Little Author in the Big Woods by Yona Zeldis McDonough

little author“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.”  This sentence opens Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the first in a series of children’s books that gave middle grade readers a glimpse into the life of America’s pioneer families. And for some–like myself–this would be the start of a lifelong desire to learn more about the real life of Laura, her sisters Mary, Carrie, and Grace, and her parents Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

In a style similar to the  Little House books, author Yona Zeldis McDonough has created a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder aimed toward middle grade readers that not only helps point out the fact and the fiction behind Wilder’s classic children’s books, but also celebrates the independent mind of the Quiner and Ingalls women along the way.

McDonough’s book opens not with Wilder, but with a brief prologue discussing the life of Caroline Lake Quiner, who would one day become Caroline Ingalls. This sets the tone for the rest of this biography, as it highlights how Caroline’s mother, Charlotte, believed in higher education for girls; something Ma Ingalls also wanted for her daughters.

Told in chronological order, Little Author in the Big Woods follows Wilder’s life and the journeys she took not only with her family, but later with her husband Almanzo and daughter Rose. It talks about the hardships the Wilders faced as a young married couple and of their leaving De Smet, South Dakota to settle in Mansfield, Missouri. Readers learn about the building of the dream house on Rocky Ridge Farm and Wilder’s early career writing for the Missouri Ruralist, before moving on to the creation of the Little House series. McDonough ends with an epilogue that discusses the longevity of Wilder’s work and Michael Landon’s classic television show, Little House on the Prairie, which is based upon the books. Readers are also treated to quotes from Laura Ingalls Wilder, details on some of the games that Laura played, crafts, and recipes. Also included is a list of other writings by Wilder and a list with some of the other books about her.

While I have to admit I learned little new about Laura Ingalls Wilder as a result, I believe middle grade readers will enjoy getting to know more about her real life and the independent nature of the women in the Quiner, Ingalls, and Wilder families. With a similar writing style and design to the Little House series, readers will feel right at home with this book. Jennifer Thermes did an excellent job in capturing the essence of McDonough’s book and Wilder’s life with her beautiful illustrations. I’m thrilled to add Little Author in the Big Woods to my Laura Ingalls Wilder collection.

 

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (September 16, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080509542X
ISBN-13: 978-0805095425

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Star of the Team by Beverly Stowe McClure

teamA girl.

A dream.

An accident.

A dream shattered.

Eleven-year-old Kate Taylor dreams of being the star of her basketball team, Angels. When Kate’s tooth is knocked out at one of the games and her mother, who is also her coach, says she can’t play until the tooth the dentist replants heals, Kate’s dreams are in jeopardy. Add Emily, the new girl at school who claims she’s the best, and Kate faces a challenge to prove that she is the star.

Will Kate succeed? Or will Emily ruin Kate’s plans?

PURCHASE AT:

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/k5y1mky

 

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/18r6ox4bev

Most of the time, you’ll find Beverly in front of her computer, writing the stories little voices whisper in her ear. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks and snaps pictures of clouds, wild flowers, birds and deer. To some of her friends, she is affectionately known as the “Bug Lady” because she rescues butterflies, moths, walking sticks, and praying mantis from her cats.

For twenty-two years Beverly taught children in grades two through five how to read and write. They taught her patience. Now, she teaches a women’s Sunday school class at her church. To relax she plays the piano. Her cats don’t appreciate good music and run and hide when she tickles the ivories. 

http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com

http://beverlystowemcclure.wordpress.com

MuseItUp Publishing Celebrates 4 Years with EBook Sale!

muse

 

Congratulations goes out to MuseItUp Publishing. They are currently celebrating their 4 year anniversary. During the month of October, select eBooks are 50 – 80% OFF! Here is a small sampling of the books on sale:

 

BEGGARCHARLIE200X300

Will Beggar Charlie and Hickory Dick be able to return to England after being lost in China? (80% OFF)

BLACKCATS200x300

Gemma Mayfield believes there is witchcraft going on at her middle school…can she unravel the truth about her teacher? (70% OFF)

DarinelDragonhunter_200x300

Friendship or love? To marry his love Princess Tuskja, Prince Darinel has to kill his best friend, Idunal, the dragon. (50% OFF)

Freaky Frank 200x300

It’s going to take a meeting of minds to bring Nasty Nate down. (50% OFF)

Ghostly Clues 200x300

Sarah Kay follows Grandma’s ghostly clues to discover the truth. (70% OFF)

Visit MuseItUp Publishing for further details athttps://museituppublishing.com/ 

From the Family Bookshelf – October

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It’s hard to believe another month has come and gone. Here in New England, the weather started to cool off a bit earlier than usual. We still have some nice days, but it’s chilly in the mornings. I fear winter will come early this year.

As for reading, I’ve been getting a lot done, just haven’t had time to write reviews. On the positive side, I love my new job. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

  • The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick,
  • The Hybrid Author by Dianne Sagan,
  • A Nantucket Christmas by Nancy Thayer, which I read for the Amazon VINE program,
  • Real Skills, Real Income by Diana Schneidman,
  • Copycat Bear! by Ellie Sandall,
  • Harry and the Monster by Sue Mongredien, and
  • No! by Tracey Corderoy.

I am currently reading Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Writer’s Life by Pamela Smith Hill. I’m taking an online course on Laura Ingalls Wilder given by this author.

Dad is still making his way through The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. I’ll be amazed if he finishes it off before Christmas.

The Lil’ Princess is reading Matilda by Roald Dahl for a book report project at school. The Lil’ Diva has curbed some of her reading–not her book buying habits, but her actual reading–in favor of a young man she is talking to online. I’ve talked with him a few times. He’s a good kid. Thankfully, he lives far away, so she can only be so distracted by him. She recently finished The Lost Hero, part of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan.

That’s it for this month’s issue. Hope you’re getting to read some great books. Feel free to share.

Book Spotlight: Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

revenge

Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother.

Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall.

And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond.

Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.

Age Range: 10 – 14 years
Grade Level: 5 – 8
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599902885
ISBN-13: 978-1599902883

PURCHASE HERE!

Book Spotlight: Bone: Out of Boneville by Jeff Smith

boneAfter being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley filled with wonderful and terrifying creatures…

Humor, mystery, and adventure are spun together in this action-packed, side-splitting saga. Everyone who has ever left home for the first time only to find that the world outside is strange and overwhelming will love Bone.

Age Range: 11 and up
Grade Level: 6 and up
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: GRAPHIX; First Edition edition (February 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0439706408
ISBN-13: 978-0439706407

PURCHASE HERE!

Coming in November: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney

wimpyGreg Heffley and his family hit the road in author-illustrator Jeff Kinney’s latest installment of the phenomenal bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books (November 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 141971189X
ISBN-13: 978-1419711893

 

Pre-order at Amazon!