Monday, July 30, 2012

Review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules

Rodrick Rules is the second book in the series from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. As my little 8 1/2 year-old buddy from whom I am borrowing these says, "It's the blue one."

Greg Heffley is back. It's the beginning of a new school year and his mom gave him a new diary journal to use. Greg faithfully writes and draws in it on a regular basis again, focusing on his adventures this year. He keeps alluding to something embarrassing that happened over the summer. Summer is his least favorite topic. If you read through his whole diary journal, you can figure out what happened.

Rodrick, Greg's older brother, continues to be a real jerk to his brother. Manny, the "baby" (who is three), continues to be a spoiled brat who tattles on Greg all the time. Greg continues to do stupid things to get himself into trouble. For example, he dumps the cheese finger on the new kid and thinks it is funny to pretend that a returning friend who had moved away, is actually invisible. He gets the whole school in on it and gets into serious trouble. In fact, he seems to be in trouble at a higher level across the board in this installment.

He also learns some lessons along the way, such as the importance of honesty and of actually working on your homework and projects on time. Don't listen to what your older brother tells you, because he is going to get you into trouble. Think twice before picking on your younger brother. Don't try to scam your mom. It may take her a while, but she *will* figure it out!

I didn't like this second installment as much as I liked the first one. Yet, the characters actually remain true-to-life. I know families like this and kids like these, many of whom have tried some of these shenanigans. You may actually laugh out loud at a few of the jokes and situations; the rest of the time, you may be sighing and shaking your head. The best part about this book, just like the first one, is that it is actually inspiring kids to read. Reluctant readers like that it is broken up in familiar verbiage with lots of pictures yet still feels like a thick chapter book. It has spawned a slew of similarly designed books, more of which will be reviewed right here.

There is also a movie version of this book, that is the sequel to the first movie. I haven't yet seen it, but plan to later this summer, if it is still available On Demand.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Seeking Reviewers for the 'Three Lost Kids' Book Tour in October

Three Lost Kids Blog Tour 

 (Mommy and Daddy Bloggers needed)

Join award-winning author Kimberly Kinrade for the month of October to celebrate Halloween and All Hallow's Read with a big giveaway for her launch of The Three Lost Kids & The Death of the Sugar Fairy.

What's All Hallow's Read? Author Neil Gaiman started this tradition a few years ago as a way to encourage the act of giving a book for Halloween.

Beginning October 2 through October 31st, Kimberly is looking for bloggers to review and/or host an interview, guest post or pre-written promo post for her children's chapter book series (for lower-grade readers 4-9 years old) and post the HTML code for a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Follow this link to the Tour page with all of the information:

About The Three Lost Kids & The Death of The Sugar Fairy 

Halloween is here and Lexie, Bella and Maddie couldn't be happier. But why does everything feel so different? Fewer houses are decorated and fewer kids are out trick-or-treating. Still, that's not going to stop the three girls from eating as much candy as they can before their parents can stop them, even if that means fighting each other for it.

When they finally discover a haunted house worthy of their favorite holiday, they forget their parents' warnings and go in alone, only to discover that the house really is haunted, and not only that, but they've been transported to a whole different world!

A dying Sugar Fairy in one of the abandoned rooms send them on a quest to find her Sugar Baby and the magic Sugar Flower in order to save her and Halloween. If they fail, Halloween will be gone forever, and they'll never return to their family.

But with Sugar Bug attacks, the Cavity Caves where they must face their deepest fears, and giant gummy bears armed with candy cane swords, the girls aren't sure they'll make it.

Their only chance is to work together, using each of their strengths to help each other. Can they stop fighting over candy long enough? Or will they be trapped in the dying Sugar Land forever?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Review of The Many Adventures of Pengey the Penguin

Fred and Beatrice are emperor penguins. One of their offspring is named Pengey. Beatrice takes off for a while, leaving her family behind. Fred gets tired of waiting because he is hungry, so he leaves Pengey to go in search for food. Pengey goes looking for Fred, and ends up getting lost. Numerous adventures ensue.

He encounters numerous predators before meeting Jasper, Wendy, and Bob who are humans. They all become friends. He is particularly attached to Wendy. When the humans get on a plane to fly back to New York, Pengey accidentally gets caught in the wheel well. He is reunited with Wendy in New York and learns how to talk. 

