New Interactive Mystery: Case Closed – Mystery in the Mansion by Lauren Magaziner

Choose-your-own-adventure and puzzle-packed mystery collide in the first book in Lauren Magaziner’s new hilarious and high-stakes middle grade series in which the reader must help Carlos and his friends put together the clues to save his mom’s detective agency.

In this wildly entertaining and interactive adventure, YOU pick which suspects to interview, which questions to ask, and which clues to follow. You pick the path—you crack the case!

Carlos Serrano has never solved a mystery in his life. But when Carlos’s mom gets sick with a nasty flu on the morning of an investigation that could save her failing detective agency, Carlos takes on the case.

With the help of his best friend, Eliza, and her wild little brother, Frank, Carlos must uncover a mystery involving an eccentric local millionaire, anonymous death threats, and a buried treasure. But with tricky riddles, cagey suspects, hidden secrets, and dozens of impossible choices, they need your help!

Can you help Carlos and his friends find the culprit and save Las Pistas Detective Agency? Or will it be case closed?

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Case Closed (Book 1)
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (August 14, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006267627X
ISBN-13: 978-0062676276

Purchase from:

HC.com
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions by Liesbet Slegers

kevin

It’s not always easy being a kid. You are dealing with tons of emotions you can’t always understand. Kevin’s Big Book of Emotions by Liesbet Slegers helps youngsters explore their emotions with poems, lift-the-flap games, questions, and fabulous illustrations.

I love interactive books and this one definitely fits the bill. The book opens with Kevin as the narrator telling the reader about his emotions. Then it switches gears with a poem that addresses the reader and how he might feel angry sometimes. The next page includes a picture of Kevin and how he might look when he’s angry with furrowed eyebrows, a frowning mouth, clenched fists, and stamping feet. Then there are a series of pictures that might or might not make the reader feel angry. The story then moves back to Kevin again, but spoken from a third person point of view. “Kevin feels angry. He’s angry at his cat.” By picking up the flap the reader finds out why he is angry at the cat. The next two pages show Kevin getting angry at Mommy because they need to leave and he wants to keep playing and drawing, followed up by a great solution between Mommy and Kevin. Finally, there is a quick game of matching the angry animals up with the right food.

Other emotions featured are: afraid, sad, and happy, Each time the reader goes through this series of steps and activities that teach him about the emotions he can feel and how to cope with them.

I’ve been a fan of Liesbet Slegers for some time. She has done a wonderful job exploring emotions with this book, and she does it with a character that is already well known to her readers. Great job!

Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Series: Kevin & Katie
Hardcover: 56 pages
Publisher: Clavis Publishing (October 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1605371645
ISBN-13: 978-1605371641

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

The Funny Adventures of Little Nani by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa

TC&TBC

Typically I read the first chapter of a book, but with this short story collection, I am reading the first story in the book and discussing it.

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BLURB: Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people. However, when she helps people the results can be a bit unexpected. Why is that? Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. With her magic wand, she will try to cast different spells to help her friends, but she won’t be successful all the time. Follow Little Nani in her funny adventures and meet her extraordinary friends. Funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies… Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters! Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? Read the stories and discover what happens next!

COVER: Since the top illustration comes from the first story, I’m guessing these postage stamp or postcard type bordered illustrations contain drawings from different stories in the collection. I love the color scheme and the darker contrasting colors of the borders.

FIRST CHAPTER: The Funny Adventures of Little Nani is about a girl with a magic wand whose spells often go awry. In this opening story, “Little Nani and Some Unexpected Events,” Little Nani tries out the wand she got from a correspondence course and tries to make her friends, Big Billy and Skinny Nikki, grow up faster. That’s definitely not what happens.

This looks like it will be a cute book. I can only judge it based upon the first story I read, but all the characters have unique personalities and lovers of magic and fantasy will enjoy the horse who loves to read. Little Nani appears to be an independent-minded girl who leaps before she looks, which tends to create a bit of chaos for her and her friends. By including pauses in the story called “Drawing Time!” the author makes this an interactive adventure for young readers, who are asked to draw certain scenes from the book. I haven’t seen this before in a book, but I like it.

KEEP READING: If I were basing this review solely upon the uniquely crafted characters and the interactive aspect of it, I would say definitely. The thing that gives me pause is the dragged out dialogue. Big Billy appears riding a horse, which he tries to convince Little Nani to ride. She declines because she’s allergic to horses and can’t touch them. But as Big Billy points out, she’s stroking the horse’s head. It goes back and forth like this for a few seconds, before Skinny Nikki arrives. Skinny Nikki wants to ride, but Big Billy says no because he wants Little Nani to ride with him, to which Skinny Nikki replies, “But Little Nani won’t ride with you. She’s allergic to horses.” And then they start going on and on about how Little Nani wants to ride an ostrich, but she doesn’t have an ostrich, so she can’t ride one.

