Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Review - Johnny Big Ears by John Paul Padilla

Johnny Big Ears always had curly black hair and big ears. His first day of school he was so excited to start, and his mother cut his hair revealing his big ears. Johnny loved his new haircut and couldn't wait to get to school. 

He arrives to school, meets his teacher and his day begins. He learns his alphabet, writes his name on the chalkboard, it's so fun to be at school. 

Then it's time for recess. He's having fun, kicking a ball around when two kids start picking on him about his ears, "You're funny looking", "You have huge ears, I bet you could fly like a bird." As they continue picking on him, Johnny gets mad, but remembers what his mother told him about bullies and chooses to ignore them. They don't let up, following him around teasing him. Johnny can't take it any longer and finally runs away crying. 

Finding a new spot, he starts kicking the ball around again, feeling very sad. A new kid comes up to him and says "Hi." His name is Charlie Freckles, and Charlie knows how Johnny feels because he too gets picked on because of his freckles. They begin playing together, and a new friendship is formed.

Recess is over and Johnny is sad because he doesn't want to stop playing with his new friend. Charlie and Johnny run side by side to go back into school and their friendship continues to grow.

At the end of the day, Johnny's mother comes to pick him up. Johnny tells her about his day, how he was teased and how he made a new friend. He asks his mother, "Am I special?" She answers him with, "Yes you are Johnny Big Ears, my sweet little man." She tells him that we should love people regardless of their actions, and very proud he didn't respond to the bullying, and rewards him with a pizza.

I think Padilla did a great job describing bullying in elementary school. It would be a fantastic book for teachers to share with their students, as well as parents to help kids learn about bullying, and how it can affect children.

Review - Snowflake - A Christmas Gift by Robert Wheiler

Snowflake A Christmas Gift by Robert Wheiler is an excellent children's book.

Momma gives birth to five puppies.  After a few months the puppies must be sold.  The last pup the kids get to keep.

Snowflake is the one they wanted all along.  She's the cutest puppy always tripping over her big ears and that's the pup that is not picked.  The kids are ecstatic.

One day Snowflake gets lost in the forest and is desperate to get back to her human family.  A skunk befriends her,  helping her to find her way home.  Leading her to a hotel thinking it was a house that could be hers,  Snowflake gets a warm bed and a meal from the owner.  The next day the grandparents just happen to stop at this hotel and realize that Snowflake is there.  They bring Snowflake home to her family once again and the kids are so happy to have her back.

Wheiler did a great job with this title and I truly enjoyed it.  I would highly recommend this book for any child.  I give Snowflake A Christmas Gift 5 Baseballs. ~ Daniel Dietz,  Children's Book Reviewer.

Review - Magician of Oz by James C. Wallace II

The Magician Of Oz was a fantastic book with magic from start to end.  It's a definite page turner that you are going to love.
Jamie Diggs moved from Kansas to Indiana.  One night Jamie and his father were looking in a trunk that belonged to his great grandfather.  What they found were coins,  and old pocket watch,  and O.Z. Diggs on the trunk itself,  which was his grandfathers initials.

One night as a surprise,  Jamie's father took him to a magic club.  After he was introduced,  he showed the coins and pocket watch from his grandfathers trunk.

As he was learning magic,  he did a trick with a zombie ball at a magic club picnic,  and he even made his coin disappear.   He was becoming good with his magic tricks,  and one day while walking in the woods,  he was led into the land of Oz.

He stayed in Ozma's Castle with Ozma, Dorothy, and Glinda.  While he was missing his mothers potato soup,  Dorothy took him to the Tin Woodman's castle so her Aunt Em could make him some.

While enjoying his soup,  a counsel of trees were angry with the Tin Woodman,  and were coming to the castle to destroy the Tin Woodman.  Dorothy and Jamie conjured up a spell which made them disappear.  The Tin Woodman seemed to have a lot of enemies as they also had to cast a spell to turn the morals to stone.

After a few days of being in Oz,  doing tricks for the farm people,  he finally got to go home,  but soon would visit again.  Before his departure,  he did receive a new coin from Ozma,  which bore the three girls from Oz embedded on it,  just like the old coin Jamie had lost.

Though Jamie thought he was gone from his family for days,  upon returning he realizes they only think he was gone for a few hours.  

Wallace did a great job with this exciting tale.  With magic and spells,  there was never a dull moment.  Though it had the some of the same characters as The Wizard of Oz,  Wallace created an exciting twist on the plot.

Purchase Magician Of Oz

Learn more about James C. Wallace II

Review - Cyber Writers by Karen Kostlivy

Mason Witt is an average kid who loves skateboarding.  He had been grounded for a week for riding his skateboard in the neighbors empty pool,  and today was his first day of freedom.  He was anxious to get off the bus to ride his board.

When he got home his mother made him his favorite snack of apples and peanut butter,  so he ate quickly to be able to ride his board before they had to run errands.  Before going to play,  he ran to his room to put his backpack away and checked his email.

Being a pen pal on Cyber Writers,  he found an email from Africa.  Before he was able to read it,  his mother yelled that they had to leave sooner than anticipated so they could get his brother Jamie at Karate,  then go get hair cuts.

While getting their hair cuts Mason was so excited to get that email he asked the barber if he knew anything about Africa.  When asked why,  Mason told all about being a pen pal with Cyber Writers.

Finally home,  Mason grabs a slice of pizza and runs upstairs to check his email.  He starts reading and the introduction of Lutalo begins.  Lutalo is in desperate need of help to return a Zebra and his missing father.  "The Zebra is what brings prosperity to farmers crops and harmony to all villagers".  The Zebra is known as the "Zebra of Life".

Getting ready for bed Mason crawls under the covers to finish reading his email.  Suddenly he feels vines,  jumping out of bed he realizes that his bedroom is changing into a jungle.  Mason has been virtually transported to Africa.

Follow Mason and Lutalo during their adventures through Africa,  as they begin the chase in hopes to safely return the Zebra of Life and Lutalo's father,  Mwamba.

Kostlivy did a great job with her first book in the Cyber Writer Series.  I found myself anxious to find out what happened next,  and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.  I was amazed with the plot and she kept my attention from beginning to end.

I give Cyber Writers and The Zebra of Life 5 Baseballs,  Daniel Dietz,  children's book reviewer for BK Walker Books.  http://bkwalkerbooksetc.blogspot.com 


Learn more about this author - Karen Kostlivy