Wendy and Pengey get into trouble, because she has illegally brought this penguin from Antarctica. The two of them get separated, and the rest of the book is about Pengey trying to find his way back to her again in New York City.

The story starts as a fictional account of how penguins really live in Antarctica, and is full of facts. The story is cute, but it feels like it coming from all different directions. It starts out like a science book, and then turns into a sweet story of a girl and her penguin. Then there is this crazy bit at a circus with a mad scientist and evil circus master.  

Children will probably enjoy reading about Pengey and his various adventures. It just wasn't one of my new favorite chapter books. You will have to check it out for yourself.

I received an eARC in exchange for my honest review of this book.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's my big birthday giveaway! Ends July 26th

Ah, yes, today is my birthday. To celebrate, I am hosting a couple of big giveaways! I learned how to read at an obnoxiously young age. From that point on, my nose was always stuck in a book. I wanted to share the love of reading with some more kids, so I hit up some of my author friends to share their works with you. You have the opportunity to win their books, as well as a gift card to get whatever you want for yourself or a loved one. If you see something you like, you can also click on the book cover to purchase your own Kindle or paperback copy from Amazon! Read the blurbs about the authors and their books, then enter the Rafflecopter below! This particular giveaway is available on both this blog and over at Andi's Kids Books. Another one is available on Andi's Young Adult Books. Yet another one is available on Andi's Book Reviews. This contest ends on July 26th.

Angry Octopus or Affirmation Weaver by Lori Lite of Stress Free Kids

Children love to unwind and relax with this fun exercise known as "muscular relaxation . Children relate to the angry octopus in this story as the sea child shows him how to take a deep breath, calm down, and manage his anger. This effective stress and anger management technique focuses awareness on various muscle groups to create a complete resting of the mind and body. Muscular relaxation can lower stress and anxiety levels. It can be used to decrease pain and anger. This engaging story quiets the mind and relaxes the body so your child can let go of anger and fall asleep peacefully.

This is one of four stories featured on the Indigo Ocean Dreams CD/mp3.

Ideal for kids who have a tough time settling down for bedtime or transitioning through anger in a healthy way.
Children love to turn self-doubt into self-belief. Children relate to the dolphin in this story as the sea creatures show him how to believe in himself. Watch your child's self-esteem grow as the sea creatures weave a web of positive statements. This feel good technique can be used to bolster self-image, manage stress and anxiety, and accomplish goals. This encouraging story will bring a smile to your face and give your child a tool that will last a lifetime.

This is one of four stories featured on the Indigo Ocean Dreams CD/mp3.

Ideal for children with low self-esteem, confidence, kids who are bullied or excluded from activities.

Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. As a parent, Lori spent two hours every single night trying to settle her young son down to sleep. Her daughter developed stress related night terrors and Lori herself became sick from anxiety. In an effort to help her family she created a story for her children that would entertain them while introducing them to research-based relaxation techniques. That moment began a journey that now includes 8 books, 6 CDs, and 2 curriculums. Ms. Lite's books, CDs, and curriculums are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Her Indigo Dreams audio book/CD series has been awarded the CNE Award of Excellence. Ms. Lite has been interviewed and written articles for several media outlets, including: Family Circle, NY Times, MSNBC, ABC Radio; CBS News; USA Today; Web MD; Stress Free Living; Mind, Body, and Soul; and Job Club with Tory Johnson. She has also been featured in several publications which include Prevention Magazine, Parent Guide New York, Family Circle, Kiwi Magazine, and Aspiring Woman. Lori is a certified children s meditation facilitator and Sears Manage My Life parenting expert. She gained national attention when she appeared on Shark Tank, an ABC/Mark Burnett production. Lori has just released a relaxation music line. Indigo Dreams: Kid s Relaxation Music and Indigo Dreams: Teen Relaxation Music. Check her Stress Free Kids website, Face Book and Twitter for updates. 

Queen Vernita series by Dawn Menge

Queen Vernita invites twelve wonderful friends to visit with her during each month of the year. Queen Vernita and her friends enjoy fun activities throughout the Oceaneers Kingdom. Parents and teachers will love teaching the monthly calendar, days of the weeks and seasons through the storytelling adventures of Queen Vernita and her friends.

Awards for QUEEN VERNITA'S VISITORS: Evvy-First place
Readers favorite-Honorable mention
Readers Views-Honorable Mention
American Children's Book Society-Scooter Award
American Children's Book Society-A+ rating
Purple Dragonfly-Honorable mention  

Queen Vernita continues her monthly visits with her friends at the Blue Ice Mountains. While visiting the mountains she learns about the local flora and fauna.

