Friday Fun Reads

Happy Friday!

Hope you all had a wonderful week!

I’ve spent the week thinking about all the reviews I do and I’ll likely be making some changes. I’ve been reviewing four books each week for my newspaper column and I’m thinking of changing that to two books.

Reviewing four books takes quite a bit more time than I realized, and I feel I can do each book more justice and provide a longer review if I focus on just two each week. I’ve struggled with the format of my reviews because I personally hate spoilers and I find the line between saying too little and saying too much, to be very thin.

So with the change to two books a week, I’m going to increase the length of my reviews while not spoiling anything. Wish me luck 😉

As for today, I have a few reviews for you from my favorites over the last couple of weeks. Do you have any books lined up for the weekend? What are you kids reading at school?

If you ever read any of the books I review on the blog I would love to hear from you! Commenting is a fun way to make connections and build community 🙂


thud and blunder

Thud & Blunder: The Not-So-Deadly Dragon (2016, Stone Arch Books/Capstone, Chapter Book)

When the town goes up in flames, Thud and Blunder dash in to save the day! Then when they discover a dragon is to blame, they head out to slay the dragon. When the heroes encounter the dragon though, the great beast bursts into tears. Is the dragon evil or not? Thud and Blunder are still determined to save the town from destruction but there may be more to the dragon than they realize.

Thud & Blunder: The Not-So-Deadly Dragon, written by Sean Tulien and illustrated by Pol Cunyat, is an action-packed beginning chapter book perfect for beginning and reluctant readers. The illustrations are vivid and give the book a comic-book feel. The heroine, Thud, and the hero, Blunder, are fun, non-traditional hero types which children will love. The story itself is funny, unpredictable and sometimes silly, making this an overall great choice for young readers. Lucky for young readers, this is part of the Thud and Blunder series so they can join these characters on many more adventures.


norberts big dream

Norbert’s Big Dream (2016, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

Norbert is not a regular pig. Norbert is a pig with a dream. While other pigs sleep and eat slop, Norbert is preparing to make his dream come true. One day he will swim the English Channel! But when the big day comes will Norbert be able to find the English Channel?

Norbert’s Big Dream, written by Lori Degman and illustrated by Marco Bucci, is a charming read about chasing dreams and what it means to reach one’s goals. This is a great read anytime, but especially during the Olympics as children watch athletes compete and live out their dreams. Norbert is just a pig but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming big or working hard. Children and adults will love Norbert and his great attitude. Beautifully rendered illustrations round out this exceptional book.


dino mike and the dinosaur doomsday

Dino-Mike and the Dinosaur Doomsday (2016, Stone Arch Books/Capstone, Chapter Book)

Dino-Mike has traveled the world digging up dinosaur bones with his Dad, but he didn’t expect to look for bones in Antarctica! Tracking the evil Dr. Bones, takes Mike, his friends, and his Dad to the coldest continent in search of more fossils. But Mike and his friends aren’t alone, soon the Bones siblings arrive and make lots of trouble. With the ability to call up living dinosaurs, the Bones siblings hope to make Mike and his friends extinct!

Dino-Mike and the Dinosaur Doomsday, written and illustrated by Franco Aureliani, has a fun premise and great layout for young independent readers, but the execution falls a bit flat. This is just one book out of the series, so reading the first books may make the story more compelling. The adventure and inclusion of dinosaurs will be a hit with readers, but the conflict-resolution aspect feels rushed. The build-up to each conflict is short with a resolution following almost immediately. The reader does not have time to feel any real sense of danger or nervousness for Mike since the dire situations are resolved neatly and immediately. Start with the first book in this series, Dino-Mike and the T. Rex Attack!, and see if Dino-Mike’s adventures are a hit with your independent readers ages 6-8.


pyramid hunters iron tomb

Pyramid Hunters: The Iron Tomb (2016, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Middle-Grade Adventure)

Sam Force is expecting the usual, boring visit to his Uncle Jasper in Egypt. What he isn’t expecting is to find his Uncle missing. Narrowly avoiding arrest at the airport, Sam discovers clues left by his Uncle, and finds himself relying on new friends to follow the trail. Using his knowledge of ancient Egypt, and with Hadi and Mary’s help, Sam embarks on a wild adventure to find his Uncle and uncover the secrets of The Iron Tomb.

Pyramid Hunters: The Iron Tomb, written by Peter Vegas, is a wild chase through Egypt’s streets and her history. Starting with an action packed teaser, the book then picks up with Sam en route to Egypt. Shortly thereafter, the action starts and never stops. Combining crazy action sequences with a smart and capable main character, make this a great choice for young readers. This adventure is sure to be a hit. Appropriate for children ages 10 and up.


Thank you to all the publishers for providing copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading to all!