Posts filed under ‘book review’

Book Review: Lucky Strike

Book Description:

By the award winning author of ‘The Dogs of Winter’, Bobbie Pyron.

A rich, southern voice tells the unforgettable story of two vulnerable outsiders, the lightning strike that turns their world upside down and the true meaning of lucky.

Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He’s never won a prize, he’s never been picked first, he’s never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn’t think for one second that there’s such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday… and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck.

Suddenly, Nate’s grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can’t last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.

My Thoughts:

I think of myself as a lucky person. In fact I talk about quite often and I’ve written about it a few times too. I am fortunate in more ways than I can count, but I feel straight up lucky too. I’ve won my fair share of raffles and contests. A couple of times I’ve felt a certain tingly sensation in my body prior to winning. During one particular raffle I read the numbers on my ticket aloud and just knew I’d win.

My brother feels the complete opposite way. He often says I received the ‘good luck’ from my dad, while he received the ‘bad luck’ of my mother, but I wonder how much is really luck and how much is perspective. My brother tends to approach situations negatively, whereas I typically think positive thoughts my just turn my luck around.

I love how the author discusses luck throughout the book and how the character Genesis Beam attempts to understand it.

After Nate tells Gen how his luck has changed she discusses the concept with her mother. She says, “I keep telling him there’s no such thing as luck, good or bad. Although it is an interesting theory, and it does seem things have been going his way. But that could just be self-fulfilling prophecy, couldn’t it, Mama? I mean because he thinks he’s lucky, he has succeeded more, right?”

Her mom responds, “Well that could be, honey. Maybe he’s gotten more self-confidence because he believes his luck has changed, and you and I both know Nate’s never had an abundance of self-confidence. But on the other hand, how do you prove the difference between the the power of belief and the magic of luck?” I love that question. I have often wondered if I am lucky or if I just feel that way.

I connected deeply to this book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. If you’ve ever thought about luck and what makes a person lucky I highly recommended it.

May 15, 2015 at 8:00 AM 3 comments

Book Review: Going Against the Grain Italian Style: A Gluten-free Life Guide and Recipe Book

against the grain

Book Description:

This two-part book is a vital adjunct to any home attempting to be gluten-free. The first part guides you through early diagnosis and is an essential guide for any beginner diagnosed with celiac disease or some form of gluten sensitivity. You will learn how to identify symptoms of the disease, how celiac disease is diagnosed, and the consequences if left untreated. It will help you to understand how to read labels and how to manage your gluten-free home in a shared environment. It outlines practical advice for parents of children with celiac disease as well as tips for eating out and dealing with social settings such as special occasions or when traveling. Honorary foreword provided by renowned Dr. Peter HR Green, MD – Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University.

Growing up authentically Sicilian, Nuccia Ardagna thought that getting rid of gluten meant giving up her favorite traditional foods, but that could not be further from the truth! Nuccia combines her passion for eating amazingly Italian with her new dietary needs to bring you scrumptious, traditional Italian (and Sicilian) recipes. From simple, classic appetizers to decadent desserts you thought you could never enjoy, every recipe is easy-to-follow and offers beautiful full-color pictures throughout. You can feel confident about entertaining guests and family with these mouth-watering recipes. You can eat healthier, feel better, and truly enjoy living gluten-free while never having to sacrifice great taste! In this book, Nuccia not only shares her personal story with celiac disease but also the recipes she grew up with at home and uses to entertain guests. Look for the bonus section at the end of the book along with a section dedicated to her favorite links and resources.

We hope you enjoy the book and find it helpful in your journey.

My Thoughts:

This is certainly not your typical cookbook. Before digging into a plethora of delicious recipes the author, Nuccia Ardagna, provides specific details about celiac disease and her own struggle with this disorder. It seems many doctors failed properly diagnosis her illness.

The author personalizes the disorder by providing a personal account and history of the disease within her own life. As someone who has suffered from rare disorders it was interesting to read about the events and illnesses that ultimately led to the author’s proper diagnosis. It took over four years for doctors to uncover the disorder that made her horrendously ill.

The author advocated for herself and persisted through a series of misdiagnosis before finding a doctor who could classify her illness.

Ardagna is not a doctor so she provides an introduction to the book by a doctor who specializes in this disorder. She also provides information to help those who think they may suffer from celiac disease. She writes about the specific tests that lead to proper diagnosis including blood tests, endoscopies and colonoscopies.

The author also discusses the changes required to keep a gluten-free home. She writes in detail about cross contamination and about sticking to the gluten-free diet even after you begin feeling better.

Ardagna’s goal is to provide gluten-free recipes that are just as tasty as similar recipes that include gluten. She covers a wide range of appetizers, desserts and main courses with step-by-step instructions and gorgeous color pictures of the dishes you can create.