What I ended up doing is downloading another short story in the series for my Kindle (this book has all the stories in it, but they can also be purchased separately). It appears this dragged out conversation might be the way Little Nani interacts with others. In “Little Nani and The Flying Muffin” it is about how bored she is on a rainy day. She whines “I’m bored!” three times while Big Billy and Skinny Nikki get aggravated over her whining and Horse tries to convince her to listen to the story he’s reading to her.

Children probably won’t notice it. I just didn’t care for this style of conversation. I would probably still keep going. It’s one of those “don’t bite your nose off to spite your face” moments. If you like the characters and the story is funny, is it worth abandoning the book simply because one of the characters is a bit repetitive? No, you keep going and enjoy the rest.

Overall, this is a really cute story and I’m thinking it will be a hit with youngsters, especially those who enjoy humor.

File Size: 1577 KB
Print Length: 144 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00DGXKOWM

I downloaded a free sample of this book to my Kindle. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

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Celebrate Black History Month with a Good Book

thestoryofrubybridgesCelebrate the 50th anniversary of the first African American child to integrate a New Orleans school with this paperback reissue!

The year is 1960, and six-year-old Ruby Bridges and her family have recently moved from Mississippi to New Orleans in search of a better life. When a judge orders Ruby to attend first grade at William Frantz Elementary, an all-white school, Ruby must face angry mobs of parents who refuse to send their children to school with her. Told with Robert Coles’ powerful narrative and dramatically illustrated by George Ford, Ruby’s story of courage, faith, and hope is now available in this special 50th anniversary edition with an updated afterword!

  • Reading level: Ages 4 and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks; Rep Anv Sp edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439472261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439472265

What do all these people have in common: the first man to die in the American Revolution, a onetime chief of the Crow Nation, the inventors of peanut butter
and the portable X-ray machine, and the first person to make a wooden clock in this country? They were all great African Americans. For parents and teachers
interested in fostering cultural awareness among children of all races, this book includes more than 70 hands-on activities, songs, and games that teach kidsAA
about the people, experiences, and events that shaped African American history. This expanded edition contains new material throughout, including additional information and biographies. Children will have fun designing an African mask, making a medallion like those worn by early abolitionists, playing the rhyming game “Juba,” inventing Brer Rabbit riddles, and creating a unity cup for Kwanzaa. Along the way they will learn about inspiring African American artists, inventors, and heroes like Harriet Tubman, Benjamin Banneker, Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, and Louis Armstrong, to name a few.

  • Reading level: Ages 7 and up
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 2nd edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556526539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556526534

black starsAFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY COMES TO LIFE

Discover why young people all over
the country are reading the Black Stars biographies of African American heroes.
Here is what you want to know about the lives of brave black men and women
during the Civil Rights Movement:
* LOUIS “SATCHMO” ARMSTRONG
* MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE
* MAJOR GENERAL BENJAMIN O. DAVIS JR.
* W. E. B. DUBOIS
* LIEUTENANT HENRY O. FLIPPER
* MARCUS GARVEY
* MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
* THURGOOD MARSHALL
* ROSA PARKS
* ADAM CLAYTON POWELL JR.
* PHILIP RANDOLPH
* PAUL ROBESON
* JACKIE ROBINSON
* BOOKER T. WASHINGTON
* IDA B. WELLS-BARNETT
* CARTER G. WOODSON
* WHITNEY M. YOUNG JR.

  • Reading level: Ages 11 and up
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047122068X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471220688

Coretta Scott King winner Andrea Davis Pinkney brings her talents to a brand-new Dear America diary about the Civil Rights Movement.Dear-America-With-the-Might-of-Angels-198x282

In the fall of 1955, twelve-year-old Dawn Rae Johnson’s life turns upside down. After the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, Dawnie learns she will be attending a previously all-white school. She’s the only one of her friends to go to this new school and to leave the comfort of all that is familiar to face great uncertainty in the school year ahead.

However, not everyone supports integration and much of the town is outraged at the decision. Dawnie must endure the harsh realities of racism firsthand, while continuing to work hard to get a good education and prove she deserves the opportunity. But the backlash against Dawnie’s attendance of an all-white school is more than she’s prepared for. When her father loses his job as a result, and her little brother is constantly bullied, Dawnie has to wonder if it’s worth it. In time, Dawnie learns that the true meaning of justice comes from remaining faithful to the integrity within oneself.

