Posts Tagged ‘Simon and Schuster’

Write a Review Wednesday: Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed DK Readers: Star Wars series. This week we go a little older, reviewing Simon and Schuster‘s Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze (age 9-13), written and illustrated by Alan Silbergerg. I have to thank Katie at Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy.

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MIlo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze deals with a 13-year-old boy’s struggle to come to terms with the loss of his mother. Ever since Milo Cruikshank’s mother died nothing has gone right. Now, instead of the kitchen being full of music, his whole house has been filled with Fog. Nothing’s the same. Not his Dad. Not his sister. And definitely not him. In love with the girl he sneezed on the first day of school and best pals with Marshall, the “One Eyed Jack” of friends, Milo copes with being the new kid (again) as he struggles to survive a school year that is filled with reminders of what his life “used to be.” [synopsis from Simon and Schuster Canada]

Although life as a teenager is in my distant past, the awkward moments, feelings of trying to fit in and school crushes are memories that still float around in my head, more so now that my oldest gets closer to that preteen age. Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze does a great job illustrating these awkward moments, probably more so for me since I was one of those awkward kids growing up. The issue of Milo’s mother’s death is subtle at the beginning of the story, only alluded to. At first I thought it was just a bit of background information. As the story progresses, as Milo develops stronger friendship ties and becomes more comfortable with himself, he reveals to us (and his friends) how his mother’s death really has impacted him. He develops enough courage to try to bring her back into his life, his family’s life, even though he fears his dad’s reaction.

Throughout the pages Alan Silverberg adds cartoon-like illustrations; illustrations that Milo makes to express how he feels, thoughts going through his head, or moments witnessed. They remind me a lot like doodles you would do in the margins of your school book. The images help to illustrate a thought, like Milo explaining how his dad is different in front of people, wearing his Dad costume. They also add a slice of humour to the story and give you a sense that you’re reading Milo’s personal thoughts, like a diary.

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze will have you nodding your head in understanding, laughing and cringing at those awkward teen moments and crying as Milo opens his heart to mourn and love his mother. Even with the main character being a boy, pre-teen girls can still relate to Milo’s feelings and experiences; I don’t think they’re boy specific. Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze is a great story about friendship, fitting in and coming to terms with your inner self. Take a peek at the book trailer below:

To add a copy of Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze to your personal collection or to give as a gift to a preteen you know (or even a school classroom), visit your local bookstore or Simon and Schuster Canada. For other great book recommendations for kids, read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts. What books are you enjoying with your kids?

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Write a Review Wednesday: The Boss Baby

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Christmas Delicious. With a friend of mine experiencing the joys of a new baby in her house, the timing was perfect for Simon and Schuster‘s The Baby Boss (age 4-6), by Marla Frazee. I have to thank Michelle at Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy.

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He’s demanding. He has fits. He says a lot but none of it makes sense. Oh yeah, and he’s a baby, literally.

The Boss Baby is an interesting take on how a new baby takes center stage in a family’s life, sort of like a boss. Marla Frazee does a great job illustrating the baby as a boss. Even when the baby ‘arrives’, he shows up in a taxi with a large briefcase full of demands. The baby has meetings, lots and lots of meetings, ensuring the parents are at his beck and call. There’s one moment, when the parents are so unresponsive due to lack of sleep, that the boss baby resorts to baby-like tactics to get attention. Surprisingly this works but the boss inside the baby doesn’t stay away for long.

I found The Boss Baby as enjoyable as my kids did, but on different levels. As a parent I could completely relate to the story of the demanding baby, taking center stage, being in control of what happens at home, just like a boss in the office. The kids, especially my 4-year old, just thought it was crazy baby behaviour. Everything the baby did she thought was hysterical (his private jet being a swing in the shape of an airplane). She even laughed when she told me she was just like that when she was a baby (not far from the truth).

The Boss Baby would be a great book for a new parent. It’s a little tongue in cheek about that adjustment stage of baby’s early arrival. Mom and dad can get great enjoyment at the comparison and kids will love the silly baby. The Boss Baby is a great way for parents to address the demands of a new baby with young siblings too.

You can add a copy of The Boss Baby to your own personal library by visiting your local bookstore or visit Simon and Shuster Canada. For other great books for kids, take a read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Lulu and the Brontosaurus

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed A Flock of Shoes. This week we’re looking at Simon and Schuster Canada‘s Lulu and the Brontosaurus (age 6 to 8), written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Lane Smith. I have to thank Joanna at Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy.

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There was a little girl named Lulu and her parents give her everything she wants. When they asked their daughter what she wanted for her birthday they were surprised by her request: I want a Brontosaurus for my birthday present. I want a Brontosaurus for a pet.