Awards for Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains:
Readers Favorites-Finalist
Purple Dragonfly-Honorable Mention

Queen Vernita continues her educational adventures with Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer.

Sir HeathyBean spends twelve informative months in Queen Vernita's castle in the land of Oceaneers. His visit along with Cora the Teacher is centered on learning everything they can about the solar system.

Awards for Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer
Evvy Awards-Merit
USA Best Book Awards-Finalist
Readers Views-First Place
Purple Dragonfly-Second Place

Dawn Menge holds a Bachelors Degree from Washington State University specializing in Human Development. She also holds a Clear Credential and Masters in Special Education from California State University San Bernardino. She is currently entering the dissertation phase of her PHD program at Capella University. She is specializing in Curriculum and Instruction.

As an Education Specialist specializing in Severely Handicapped students she has worked for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools for fifteen years. She has worked with severely handicapped students from the age of 3 up to 22 years. She is currently working with the 18-22 year olds in a Young Adult Center. Her students curriculum includes functional/vocational skills in which they work within the community. Her students disabilities have ranged from Autism, Down Syndrome, ADHD, Seizure Disorders, Orthopedic disorders, Mental illness, legally blind and Cerebral Palsy.

During her career as a teacher/author she has been awarded USA Best Book Award for 2010, first place in the Evvy Award 2009, Readers Views Award 2009, Learning Leader from the Leapfrog Learning company and nominated teacher of the year for SBCSS. She has worked along with the Leapfrog Learning company in a Case Study working with her Autistic students. She has been published in the Exceptional Parent Magazine and various online publications.

Dawn Menge's award winning educational picture book series includes; Queen Vernita's Visitors, Queen Vernita visits the Blue Ice Mountain and Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer.

Learn more at

Baby Jaimie Has a Crush with Coloring Book by Jaimie Hope

From the minute she met him everyone thought Baby Jaimie's first crush was Derek. Derek even thought so. That's why he asked her first grade teacher, Mrs. Smith if he could come in to visit her.

The day of the visit didn't go as planned. While Derek was introducing himself a new student, Jack, entered the room and stole everyone's attention. Especially Baby Jaimie's. For that reason Derek took an instant disliking to the new kid.

Baby Jaimie is forced to choose between Derek and Jack, and she doesn't know what to do. Is there a way to combine old friends with new friends? Can't they all just get along? Find out in The Adventures of Baby Jaimie: Baby Jaimie Has a Crush.

About this author
"I was born November 3, 1976 in New York. Growing up one of my favorite time of the day was story time. Even at an early age, I became wrapped up in whatever story was being read. At the time, I just wanted to be part of the story. It wasn't until high school that I decided I wanted to be a writer. This is when my ideas for the Adventures of Baby Jaimie started forming.

I was on the newspaper staff for two years in high school and really enjoyed it. We didn't have assigned stories, but we were able to do investigative reporting if we chose to. I was usually more into the freelance style of writing about whatever happened to be on my mind at the time. In my senior year, I took a creative writing course where I got to explore the depths of my creativity.

After graduation in 1995, I put writing aside for a while. I went to college and did what most people try to do, "try to find myself". I got my Associates degree in 1999.

In 2002, I moved to Florida. I did quite a lot while I was there. I was an active volunteer in the local historical society. I also did volunteer work at the local library. During this time, I also sang on a few demos at the local studio, tried my hand at songwriting and ran a book club. It wasn't until 2005, when I picked up The Adventures of Baby Jaimie and started working in earnest to get it done. I finished the text of my manuscript within a month. I submitted it to a handful of publishers, only to be rejected.

Again, I shelved The Adventures of Baby Jaimie, temporarily, when I moved back to New York in the spring 2006 that I even thought about picking it up again. I had lunch with a friend one day in the summer of 2006 who told me about a friend of hers who was also an author. She put me in contact with him, and he gave me advice on how to go about making my dreams of becoming a published author come true.

In November of 2006, AuthorHouse released The Adventures of Baby Jaimie. After the release, I got busy trying to promote it, and as they say, life happened. I began to try my hand at writing a novel. This proved to be a slow process as well, but not as slow as my first book. In July of 2008, PublishAmerica released my first short novel, Who Says You Can't Go Home.
You may be asking yourself what's next. Only time will tell." 