Whether or not you suffer from celiac disease these recipes look absolutely scrumptious. I can’t wait to try out a few this week!

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

May 12, 2015 at 8:00 AM 1 comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl PART FIVE

Aoleon The Martian Girl PART 5

Book Description:

Aoléon, Gilbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot make it to their final destination – Cydonia where Aoléon’s parents are being held captive. They infiltrate a secret underground base and are confronted by a small army of sentrybots.

Bizwat lends Aoléon and Gilbert some of his advanced combat skills via a psionic brain dump. However, this may not be enough to save them from overwhelming hostile forces that will do anything to stop them.

They finally meet Pax – the Martian who originally set them out on the mission to discover the truth about the Luminon and his plans to invade Earth. However Pax is not who he seems to be, and through a turn of events, they uncover the true power behind all that has been happening on Mars.

Will they be able to rescue Aoléon’s parents and save Earth from invasion?
Read part 5 to find out!

My Thoughts:

If you enjoyed reading the first four parts of the Aoléon the Martian Girl series you will certainly have fun reading this one. The story kicks off right where part four left off with Aoléon and Gilbert attempting to put a halt to the Martian invasion of Earth.

The action packed adventure includes a series of battle scenes as the two main characters attempt to fight off the evil Martians who are intent on stealing Earth’s cows.

The author includes many images in this book that help the reader visualize the alien creatures as the struggle between good and evil persists. It would certainly be fun for the reader to use his or her imagination to form a mental image of the aliens and the world they inhabit, but I enjoyed viewing the colorful, computer generated images created by the author. The depictions of battle scenes are filled with bright colors and scary alien faces. I particularly liked the interplanetary images of planets and spaceships. There is a realistic approach to the pictures. The wheat in the Nebraska farm appears three-dimensional and the light bouncing off the planets reminds me of images from the international space station.

In this book the author returns more to the action and adventure aspect of the series and focuses less on the character development realized in part four. While I enjoyed reading about the armed conflicts I must admit that I missed the character building of the previous book. The action and activity were interesting and fun but I hoped the in-depth and insightful conversations between the characters would continue throughout the final chapters. Nonetheless this was a fun book to read and a good way to end the Aoléon series.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I expressed are my own.

May 8, 2015 at 8:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Bridges of Paris

Bridges of Paris

Book Description:

Bridges of Paris is a large-format coffee-table book, with over 350 original color photographs, which casts new illumination on the City of Light. The 37 bridges over the Seine River emerge as beautiful, historic destinations rather than unnoticed thoroughfares. The book features stunning portraits of each bridge as well as intimate riverside moments. Once you’ve experienced this river tour, you will never see Paris the same way again.

Living as a Parisian for a year, author Michael Saint James left his American lifestyle and spent his days and nights capturing images from over, on, beside and under the bridges of Paris. With over 30 years experience as a photographer, educator and world traveler, Michael immersed himself in French culture to search out his authentic artist self. The result is a visual treasure to share with everyone.

My Thoughts:

Fifteen years ago my grandmother mentioned her desire to visit Paris. Her interest in fashion and aesthetics drew her to that one particular spot on the globe. One afternoon we talked about her lifelong regrets; the various decisions and actions that she would change about her past. The things she would do differently if only a magic genie could grant her the chance to change her personal history. Number one on that list was failing to visit Paris in her twenties.

At well over ninety years of age her opportunity to visit the city has passed. She has neither the means nor the stamina to travel long distances. If she miraculously managed the flight she certainly wouldn’t be able to walk the cobbled streets. Her romantic vision of pausing to look in store windows and stopping to dine in French bistros is no longer possible.

When I was offered the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance. I knew my grandmother would love to look at the images and I decided to pass this book along as soon as I finished reviewing it. The book contains hundreds of photographs of the city’s bridges.

The author includes both large-scale photographs of the bridges as well as detailed pictures that capture the intricate designs and engravings.

My favorite photographs were captured in the early evening as the sun sets over the city and at night where the lights seem to dance off the page.

This is a beautiful coffee table sized book that I know my grandmother will love. The next best thing to visiting a place is watching documentaries, reading books and looking at pictures of a place you long to see. I know my grandmother will love seeing the people and sights captured by Michael Saint James.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

May 6, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Donkey’s Kite & The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey

Donkey's Kite

Book Description:

The three horses Jack, Max, Lax and their friend Donkey are back!

In Horse Valley, it’s a perfect day to go kite flying. Jack, Max, Lax, and Donkey decide to get creative by putting together their own homemade kites. However, Donkey‘s kite doesn’t work. No matter how hard he tries to get it to fly, it just keeps tumbling to the ground. How will poor Donkey get his kite to fly? A friendly goose named Gusty is delighted to help him out.

