Book review: Big Plans #bookaday 4 out of 5 stars

Big Plans book coverby Bob Shea; illustrated by Lane Smith
Picture book
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 1.4
4 out of 5 stars


As an adult, I really found this book delightful! An ornery little boy is in a time-out corner at school. You can infer this from the sentences written on the blackboard. He spends his time thinking up BIG PLANS to conquer the world. What makes this story special though is, if you take the time to “read” the opening picture carefully, you can see that most of his plans are hatched by what he sees around him in the corner. For students who sometimes struggle with finding a subject to write about, this could be a good story about finding an idea in everyday objects.

I would like to read this story to children to know how they would take it. The boy can be pretty bossy, and students might not make the connection between the objects in the first picture and the boy’s big plans.

Book review: Buddy and the Bunnies in don’t play with your food! #bookaday 4 out of 5 stars

Buddy and the bunnies in don't play with you food book coverby Bob Shea
Picture book
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 1.6
4 out of 5 stars


I really loved this Buddy and the Bunnies book. At first it reminded me of Keiko Kasza’s My Lucky Day, where the very thing that is planned for dinner, keeps distracting and delaying the moment of being eaten. In this story, Buddy the monster plans to eat some bunnies he finds, but they were about to bake cupcakes, and he is very willing to wait until after the cupcakes to eat them. After eating a few too many cupcakes (and who can’t relate to that!) he has to come back tomorrow to eat the bunnies. But then they have to go swimming because it is so hot out….you get the picture.

I love how each day there are more and more bunnies, and the final message at the end is very sweet, “And I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to eat your friends!” This would make an excellent read-aloud from pre-school age children up to third grade.

Book review: Special Delivery #bookaday 4 out of 5 stars

Special Delivery book coverby Philip C. Stead; illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Picture book
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 2.9
4 out of 5 stars


This is a sweet book about a young girl, an elephant, and her Great-Aunt Josephine. Sadie is concerned that her Great-Aunt Josephine lives all alone, so she wants to mail her an elephant to keep her company. It turns out it would be very expensive to mail an elephant, so Sadie resourcefully finds other ways to accomplish the task. There is a wonderful surprise at the end when Sadie gets to Great-Aunt Josephine.

I love the caring nature of Sadie, and the love she has for an older relative. She also cares about the animals that she encounters. I also delight in the fact that no one blinks an eye about Sadie wanting to mail an elephant…that happens all the time, right?!

This would make a fun read-aloud.

Book review: Skink–No Surrender #bookaday 3 out of 5 stars

Skink--no surrender book coverby Carl Hiaasen
Chapter book
A National Book Award Longlist Selection
Interest level: Ages 12 and up
3 out of 5 stars


I like Carl Hiaasen books for kids, starting way back with Hoot, and Skink–No Surrender is his newest work that is targeted for slightly older readers, grades 7 and up. The only reason I might not recommend this book for elementary age readers is because of the more mature situations the main characters encounter. Richard’s cousin, Malley, has gone missing and he discovers she has gone away with a questionable individual she met online.

Richard also meets a character from Hiaasen’s adult novels, Skink, who is one of the most interesting individuals ever imagined by an author! I love Skink! There is definitely a lot of suspense as Richard and Skink track Malley through the Florida swamp.

Hiaasen also includes strong environmental messages in his books, and Skink–No Surrender is no exception. Sometimes it comes on a little strong, but I agree with his beliefs, so am not bothered by it. I also feel this book delivers an important message about online safety and the importance of keeping yourself safe.

Book review: Memoirs of a Hamster #bookaday

Memoirs of a hamster book coverby Devin Scillian; illustrated by Tim Bowers
Picture book
Young Hoosier Book Award nominee, 2015-2016
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 2.6
4 out of 5 stars


I can personally attest that this makes a great read-aloud for children in grades 1 and 2! It provided the opportunity to discuss what a “memoir” is, to make predictions, and to enjoy a cute story in diary format. We also discussed nocturnal animals. After reading this book, all of the children, and myself, want to read the first book, Memoir of a Goldfish.

Book review: What Floats in a Moat #bookaday

What floats in a moat book coverby Lynne Berry; illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Picture book
Young Hoosier Book Award nominee, 2015-2016
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 2.9
4 out of 5 stars


I have to admit that I didn’t think I would like this book as much as I did! The two characters are a very funny chicken and a goat. The goat wants to use science to figure out a way across the moat, while the chicken thinks the drawbridge would be the better option. In a fun way, this book teaches about Archimedes’ principal relating to buoyancy. I found some of the situations and illustrations to be laugh out loud funny!!

Book review: Ballet Cat: the totally secret secret

Ballet Car: The totally secret secret book coverby Bob Shea
Beginning reader
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 0.8
4 out of 5 stars


Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony remind me very much of Elephant and Piggie. This book is the first in an upcoming series of books geared toward beginning readers. The text is very accessible for youngsters adventuring into independent reading, and girls especially will love the two friends. This story helps teach about being open and honest with friends and making compromises. This will be a cute and popular series.