-Jaimie Hope 

Miro the Dragon by Theresa Berg

Drakonia…. Land of the dragons, ancient and proud creatures. Drakonia…. Home of Miro, a tiny and frightened red dragon who is still trying to find his place in the world. On his journey to become a “real” dragon, he makes some unusual new friends and discovers that friendship can overcome the greatest fears. Miro’s stories tell of courage and friendship without boundaries or prejudices.

My children's books about Miro, the little dragon who is afraid of everything, were originally written in German and then translated into English. I reasoned that since I am bilingual, my little dragon should become bilingual too.

I am mostly writing in English, though; you can find those books when you look for my pen name Saoirse O'Mara.

Apart fromw writing and reading, I love learning new languages. So far, I have read books in six different languages, and I plan to add a few more languages to that list in the future.

The Green Meadow Series by Jennifer Walker

Thirteen-year-old Leslie Clark has loved horses for as long as she can remember and has been riding since she was six. Although her widowed father cannot afford to give her everything she desires, she works hard to get what she wants. When what she wants, a great horse to show, is taken right out from under her by her rival, Kate Wellesley, Leslie thinks her whole world has been turned upside down--until she finds Lucky (nicknamed Bubba by her father, who thinks he is funny). Then, everything changes.

Readers of Bubba Goes National will be touched by an inspiring story, but they will also learn about the care and showing of horses while they read about Leslie's adventures. Sandwiched in is a lesson that if one is willing to work hard, they can make their dreams come true. Bubba Goes National is the first of the Riders of Green Meadow series, which will showcase horses that are unwanted by one person but are another's dream come true.

What starts out as a leisurely trail ride turns into a terrifying afternoon when Alex and Leslie see a plume of smoke rising in the trees. After saving the neighbor's horses from a horrible fate, the two teens must run through the burning woods and get back to Green Meadow before it's too late. On the way, they encounter a strange horse wandering through the woods by itself, and it follows them home. Leslie soon becomes attached to "Spark", when she can't find his owner... but will she get to keep him, or will someone come forward to claim the horse she has come to love?

BUBBA TO THE RESCUE is the second book in Ms. Walker's series of Green Meadow Riders fiction teen, tween and children books. BUBBA GOES NATIONAL is the first book in the series. The books are not dependent upon each other, but they do tell a continuing story as well.

When Leslie and her friends encounter a mountain lion during a trail ride on their horses, they run for their lives. Unfortunately, they soon find themselves hopelessly lost--and getting more lost with every turn. Can they find their way out of the woods and back to Green Meadow before it gets dark or the mountain lion comes back?

Jennifer Walker is a full-time freelance writer, editor and novelist, owner of Walker Author Tours (, and President of Your Document Professionals ( Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Modern Arabian Horse and Sierra Style Publications, as well as websites like Although horses are her specialty, she enjoys writing on a variety of subjects.

Jennifer has published two books in the Green Meadow Series: Bubba Goes National and Bubba to the Rescue. She has two more started for the series, as well as several other books in various stages of planning and completion. Her short stories earned their place in the first-ever Accentuate Writers Anthology, Elements of the Soul, by placing first and second place in monthly contests. She also has a story in the anthology The Ultimate Horse Lover.

Jennifer lives in Northern California with her husband, dog, and cat, and she enjoys trying to do dressage on her Arabian stallion, Capt Han Solo+ (  

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

Review of #12 Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Cardboard Box

This graphic novel series for kids is the perfect introduction to the joys of reading the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Cardboard Box starts with an introduction to the real series of books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It also includes a map and labeled drawings of the characters. The graphic novel format makes the story easy to follow, like you're watching it on TV, except it is drawn out on the pages.

In this edition, Miss Cushing receives a package with some gruesome contents. Inspector Lestrade blows it off as a harmless prank, but Sherlock Holmes knows better. Told from Watson's point-of-view, Holmes is true-to-form as he connects the dots to solve the gruesome murder.

The story is followed by an explanation as to how Holmes solved the case, based on the clues he uncovered. It also includes recommended reading and websites. It's a great way to whet the appetite of any young amateur sleuth.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Review of Friends: Snake and Lizard

I have to be honest and say that I feel like I must have missed something when I read the book Friends: Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley. What is being touted as a great book on friendship actually bothered me in many ways. The stories were quite strange and I am not sure how young children could relate to them.