In this Horse Valley Adventure, Donkey learns not to give up when all seems hopeless. The friends all learn a lesson about helping others and true friendship.

My Thoughts:

There are a number of valuable lessons in this book including teaching children the importance of being kind to others and taking the time to help those in need.

None of Donkey’s friends seem to notice that he built a kite that can’t fly. Donkey asks for assistance, but Jack is too busy coloring his kite, Lax is too busy bragging to his friends and Max is too busy eating to help. When Donkey feels discouraged there is no one around to help and just when you think his day can’t possibly get any worse he wanders off sadly and encounters a goose that ruthlessly teases him.

Luckily a magnificent and beautiful bird named Gusty comes to his rescue. Gusty puts the nasty goose back in his place and offers to help with Donkey’s kite. There is an important lesson in the exchange between Gusty and Donkey. Gusty recognizes Donkey’s distress and is eager to take the time to help Donkey feel better about himself.

I like that this book teaches children the importance of looking out for others. Despite being busy any one of Donkey’s friends could have offered to help him or at the very least offered to help him after they were finished working on their own kites. Unfortunately, they were all so busy they didn’t realize how sad their friend had become.

This book focuses on the importance of empathy. Even very young children can learn to recognize the thoughts and feelings of their friends and family members. When Donkey’s friends eventually realize just how sad their friend has become they all pitch in to help him build a truly magnificent kite.

This book is a follow up to the story The Three Little Horses and the Big Bully Donkey. In the original story the Donkey is actually the bully. Although the bullying section of this book is quite small, (just a few pages  compared to the original), I like how the author turned the tables on the characters and made the Donkey realize just how painful it is to be picked on. Despite the fact that Donkey no longer picks on others it is an important reminder to choose kindness over cruelty.

We all know childhood can be an extremely emotional and difficult time. This book will help children realize just how hurtful their words and actions can be on those around them.

While it is certainly important to be aware of the thoughts and feelings of others it is equally important to answer their calls for help. I think both books would make a great introduction to bullying and the importance of being kind.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

April 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 4

Aoleon The Martian Girl Part Four
Book Description:
Aoleon and Gilbert have become the Luminon’s top priority in stopping the Martian resistance movement, and after being chased by the Royal Paladin Guard, they are forced to flee the Martian Megalopolis. Aoléon, Gilbert and Zoot escape with the help of Bizwat and his newly found friend, Helios, a first generation soldierbot.
After their saucer is destroyed, they crash land somewhere in the deep Martian desert, and they set out to locate Kyrios and the secret base where Aoleon’s parents are being held captive.

After battling the forces of nature, starvation, a Klyklon dust storm, (and not to mention a giant slor that almost swallows them alive), they finally make it to their destination. However, after Kyrios gives Gilbert some basic training to develop his budding psionic power, they learn that their journey is far from over.

Will Aoléon, Glbert, Bizwat, Helios, and Zoot be able to rescue Aoleon’s parents and stop the Martian invasion of Earth in time?

My Thoughts:

Part Four of the Aoléon Martian Girl contained much fewer action scenes than the previous segments.  While parts one, two and three were packed with adventure part four focused much less on action and much more on character development.

There seemed to be deeper lessons in these chapters. For example, when Bizwat, Aoléon and Gilbert are lost in the dessert Aoléon says “just follow the yellow-brick road. Wouldn’t that not be nice… to have a golden path all laid out before us to follow. If only life were that way,” but Bizwat quickly replies “Life would be pretty boring if it were laid out in advance. It would lose all of its sense of adventure.”

I like the way this sentiment is expressed to the middle-school children who are the intended audience of this story. As kids we often want to take the easy path in life. We want to know exactly what will happen today, tomorrow and into the future. I like Bizwat’s clear-cut approach to the unknown; excitement comes from NOT knowing what’s around every corner. There are so many adventures and events we experience in our lives that we never could have predicted as children.

I also enjoyed reading Bizwat’s thoughts on what it means to be a soldier. He says, “Being a soldier is not about blindly following orders, it is following orders in the service of a higher cause. When that cause is betrayed we are no longer soldiers, just mindless drones dying for the wrong reasons. That faith has clearly been betrayed.” There are many books, movies and video games that depict military sequences and soldiers, but I’m not sure how often children think about the missions or lessons of those games. I like how Bizwat clarifies his desire to follow a higher cause. To do the right thing so that when he dies, he dies without regret. Bizwat makes mention of a higher purpose and talks ever so briefly about having faith.

