Sunday, July 17, 2011

Piggie Pie

Gritch the Witch wakes up with one thing on her mind - Piggie Pie!  Unfortunately she lacks one very important ingredient - piggies.  A trip to Old MacDonald's farm should easily take care of that problem, but Gritch doesn't know just who she's dealing with.  

Alerted to her presence by a sky-written "Surrender Piggies", the pigs hurriedly disguise themselves as chickens, cows and old MacDonald himself.  

Confused by the lack of piggies on a farm that was advertised (in the yellow pages) to have piggies, Gritch's patience wears thin.  A wolf happens by and takes a moment to commiserate with her - he himself has been chasing 3 pigges for days without any luck.  

I love the way the author has tied in elements from different children's stories to create this tale.  If you've read my blog at all, you may have noticed that my favorite books are the ones with great humor and fantastic illustrations - this book has both.  It's definitely a favorite in our household!

I Need My Monster

I was immediately drawn to this book by the cover illustrations.  It happens a lot, because if I like the illustrations then there's a good chance I'll like the story.  And that's exactly what happened with this book. 

Ethan is a little boy with a monster  under his bed and he's happy with this arrangement.  Until one night, when Gabe leaves a note explaining that he'll be gone fishing for a week.  Poor Ethan doesn't know how he'll survive - he can't sleep without knowing his monster is under the bed.

Throughout the night Ethan is visited by substitute monsters, but none of them can replace Gabe's ragged breathing, nose-whistling and the scrabbling of his uncut claws.  Ethan sends each monster away, resigned to the fact that he simply won't be getting any sleep that week.  

I love this book!  The hilarious dialogue between Ethan and the monsters combined with beautiful, colorful illustrations make it a lot of fun to read.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Legend of Spud Murphy

At the start of summer vacation, Will and his brother Marty cause enough trouble to receive the worst punishment of all: they must spend a few afternoons a week at the library. Not only do the boys detest reading, they have a great fear of the infamous librarian Mrs. "Spud" Murphy and her gas-powered, potato shooting gun. Why would a librarian have such a weapon you ask? To shoot potatoes at children who make noise, of course.

Will and Marty's first afternoon in the library only confirms their fears about this terrifying woman. How are they going to survive all summer with Spud Murphy looking over their shoulders? Banished to the children's section, the boys have nothing to do but read. Will, who plays by the rules, accepts his fate. Marty, who breaks all the rules, won't rest until he's found a way out of the children's section. Who will win this battle of wills, Marty or Spud?

I thought this was a hilarious story - very entertaining. I highly recommend it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World

I am a huge fan of Eoin Colfer, so I'm surprised that I haven't included any of his books in my posts. I'll get around to it though - I just need to brush up on my favorite series, Artemis Fowl. I want to remember all the details before I review it. :)

I was pretty excited to find this book written by Mr. Colfer - it's illustrated and it's only 7 short chapters long. Since Andrew and I have been reading some pretty long books, I thought we could shake it up a bit.

Will Woodman is a kid who comes from a great home with good parents. The only problem is, he has to share those parents with 4 brothers. How in the world is a boy supposed to get some quality time in with all those siblings clamoring for attention too? Will needed someone to listen to his troubles and since his parents weren't available, he turned to his Grandpa. It was perfect. I mean, what else did Grandpa have to do with his time? He might as well lend a listening ear to his grandson.

Each Saturday, Will and Grandpa swap sob stories but oddly enough, Grandpa's stories always top Will's. How can you compete with a man who's been bitten on the head by a shark, had his backpack stolen by a badger and survived a week of using tin foil for toilet paper?

Fortunately, Will is able to have some uninterrupted time with his father where he explains his frustration regarding story-topping Grandpa. As it turns out, Will may have a story that not even Grandpa can beat.

I loved this book - with Eoin Colfer's fantastic sense of humor and a great moral to the story, you can't go wrong. A must-read!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mars Needs Moms

I meant to post this book on Mother's Day, but I forgot. I blame it on Mommy Brain. You know, that thing that happens to your otherwise normally functioning brain after having children. Forgetful doesn't even begin to describe it. However, since it's for the good of the children, I'm happy to sacrifice a few things. Like my vocabulary and my ability to finish a thought before moving on to an entirely new one. They say that once the kids move out you may experience a partial recovery. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

A friend of mine had been telling me to read this book for awhile and I wanted to - I really did. We're big fans of Berkeley Breathed in this household. But wouldn't you know, our library didn't have a copy. I also stay away from the bookstores as much as possible - they're far too dangerous for someone like me. It seemed like I would never have a chance to read this wonderful book. And then something happened. The Book Fair at Andrew's school. A book fair, my friends, is even more dangerous than a book store - trust me! I think it has something to do with the fact that a portion of the proceeds goes to help the school. Yeah...I'm a sucker for that. This time was different - I was determined to purchase the two newest Magic Treehouse books and ONLY those books. $50 later, I left with a bag full of books and Mars Needs Moms was one of those.

