they visit Old Mother Goose's hey diddle diddle (where they turn hideously childlike) and the cat follows them out. Next they visit a dragon, guarding a rose of pure gold, and they help the dragon escape from a knight. At last they all, pigs, dragon and cat, go back to the pigs' story and write their own ending...

This book is for ages 3 and up.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Calvin and Hobbs

Calvin and Hobbes was a newspaper cartoon series in the 1980s by Bill Watterson. It was a big hit. It was made into books which are very very good and you can still get them today.

The adventures of Calvin, the boy, and Hobbes, his tiger, are very funny (many funny things happen, but there is no bathroom humor, which is a good thing). Once I played Calvinball with my friends at school--it's a game where you make up the rules as you go along. And I've played destruction games like Calvin's.

Some of the stories are for teenagers or adults, but kids can still read this.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Arrival

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan, is, like Polo (see below), has no words. But it doesn't need them. This book is very very very creative. The pictures are black and white, and there are lots of them because it is a graphic novel (c0mic book). It takes place starting in our world, but it's not quite our world. The fist thing that is strange are the dragon-like tails, sweeping across the city. There's a father, a mother, and a girl, and the father goes across an ocean to a weird and wonderful city. He finds his room, and gets an animal companion(see cover)--sort of like a head with a tail and legs. Eventually, the mother and the girl join him, while in the real world there are giant aliens sucking up the people. More strange things happen. At the end, the family stays in the strange city, and the girl finds a friend.

I recommend this book for ages 7 and up (my brother says he understands it even though he is five but my mother doesn't).

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Polo by RĂ©gis Faller (2006) has no words (except sound effects), but it doesn't need them (it was written by a Frenchman). The pictures tell you what's happening. It's a great way to show how you can say things without using words. Polo is a dog who travels to imaginary places. All the places Polo visits have things that don't happen in real life, like an elevator built inside a tree, a boat made of ice, or an underground country of giant blue mushrooms. I recommend this book for ages 3 and up.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Mammoth Academy, by Neil Layton, is a chapter book that I nominated for the Cybils in the Middle Grade Reader category because I liked it so much. It is about two mammoths, Oscar and Arabella, who go to a school called Mammoth Academy to learn all the sorts of things we people learn in our schools. There are creatures that aren't mammoths too, like a cave cat, an owl, and a fox. All of the creatures at the academy get along with mammoths. They have very cool adventures, especially Fox and Oscar, like going up a steep mountain and finding a human cave school (humans were very dumb at that time!).

I love the black and white illustrations, and there are lots of them!

This book is an easy reader, but it has too many pages to count in that category the Cybils! It has ten chapters and 149 pages (this is the UK version). This books is for ages 6 and up.

Here's another review, at Jen Robinson's Book Page.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Beowulf, by Stefan Petrucha and Rod Chamberlain (2007), is a graphic novel (comic book) about a Saxon myth. The cover says it is about "the world's first-and greatest-hero," Beowulf, who went to the greatest of mead halls (a large banquet house) and fought this evil swamp monster called Grendel. Then Grendel's mother came and killed people, so he went to the swamp where she lived and fought her at the bottom of the lake, in her temple. He was the first man to see the bottom.

What will he battle next? Read the book and find out.

I like this book because it is very cool. This book is for ages 6 and up. My brother likes it and he is only five.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Owly (by Andy Runton) is a comic, but not a usual comic. The speech bubbles don't have words, but pictograms. There are both comic books and regular books about Owly, as well as an Owly plush toy for $9.95, advertised on the back of one of the comics.

There is a range of different characters, from an Owl (Owly) and a Worm (we call him Wormy), to a raccoon who owns a plant store, and many other unnamed animal characters like birds and a flying squirrel.

The first Owly book made me cry. It was the first time I ever cried because of a book. Read it and find out why!

Here's another review, at Comics Worth Reading.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Baron Munchausen

The Baron Rides Out (illustrated by Patrick Benson) 1985, The Baron on the Island of Cheese (illustrated by Patrick Benson) 1986, The Baron all at Sea (illustrated by Patrick Benson) Walker, 1987, all by Adrian Mitchell.

The Baron Munchhausen series books belong to my father (and other people in the world), but still I like them. The Baron Munchhausen travels around the world, doing all these crazy things. Once his friend Robin said, "You can't go down Mount Etna in less than one hour. " So the Baron went on to Mount Etna, and went down probably in an hour, but it took him a couple of months to get back to where he was staying, because he was swallowed up by a ginormous fish, bigger than the whales, and there were loads of other ships. And that's just one of his adventures. You can read them in these three books, but I'm sure there are a lot more stories about him. I'm writing one called "The Baron Chills Out."