In the first two, they are perplexed by a spiderweb that is blocking one of their doors. Snake is convinced that the spider is poisonous and Lizard sets out to prove her wrong. The third story reminisces about Snake's mother's death by buzzard and how she used to do a rain dance. Then, the fourth story is about how a rabbit was trampled to death on The River of Death. One assumes this means the road and that Ear Bent was run over. 

In another one, Lizard's sister, Sister Forty-Nine doesn't believe that snakes and lizards can be friends and comes to take her brother away. Snake hisses at her to scare her off. I guess in this one I can see how close friends are protecting each other and their devotion as friends. I can see how the book is trying to show that you can be friends, even if you are different. It is okay to stand up for your friendship. 

I like the story called “Love” because they talk about how love is a special word. If it is used carelessly, then it loses its meaning. That is an important lesson for society as a whole.

Like I said, there could just be something here that I am missing that makes it a wonderful read. You will have to check it out for yourself and then please let me know what you think of it.

I received a copy of galleys in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review of Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers

Riley Mack is a good kid, though he has gotten himself into trouble before. His mom is a teller at the local bank. His father is currently stationed overseas in Afghanistan. When his father first left, he had some trouble and shoplifted, thus earning him a bad reputation with Officer Brown who is always out to get him. Nevermind that Brown's own son Gavin is actually prone to bullying every kind who comes his way and steals all kinds of items for his grandmother's flea market booth.

Riley and his friends have a tendency to get themselves mixed up in all kinds of bizarre adventures. In this book, their first mission is to rescue the new kid, Jamal, from Gavin, who has shoved his head in a freezer. Riley is assisted by Jake, who is a technological wizard at the age of 12, Mongo, an oversized oaf who has a big heart, and Briana, the resident drama queen.

Jamal joins the Gnat Pack and helps them along their many adventures, which include finding a kidnapped goldendoodle puppy, rescuing dozens of dogs and puppies from a local puppy mill, and foiling two bank robbers and am embezzler all at the same time.

This book made me laugh out loud at some points and roll my eyes at others. Chapters are short and it was a quick, enjoyable read. The characters are a little over the top, yet we all went to school with kids just like them. Their misadventures are precisely the kind of thing that all kids dream of having an opportunity to do some day. They all have big hearts, wanting to help their fellow classmates and stolen dogs.

One thing I particularly appreciate about Jamal is that he has an extensive vocabulary. He likes to study the dictionary and often drops big words and their definitions. I always loved big words as a kid. Readers have the chance to subtly learn new vocabulary while enjoying their read.

The book is appropriate for middle elementary and above. I recommend it to the young-at-heart, as well. It's available in hardcover and as an e-book.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Meet Tuesday Mourning, illustrator of the Kylie Jean series

When Tuesday Mourning was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be an artist when she grew up. Now, she is an illustrator who lives in South Pasadena, CA. She especially loves illustrating books for kids and teenagers. When she isn't illustrating, Tuesday loves spending time with her husband, who is an actor, and their two sons.

Here is an interview with Tuesday Mourning:

What are your favorite kids of books to illustrate?

I enjoy illustrating children's picture books that have interesting, silly, curious, quirky, caring, adventurous, unique, strong and loveable characters.

Do you have different illustration styles for different types of books?

I do have a few style changes, depending on the project at hand. For younger picture books and early readers (such as Kylie Jean), my illustration style often tends to be more simple, silly and expressive. For older characters or more sophisticated stories (i.e. young adult novels, etc.), I often flesh out the illustrations a bit with slightly more depth and detail. And many times, it ends up being a mixture of these two styles.

What was your favorite part of illustrating Kylie Jean?

I love how fun, playful and expressive Kylie Jean is. Her personality was incredibly fun to illustrate. With each new illustration, and with each new book, I came to love Kylie Jean (and her family and friends) more and more.

What is your favorite part of being an illustrator?

I love being introduced to new characters and bringing them to life. Each time I meet a new little friend to illustrate, my creativity is full, I'm inspired and very happy.

How do you begin to create a character?

It's definitely important to capture the personality of the character along with their physical attributes. I try to read as much as I can about the character until I feel like I really know who they are. After that, finding them  with the pencil becomes much more easy and entirely enjoyable.

With two small children, how do you find time to illustrate?

