The Quest Continues

The Journey trilogy, and this review series, continues in the second book, Quest.

“My hope is that these stories might inspire us all to place a bit more faith in the power of wonder.”

-Aaron Becker

Our young heroes find themselves thrust once again into a wild land of magic and imagination. And you my dear readers, find yourselves immersed in another wordless wonder.

Trilogies seem to be popular in other age categories, but this is the first true trilogy I’ve come across in the picture book market.

Can you think of other picture book trilogies?

What is your favorite trilogy from any age category?

Comment below to join the discussion and earn a chance to win the first two books in The Journey Trilogy! One winner will be randomly selected from all comments on each of the review posts for the Journey trilogy. Books will ship directly from the publisher to the winner.

Quest

Quest

When two friends encounter a King in the park, their journey into a magical world begins again. Then the King is captured by hostiles, and the friends are left holding a mysterious map and other objects. Can they unravel the mysteries of the map and save the King and his people from the dark forces?

Quest, by Aaron Becker, is the second book in the Journey trilogy. The incredible, wordless saga continues in this masterpiece. Following the same two children introduced in Journey, they find themselves once again thrust into a wild and fantastical world where anything is possible. Beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told without the necessity of words, this book can be enjoyed again and again. Highly recommended for children of all ages. This is a book that will be treasured for many years to come.

 

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Journey Begins…

As my journey to Uganda begins, I invite you all to journey into the incredible world created by Aaron Becker.

Welcome to the first in my three part series of reviews about The Journey Trilogy! I’ve managed to plan ahead, and scheduled each review to publish to the blog while I’m away. The second post will be a week from today and then the last post will go up in two weeks on August 4th. That’s the plan anyway 🙂 Hopefully I’ll have internet to check in on things, but if not, I trust it will all go smoothly.

Details about the giveaway are below, but I will select a winner when I return from Uganda!

“With supple line, luminous color, and nimble flights of fancy, author-illustrator Aaron Becker launches an ordinary child on an extraordinary journey toward her greatest and most exciting adventure of all…”

Journey was published by Candlewick Press in 2013, and received the Caldecott Honor. Journey is the first completely wordless book, in this magnificent trilogy which continues in Quest (2014) and culminates in Return (2016).

With incredible scenery and breathtaking panoramas, these books truly take the reader on a fantastical and magical journey.

Have you read any books from this trilogy?

What is your favorite wordless picture book?

Comment below for you chance to win copies of Journey and Quest. Comment on any of the trilogy review posts by Saturday August 6th for a chance to win. A winner will be randomly selected from all comments on each of the Journey trilogy review posts!

The winning copies will be mailed directly from Candlewick Press to the randomly selected winner.

journey.jpg

Journey

When a young girl feels bored and ignored, she finds entertainment in drawing with her red marker. Little does she know her red marker will take her on a fantastical adventure. Her journey is filled with castles, magic, danger, and excitement as she follows the path not knowing where it leads. Then, the daring and courage of a new friend might just lead her to an even bigger adventure.

Journey by Aaron Becker is breathtakingly beautiful. A true picture book, the story unfolds entirely through the artwork, without the aid of any text. The story is made more powerful by this fact, as the reader is fully immersed in the girl’s adventure. Lovingly illustrated, the reader will be amazed at the suspense and excitement felt with the turning of each magnificent page. This is an incredible book for children and adults of all ages, begging to be “read” again and again. A fantastic book to enjoy this summer, and spark the imagination of young minds.

Thank you to Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday Special

Hope you all had a lovely weekend and are enjoying your Sunday.

I received a copy of the Minecrafter’s Bible last week and wanted to share it with you all today. I’ve received quite a few Bibles from Zonderkidz lately, and they share a similar theme of reaching children through the use of current trends.