  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc. (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545297052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545297059

jackie

01-02 Golden Sower Award Masterlist (YA Cat.) and 00 Pennsylvania Keystone to Reading Book Award (Intermed. Cat.)

Like every other kid in his class, Joe Stoshack has to write a report on an African American who’s made an important contribution to society. Unlike every other kid in his class, Joe has a special talent: with the help of old baseball cards, he can travel through time. So for his report, Joe decides to go back to meet one of the greatest baseball players ever, Jackie Robinson, to find out what it was like to be the man who broke baseball’s color barrier. Joe plans on writing a prize-winning report. But he doesn’t plan on a trip that will for a short time change the color of his skin–and forever change his view of history and his definition of courage.

  • Reading level: Ages 8 and up
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (February 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380800845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380800841

Big Book of My World by Kali Stileman

bigStart youngsters on the road to learning with the Big Book of My World with illustrations by Kali Stileman. Bold colors and favorite words fill this large book. Interactive games provide a ton of fun for a child to explore with a parent or on their own as they grow.

From counting to shapes and from opposites to manners, key concepts are brought to life by Stileman’s vivid artwork. First words, picture searches, favorite things and plenty of activities will bring your child back to this book time and time again.

Highly recommended.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Tiger Tales (September 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589251148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589251144
  • SRP: $14.95

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

Will & Kate: A Love Story by Ink Robin

Created for iPad and available on iTunes, this interactive story captures the romance and grace of the Royal Wedding for princesses everywhere.

A modern-day fairy tale, it opens in England with a prince named William, who will be king. In the countryside, there is a girl named Catherine who dreams of meeting a prince. Their chance meeting many years later leads to a friendship that becomes a wedding the entire world helps celebrate.

I loved this book! Since I don’t have an iPad, I wasn’t able to take advantage of all the interactive features, but even the PDF is fun to go through. Ink Robin did a superb job of creating a simple, magical story of Will & Kate’s romance that will thrill young girls. Adam Larkum’s quirky and fun illustrations add so much to this book. I loved them all.

According to the information I received from the publicist, here’s what you’ll find in the interactive version:

Every page is full of interactive elements and sound effects triggered by a simple tap or swipe of your finger. Take a trip across the African plains in a hot air balloon, set off a sky full of fireworks, enjoy a chorus of sheep in the countryside and most importantly help Kate select her wedding dress for the big day by picking your favourite and dressing her in it.

The book also features a “read it to me option” with full narration and simple navigation features, allowing younger readers to enjoy the book alone or with the help of a parent.

Will & Kate: A Love Story is easily one of my favorites from this year.

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

You can learn more by visiting http://inkrobin.com/

I received an ecopy of this book from the author’s publicist in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no monetary compensation to provide my review.

The Crypto-Capers: The Chest of Mystery by Renee Hand

In the highly-anticipated conclusion of the seach for the Golden Monkey, the Crypto-Capers team is up to their eyeballs in danger and mystery. Book 4 in the series, The Chest of Mystery,  picks up right where Book 3 left off. Having found two of the pieces to open the treasure room in the previous book, they discover they have only solved half the puzzle. With the Panther hot on their trail, time is running out.

The team travels to Pisa, Italy to meet with the one man who holds all the answers. But when he disappears without a trace, they have to depend on each other and believe in what they know. Will that be enough to lead them to the lost treasure of the Mayans and the Golden Monkey?

Wow! I’ll tell you that this book was definitely worth the wait. In Book 3, the danger had been cranked up for the Crypto-Capers. In the conclusion to this mystery, they get more than they bargained for. The Panther is closing in, Morris is in danger, and their new friend Emmanuel might be an important piece of the puzzle.

In addition to Max, Mia and Granny Holmes, the fourth member of the team, Morris, joins them in the field.  This is unusual, and the reader can see this as a bit of growth in this character. Speaking of growth, I’m glad to see the cover artist doesn’t forget that the kids are growing as the series moves along. All the kids seem a bit older on the cover now.

We are also treated to meeting some new characters in The Chest of Mystery. Their relationships add a new element to the story, and keep the series fresh, just like adding pieces to the unfolding mystery does. The reader will also discover why she needs to hold onto the first three books in this series, as she will refer to them for help in solving the puzzles in Book 4.

Author Renee Hand has won awards for her writing. It’s truly no surprise to me. She delivers consistently well-written, engaging stories. I am always eagerly awaiting her next book.  The interactive element of The Crypto-Capers series will have even the most reluctant readers solving crimes with the team.  These are books you don’t want to miss!

Rating:  🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Publisher:North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.
  • ISBN-10:0878393943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878393947
  • SRP:  $12.95



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