Good question! I still really don't know :). I try to be a mom by day and an illustrator by night...but we have our "Let's sit on the couch and watch a movie today, kids!" times for sure. My children also love to watch me draw and my oldest finds it fun to see how things go from the sketch stage all the way to the published book stage. 

What kinds of projects do you like to work on in your free time?

I love anything visual, so if I'm not working on a book, I love to create things for my children and for my home. I love to sew, craft, design, you name it.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I'm incredibly lucky and grateful to be doing what I love so much! I have plans to write and illustrate a few picture books of my own and that is something I am really looking forward to. So stay tuned!

Interview reprinted from a digital press kit, courtesy of NetGalley.

Visit Tuesday Mourning's blog here.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Meet Marci Peschke, author of the Kylie Jean series

Marci Peschke was born in Indiana, grew up in Florida, and now lives in Texas. She has lived in three haunted houses, but now lives with her husband, two children, and a feisty black and white cat named Phoebe. Marci is an official member of the Scottish Clan MacIntyre. She loves reading and watching movies.

The following is an interview with Marci Peschke:

Tell us a bit about you.

I live in Texas with husband, Joe, and a crazy black and white cat named Phoebe. I have two grown up children. My son is a nurse and my daughter is a teacher. During the day I am an elementary school librarian. When I am not busy being a librarian or writing books, I like to travel. I have been to forty-three of the fifty states and seven other countries. I love tea parties, and even had tea at the Ritz in London!

What made you decide to write these books? What was your inspiration for the Kylie Jean series?

Sometimes a book finds you. My niece Kylie Jean is part of the inspiration for these books. I think that she is adorable, of course, and because she has such a cute personality I started to think that I could write some books about her. Kylie Jean is a real true little queen, but most of the things that happen to her in books are made up by me.

What's your writing process like?

I am constantly writing. Some authors like to make notes and do outlines. I do too, but I also do a lot of pre-writing and revising in my head. This means everywhere I go and everything I do, I am thinking with my "author brain." I get a lot of ideas from things I see or trips I take. Names of people and places are very interesting to me. I got the name Lucy [Kylie Jean's cousin] from a creek called Little Lucy Creek and Lickskillet for Lickskillet Farm from a street sign. You never know when you might stumble on to a good idea, so I am always on the lookout.

The Kylie Jean books have such a strong voice. How did you create the character? And how do you feel about the way the illustrator, Tuesday Mourning, has captured her?

As I said before, there really is a Kylie Jean, so it is easy for me to imagine her as a character, how she sounds, looks and acts. I love, love, love the way Tuesday illustrated Kylie Jean. She just took my words and made them into a perfect picture.

You're a school librarian. Talk a little about your experience getting kids to love reading.

It is important to make reading a celebration. I host reading contests and fun reading events. The best way to get kids excited about reading is to find out what excites them. It's just like a little puzzle or a mystery. Once you find out what they like, all you have to do is help them find it!

What's the best part about your job as a writer? As a librarian?

The best part of my job as a writer is creating fun characters that readers feel like they know. The best part being a librarian is helping students find a just right book that they love and can't wait to read.

What's next for Kylie Jean?

Kylie Jean will be having some fun adventures singing, dancing, spelling and cheering her way to her goal of being a beauty queen. I think Kylie Jean would have a lot of fun being a cupcake queen. Maybe she could have a baking adventure next!

Interview and bio reprinted from the digital press kit, courtesy of NetGalley.

Visit Marci Peschke's website here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review of Kylie Jean, Dancing Queen

All Kylie Jean cares about is being a ballerina. She dances her way through life and finds any excuse to create potential ballet costumes out of items found on her family's farm. When her cousin tells her that there are open auditions for an upcoming performance of Swan Lake, Kylie Jean is ecstatic to play the part of Odette. She has to settle for being a swan maiden, though, and roots for her cousin who landed her coveted part. When a crisis hits the production, can Kylie Jean save the day?

This book for elementary-aged girls is adorable. Kylie Jean has a great positive attitude about life and always looks for the bright side. Her love for ballet is familiar to any little girl who has dreamed of being the Swan Queen or other fairy tale part.

Following the story, Marci Bales Peschke has included some discussion questions for the reader to either ponder on her own or to discuss with her friends and family. She also includes a glossary of ballet terms and a recipe for a Ballerina Slipper Cake. Use the books ID number at for more fun activities and to find more books similar to this one.

I received a complimentary set of galleys in exchange for my honest review.