While the text of the Bible, in this case the New International Reader’s Version, remains the same, the addition of page inserts, trivia, etc. in each of these Bibles makes the text more relevant to today. For children especially, they want to understand how the stories in the Bible have any significance in the world they live in today.

minecrafter bible

The Minecrafter’s Bible by Zonderkidz brings together the complete text of the NIrV Bible with 24 pages of Minecrafter inspired text and illustrations. Minecrafter is a wildly popular game among young people today, and showing the similarities between how God created the world to the world-building game, will likely intrigue many fans.

Each Minecrafter page features a significant event in the Bible along with the appropriate passages. Then the game is tied in to the verse by suggesting an activity to try within the game. For example, when talking about Noah’s Ark, the text suggests building a large boat in the game and putting animals on it.

The Bible is attractive and fun with a full-color, illustrated cover. The inserts are great, but I would have liked to see little tidbits included throughout all the pages. Some of the other children’s Bibles had small blocks of trivia or facts on nearly every page. Also, many children’s Bibles include summaries at the beginning of each book of the Bible which helps young people understand the main takeaways.

Overall, a great concept which many fans of Minecrafter will be eager to check out.

Author Interview: Erica S. Perl

I’m excited to share my recent interview with Erica S. Perl.

Erica is the author of several children’s books including bestselling books Chicken Butt! and Chicken Butt’s Back! Her most recent book, Ferocious Fluffity, introduces readers to a cute but crazy classroom pet.

Erica was kind enough to answer a few questions about her most recent publication and life as an author.

fluffity

How long have you been writing and when did you publish your first book?

I have been writing since I was able to form words (and even before, sort of, because I would draw pictures and dictate the stories to my parents). My first published book was CHICKEN BEDTIME IS REALLY EARLY, which came out in 2005.

Which book have you enjoyed writing the most?

That’s a good question! I really enjoyed writing FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY because it is a rhyming book and I love rhyme, rhythm and meter… but the truth is I’ve enjoyed writing all of my books.

What inspired you to write FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY?

The first inspiration was a classroom hamster we took home for a weekend. I reached in to pet it and it bit me so hard that when I pulled my hand back it was still attached! Later on, my daughter had a guinea pig that bit everyone and that’s when I started writing the story.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a children’s book writer and illustrator. And an actress. And an ice skater. And a marine biologist. (One down, several to go!)

What was your favorite book as a child?

Charlotte’s Web. It still is, actually.

Who is your favorite character from any work of literature?

Imhrat Khan from The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl.

Who has most inspired you in your writing career?

Lots of people! My aunt, who is also a writer, was an early inspiration. And then when a dear friend died too young, I realized that life is too short to put your dreams on hold. So that inspired me to make more room in my life for my writing.

What struggles have you faced on your way to becoming an author?

My biggest struggles, to this day, are with myself. It is hard to confront the blank page, it is hard to take feedback and revise, it is hard to put your characters in peril, and it is hard to take creative risks… all of which you need to do in order to create great books.

What advice would you give to young writers?

Read all the time. Write the kind of stuff you’d want to read, even if you’re convinced no one else would want to read it. Meet authors whenever you can. Don’t listen to that little voice that tries to stop you from writing by telling you what you have to say is not important or funny. That little voice is FEAR and he doesn’t get to tell you what to do. If his voice is really loud, get a box and put FEAR in it (literally – open the lid, shove FEAR in, slam the lid shut, and go write).

Do you have any hobbies?

I like to bake (pies, crisps, and bread) and I like to run (with friends and with my dogs). Recently, I’ve been rediscovering how much I love drawing, thanks to John Hendrix’s book DRAWING IS MAGIC.

What is the most interesting place you have visited?

Rikers Island (I used to be a criminal defense lawyer, so I have been to jail – only to visit, mind you – many times).

Name one interesting fact about yourself unrelated to writing 🙂

My initials are ESP, so I always hoped I would develop clairvoyance. I haven’t yet… but hopefully someday.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?

My website: http://www.ericaperl.com/. You can also go to your local library or bookstore, stand on a chair and say in a loud voice, “Do you have any books by Erica S. Perl? I love her books!”