When Lulu’s parents refused to get her the Brontosaurus on her birthday, she packed a bag and left home in search of one. Along the way she sang this song:

I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna get
a bronto-bronto-bronto
Brontosaurus for a pet.

I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna get
a bronto-bronto-bronto
Brontosaurus for a pet.

On her journey through the dark woods Lulu encountered many ferocious beasts but she didn’t let that deter her. She just squeezed and bonked and jumped on the toes of the animals that stood in her way. The next day Lulu did find her Brontosaurus, or rather the Brontosaurus found her. The Brontosaurus was also looking for a pet and thought Lulu was ideal. Lulu started to regret her decision to look for a Brontosaurus and her mean behaviour toward her parents and the other animals. Lulu decided being a pet wasn’t a good thing and tricked the Brontosaurus so she could get away. As she tried to escape the woods she encountered the ferocious beasts she hurt earlier but this time instead of squeezing and bonking and jumping on their toes, she offered them a gift. The animals were happy, Lulu felt better and she made it home in one piece only to find someone waiting for her.

All three of my kids loved the story of Lulu and the Brontosaurus, as did I. As a parent I encounter the gimme’s often around birthdays and other holidays like Christmas. Lulu’s story is one we could all relate too, though we don’t give in to gifts like Lulu’s parents do. I liked how Lulu learned on her own that her selfish and mean behaviour wasn’t the best way to get what she wanted. The twist of having the Brontosaurus looking for a pet too was a great surprise (don’t tell your kids if you get this book). My 3-year old couldn’t help but sing Lulu’s song as we read the story. Even now the song comes out during free play; it’s very infectious and fun.

Lulu and the Brontosaurus is a light-hearted, fun read for those reading beginning chapter books. The book itself is an unusual shape and the story is a nice balance of copy and illustrations. The use of different font and font size help to create emphasis on Lulu’s song, which is sung throughout the story. The book also offers 3 alternate endings. You could read the story and choose an ending or read them all. My kids loved voting on which ending they preferred.

Visit Simon and Schuster Canada‘s site to read an except from chapter 1 or to see visually how the book looks inside.

You can add Lulu and the Brontosaurus to your personal library by visiting your local book store or visiting Simon and Schuster Canada. For other great book recommendations for kids, read through the previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Dora’s World School Day Adventure

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Zombiekins. This week we take an adventure with Dora in Simon and Schuster‘s World School Day Adventure (age 3-7), written by Shakira. I have to thank Anneliese at Simon and Schuster Canada for my review copy.

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Dora the Explorer is excited about celebrating World School Day with her classmates and children around the world. As the kids are getting ready they discover students in distant schools haven’t received their supplies. To ensure all the kids can participate in the planned World School Day activities, Dora and Boots set out to help the other schools. But will they be able to help in time. Shakira, the Grammy award-winning artist, cameos in the book to help Dora and her friends get ready to celebrate .

I have to say I’m personally not a fan of books based on TV show personalities, like Dora, but my 3-year old was ecstatic when this book arrived. She is a huge Dora fan; unlike my other 2 kids my 3-year old actually talks to Dora on TV and in books. So a book that gets my daughter excited can’t be all bad. And really it wasn’t.

I don’t mean to give Dora a hard time; she does show kids they can accomplish many things on their own with the right tools and friends, being kind and sharing always ends up better in the end. World School Day Adventure follows the same pattern, with Dora taking it upon herself, somewhat unrealistically, to help the kids in need. Each mission starts with a double-page spread depicting a map showing Dora and Boots leaving their destination and heading off to a foreign country to help that school. The maps are a great way segway into discussion about the different countries and schools and way of life and they sort keep in tune with Dora and her Map she uses when on any adventure. My kids especially loved how the kids in different countries had different styles of school, not traditional bricks and mortar buildings.

In the end, as expected, all the kids get their supplies and are able to join in the World School Day celebration.

My 3-year old enjoyed this book very much and has been found ‘reading it’ on her own many times. I even found her playing World School Day with her dolls one morning.

World School Day Adventure was written by Shakira in support of the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization Barefoot Foundation, for which she is the founder. The Barefoot Foundation is dedicated to ensuring that every child can exercise his or her basic right to a quality education. In celebration of this book, Nickelodeon has made a donation to Shakira’s Barefoot Foundation.

To add a copy of Dora’s World School Day Adventure to your personal library, visit your local bookstore or Simon and Schuster Canada. For other great books for kids, read through some of the previous Write a Review Wednesday posts.