If you've ever had a mom who annoyed you and made you do ridiculous amounts of chores, or you are a mom who has forced your children to eat their vegetables (for their own good) - then you'll identify with this story.

Milo is a child who doesn't understand what's so special about mothers. Milo's mother is, well, she's the mom who was abducted by Martians. Luckily, Milo was able to sneak onto the rocket ship before it launched into outer space and discover the reason for his mother's kidnapping. You can't really blame the Martians - who else is going to drive them to soccer games, make their lunches or bandage their boo-boos? When Milo's space helmet breaks and he finds himself unable to breathe the thick air on Mars, his mom is right there to sacrifice her own helmet for him. Finally, Milo understands what's so special about mothers.

Amazing illustrations, great humor and a touching story - all the elements you need for a great book. You'll love it - and it's definitely worth buying!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mercy Watson to the Rescue

I randomly found this series while at the library one day. I can't remember what I was looking for, but I saw these books and was intrigued. The illustrations were so fun and I was pretty excited to see that Kate DiCamillo was the author - LOVE her writing!

Mercy is a pig, adopted and adored by the Watsons. One night, after singing her to sleep, Mr. and Mrs. Watson crawl into their own bed and settle down for a good night's rest. Unfortunately, Mercy is afraid of the dark and decides to crawl into bed with the Watsons. They don't mind at all, until the floor cracks and the bed begins to fall through it!

Mercy leaves the bedroom, and the Watsons assume that she's on her way to find help. In reality, Mercy has begun a search for hot, buttered toast - her absolute favorite food. She ambles on over to the Lincoln sister's house and after a string of hilarious events, she finally returns home with a pair of firemen who are able to rescue the Watsons just in the nick of time. Overjoyed and amazed with their "Porcine Wonder", the Watson's celebrate by preparing a midnight snack of hot buttered toast for everyone!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hardy Boys #1 The Tower Treasure

When I was a kid, my very cool dad used to read the Hardy Boys to me and my brothers. So of course, once I had boys of my own I was determined to read the series to them. Andrew and I just finished the first book. Thankfully, I couldn't remember the details, so the ending wasn't ruined! Andrew and I absolutely love mysteries, so this series will keep us busy for awhile.

Frank and Joe Hardy are the sons of famed detective Fenton Hardy. While on an errand for their father, they're nearly run down by a mysterious man. Later that day they find that their friend Chet's yellow jalopy has been stolen - Frank and Joe believe it was the same man who tried to run them over.

A few days later, word spreads through the town of Bayport that the owners of the famous Tower Mansion have been robbed of their jewels. A school chum's father is implicated in the crime, but are the mysterious man and the robbery connected? With some help from their father, Frank and Joe set out to help their friends and find the thief.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Great Fuzz Frenzy

When Violet, an innocent dog, drops her tennis ball down a praire dog hole, she unknowingly starts a hilarious chain of events.

The startled prairie dogs look at the tennis ball with great trepidation - everyone that is, except Pip Squeak who is delighted with the ball's fuzziness. Without hesitation, he plucks some fuzz from the ball and adorns his head with the stuff. And so begins "The Great Fuzz Frenzy", each praire dog clamoring to grab some fuzz of their own, and all of them finding creative ways to wear it.

The only one unhappy with this chain of events is the bully Big Bark, who eventually steals all of the fuzz and proclaims himself to be "King of the Fuzz!" Unfortunately for Big Bark, his newly acquired fuzz attracts the attention of an eagle who swoops down and carries him away.

With laugh inducing text and illustrations, this one has become a favorite of ours!

Sunday, April 3, 2011


I bought this book several years ago - before I ever had kids - and I've always loved it. It's a creative twist on the classic story "The Little Red Hen" and Rooster, the main character, is L.R. Hen's great-grandson.

Rooster, needing something good to eat, finds his great-grandmother's cookbook, "The Joy of Cooking Alone" and discovers a scrumptious looking Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Rooster is joined in the kitchen by Turtle, Iguana and Pot-bellied Pig - each of them contributing to the adventure in a hilarious way.

I loved the illustrations and the humor in this story; the kids laugh every time! Oh, and the recipe for this yummy strawberry shortcake is included at the end of the story. I'll have to try that sometime soon.

Creak! said the Bed

On a dark and stormy night, Momma and Poppa find that their bed becomes increasingly crowded. Each nighttime noise brings another child into the room until finally, the dog joins them and the bed just can't take anymore.

My kids loved imitating all the fun noises in the story - boys are great at sound effects. I'd definitely recommend this book!