Anything else you’d like to mention about FEROCIOUS FLUFFITY or your writing career?

Yes. It is a lot of fun to write funny books, but it is also hard to do it well. I think funny books – and the people who write them – deserve to be taken seriously because they are successfully doing several things at once. Kind of like Ginger Rogers dancing backwards in high heels while smiling and not falling down. Or, in my case, dancing backward while running from a rambunctious rodent!

 

A big thank you to Erica for the great interview, and to her publisher Abrams Books for Young Readers.

Ferocious Fluffity

Who didn’t want a class pet as a kid? I know I loved the idea, and in some of my classes I was fortunate enough to have many class pets.

I was also fortunate enough to never have a pet quite like Fluffity!

I’m excited to share my review of this great new picture book from Abrams Books for Young Readers, and as an added bonus….tomorrow I’ll post my interview with author Erica S. Perl!

fluffity

Ferocious Fluffity (2016, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Picture Book)

Mr. Drake’s second-grade class gets the cutest, fluffiest, best pet ever! Fluffity! A hamster seems like a great idea, but the class soon discovers the hamster is anything but sweet. Chasing the students from one class to another, Fluffity is all bite and no bark. Can the class escape Fluffity’s vicious teeth or will the hamster bite everything (and everyone) in sight?

Ferocious Fluffity, written by Erica S. Perl and illustrated by Henry Cole, is a raucous, rhyming tale of a classroom pet. Every child loves the idea of a classroom pet, and hamsters are especially popular. The story maintains a fun and frantic pace, as students scramble to avoid Fluffity. Children will love the crazy antics of Fluffity and the accompanying illustrations. This would be a great back-to-school or classroom read, as it will likely get lots of laughs when read aloud to a group of children.

 

Thank you to Abrams Books for Young Readers for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Journey Trilogy

I am so excited to share the entire Journey Trilogy with you soon, and an interview with author Aaron Becker!

Plus I’ll also be hosting a giveaway for the first two books in the trilogy! Get excited!

The final book in the trilogy, RETURN, will hit shelves this August, but until then, enjoy this fantastic book trailer.

Red, White, and Books too!

These reviews would have been perfect with the holiday yesterday, but I’m sure kids are still setting off fireworks somewhere, and these books are great any time of the year. They did make it into my column in time for the holiday so I’m not completely failing at this gig. 😉

These are also relevant now, since kids are likely hearing more about our government as the Presidential race takes over the news. Both of these books present our government in a way that kids will understand and find interesting. I learned a thing or two too.

Do you have any favorite children’s books about our nation?

penny and potus

When Penny Met POTUS (2016, Capstone Young Readers, Picture Book)

When Penny goes to work with her mom she wants to meet POTUS more than anything. Penny imagines she’ll get along great with POTUS. They might even be best friends! Her mom is busy, so Penny sets out to find POTUS on her own.

When Penny Met POTUS written by Rachel Ruiz and illustrated by Melissa Manwell provides a cute way to introduce young readers to our government. Though not heavy on facts, the tale will teach children what the POTUS is and create interest in the White House. Funny and sweet, children will relate to Penny’s imaginings of the mysterious POTUS. A clever ending rounds out this wholesome book.

4 stars

awesome america

Awesome America (2016, Time Inc. Books, Non-Fiction Middle-Grade)

From sea to shining sea, and everything in between, this is a fun and comprehensive guide to the United States of America. Beginning with the forming of our nation and highlighting major historical events, readers will learn about the Presidents, branches of Government, and take a tour of all fifty states. Just in time for Independence Day, this book will have the reader celebrating many awesome aspects of the United States.

Awesome America, by Katy Steinmetz, covers the history and government of the United States in fourteen comprehensive chapters. Filled with interesting facts and lots of photographs, this book can be enjoyed by younger children with the help of an adult, but middle-grade readers and older will enjoy flipping through this book on their own. A great non-fiction choice for readers interested in American History.

5 stars (and some stripes)!

Thank you to Net Galley for reading copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.