I really really like these books, because of all the whacky things that don't really happen. If you do not believe the Baron, he'll challenge you to a duel to the death on the 31st of February at the west gates to the Garden of Eden. I recommend these books for ages 7 to 99. Young readers can read with a parent, better readers can read alone. More superb illustrations by Patrick Benson; see HOB.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Dragonfable is like Adventure Quest, a on-line fantasy battle game (see my post on Adventure Quest). It's different because instead of just clicking buttons all over the place, your character walks around. You can buy weapons, battle monsters, and go on quest. Instead of going to Death when you lose a battle, it says "Defeat!" and you just go back to where you were. One of my friends played Dragonfable but somehow fell out of it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Stranger

The Stranger (written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, 1986) didn't immediately grab me, but still I liked it because it gave me something to think about and puzzle on. In the book, Farmer Bailey was driving along in his pickup truck. Suddenly, he heard a thump! He thought he had hit a deer. But it wasn't a deer, it was a man. A man who had lost his memory, or so they thought. The doctor took his temperature, and said he would remember his name and where he lived. When he left, he had forgotten his thermometer. Farmer Bailey's wife said," You've forgotten your thermometer!"
"It's broken," said the doctor, "All the mercury is stuck at the bottom." This is the first clue to the stranger's identity. The author never tells us anything about him, only that he is a stranger. There are other clues. When he was helping in the fields gathering hay, unlike Mr. Bailey, who had to rest, he never stopped, never sweated, and never rested. A couple of weeks later he was staring at the trees. He thought the trees at the farm were green and ugly, but all the other trees were regular fall trees. He picked a leaf, and blew on it. He was amazed when it turned red. That evening, they saw him in his old leather clothes and he ran away. When they went out, all the green trees had changed color.

So who is this mysterious stranger? Try and guess!

Friday, September 19, 2008


Weslandia, by Paul Fleichman, illustrated by Kevin Hawke, (1999). This book has a lot of things to do with nature in it--how people and nature coexist. But this book is fantasy, not non-fiction. A kid called Wesley did not like anything that the other boys in his neighborhood like. He didn't like pizza and soda (like me!) and he refused to shave the hair off half his head, like the other boys in the neighborhood, even for five dollars. One day he decided for his summer project he would make his own civilization from a staple crop. This staple crop he called "swist." The seeds came by a strong west wind, and grew taller than his house, and attracted animals galore. This plant had amazingly delicious fruits, as well as tubers on its roots. Wesley invented his own machines, and made the fibers into clothes. The other children used to chase him, but now they went to work for him, ten minutes a day at the grinding stone, grinding the seeds to make oil, and buying the oil that was good sunscreen and bug repellent. He even made up sports.

When school started, he had no limit to friends. And he had succeeded in making his own civilization.

I like this book because of all the neat stuff he does with his wonderful plants.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Eco-Wolf and the Three Pigs, by Laurence Anholt is a very good book. This time the Wolf wins, and he is a good wolf. In the story, Eco-Wolf makes water powered machines, without polluting the water. He teaches animals how to not litter, and instead of a house he has a wigwam.

Then three big pigs come, and they're going to build houses, whatever it takes. The first house was a straw house. That night Eco-Wolf called the animals to his tent. He said the old oak trees the pigs had cut down were like his brothers and sisters. And Eco-Wolf gives the pigs the Bird Treatment (calling all the birds and the birds taking the straws). Then the pigs build a wood house, and the same thing happens but with burrowing animals making burrows. The next building the pigs made was a giant concrete shopping mall with a free way leading up to it. Will Eco-Wolf be able to stop them?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Under the stairs in the house where Boy and Girl live there is Hob, a little helper. He always gets a gift each night, like an apple or an egg. And in return he drives away things that not supposed to be in the house, like Clockstop who stops clocks from going right, and eats time. Also he scares away Wump--who stomps down the stairs breaking them, tipping over bottles, denting the house, knocking out a brick, and making Hob's teeth rattle. In that episode he asks Budgie the pet bird to sing Baby to sleep. She sings, "Go to sleep, little egg." "The bird's an idiot," says Hob.

The Hob stories come in the red, yellow, green and blue books, or you can get all of them in one book, that is the book shown. Also you can get Hob and the Goblins as well as Hob and the Peddler. They are longer and have chapters.
HOB is by William Mayne, and illustrated by Patrick Benson. The pictures are so beautiful.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Adventure Quest

Adventure Quest is an online battle game where you fight monsters with weapons and armor and get gold, experience, and z tokens. You create your own character. You can buy new weapons and stronger armour with your gold. Also there are quests. Be careful! Some quests require greater experience before you can do them. Also the weapons and armour require a certain amount of gold and experience--if you don't have enough, you can't buy them.


The Complete Bone Adventures by Jeff Smith is very creative and I like it! I really like how he uses false animals from his mind combined with real people and animals. In the book when Bone is running from the bad furry creatures, he meets some possums. One says, "Hey, look who's coming!" And another says, "It's Uncle Fone Bone!" Bone says, "Run, Kids! The rat creatures are after me!"Hope you enjoy


Dragonology the Complete Book of Dragons by "Dr. Ernest Drake" is a great way to learn about dragons. It tells you all about them from what dragons eat to where they live and there are 10 types of dragon! Dragons might have colonised another planet! But are dragons realy out there?

Friday, September 12, 2008


Stinky, by Eleanor Davis (2008), is written very well and really grabbed my attention!

The illustrations are very good and they tell you the life you might find in a swamp. This book is part comic part chapter book and it's very easy to read. The problem is a boy, named Nick, comes into the swamp and Stinky Seymour, a monster who lives in the swamp, does not like kids. Solution: Stinky made friends with Nick and Stinky tried an apple and he offered Nick a pickled onion.

I recommend this for ages 5 and up.