There seemed to be a lot more in-depth conversations between characters in part four of the series and I enjoyed learning more about the characters and their motivations. This book is not just about aliens and space battles it is also about human connection. When Gilbert talks about divorce, Aoléon says, “being telepathic forces us to embrace our vulnerabilities. It is what makes us real and bonds us together.” It’s certainly an interesting idea. After all, if you cannot hide your emotions, thoughts and feelings then it’s easy to see how stronger one-on-one connections would exist.

I enjoyed part four of this series on a deeper level than the previous three and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

April 10, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Aoléon The Martian Girl: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Saga – Part 3: The Hollow Moon

Aoleon The Martian Girl Part Three

Book Description:

Spying on the Luminon, Aoléon and Gilbert uncover his plot to steal Earth’s milk cows and make the disturbing discovery that the Martian leader plans to disrupt Mars’s galact supply. The duo races to warn Aoléon’s father, Deimos, a manager at the galactworks, before the Luminon’s saboteur can act.While still on the run, Aoléon takes her pilot’s exam so she can join the Martian intergalactic exploration fleet. However, during the test-run, something goes horribly wrong. The two are put in a life-threatening situation and only Bizwat, Aoléon’s Procyon commando friend, can save them.Gilbert finally gets his chance to learn to skyboard, but the lesson turns into a test of skill as he and Aoléon are chased by the Royal Paladin Guard.Will they survive?

Don’t miss this exciting part 3 of 5 of the middle-grade sci-fi series Aoleon The Martian Girl.

My Thoughts:

If you thought part one and two of Aoléon The Martian Girl series contained a lot of action and excitement just wait until you jump in to part three! The story of Gilbert and Aoléon’s adventure continues as they use a device provided by Bizwat, (a super-elite member of the Martian commando unit who just happens to disguise himself as a pizza delivery guy), to hack through security systems and deactivate force fields. With the force field deactivated they climb through an air duct and overhear Luminon’s plans to steal Earth’s cows. It seems the Martian leader hopes to attain absolute power by conquering Earth and acquiring its precious milk supply.

Luminon plans to cause an accident at Galactworks that would disrupt the flow of galactmilk. With production halted Martians will begin to starve. As the shortage of milk continues Luminon believes the Martians will be easily convinced to look for alternative sources for sustenance. The Martians will look for milk wherever they can find it and Luminon believes it will not be difficult to persuade the Martian population to invade Earth and steal Earth’s dairy cows.

Gilbert and Aoléon race to Galactworks to warn Aoléon’s father, Deimos, of this devious plan. The action continues as they do their best to avoid danger while trying to save Gilbert’s home planet.

I enjoyed reading part three of this series just as much as parts one and two. The story is quite approachable for middle-school aged children, (the intended audience of this series), as the story of stealing cows is easy to understand and relate to without being too scary.

The images and graphics once again bring the story to life before the reader’s eyes. The pictures of the bad guys like Luminon help the reader visualize this foreign world while the pictures of Gilbert and Aoléon racing to save Earth make you feel the flurry of action that helps keep the story moving at a rapid pace.

Although this story is intended for a middle-school audience it has certainly captured my attention. The language is easy to read and absorb and the pace of the story enables you to read it from cover to cover in just over an hour!

Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

March 1, 2015 at 9:00 AM Leave a comment

Book Review: Pants! No Chance!

Pants No Chance

Book Description:
Lulupop rarely puts up a fuss, except when it comes to wearing pants. Dresses, dresses, dresses, is all she will ever wear! With time, a little drama, and no lack of imagination, Lulupop realizes that wearing dresses is not always the best choice.

Author Interview:

  1. In your picture book “Pants No Chance,” Lulupop, the main character loves dresses. When you were a little girl did you love dresses? If yes, do you still love dresses?
    • As a little girl I did love dresses but only certain ones, depending on the fabric and style. I remember being around three years old and my mother wanted me to wear a particular dress. Although I was still too young to express my discomfort with it, I do remember throwing a tantrum to get out of wearing it. Unlike the mother in my book, my Mom won the argument and I was forced to wear the uncomfortable dress.
  2. What genre do you write and why?
    • “Pants! No Chance!” is my first picture book but I write for adults as well. I have short stories about everyday things that happen to me.   Real life is where I get my ideas. I decided to write picture books because when my kids were little I read to them a lot. Many picture books did not appeal to me. Because we read picture books over and over to our kids, as a parent, I wanted to write a book that was entertaining for parents and their children.
  3. Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?
    • I get writer’s block all the time. To overcome it, I take a break from my writing and hope that eventually I will have a breakthrough. Sometimes I begin a totally different story. Often I rely on my subconscious to work while I am focused on another task. It usually does and then I revert back to writing the old piece.
  4. Do you write every day?
    • Although I wish I could answer yes, I don’t. Often whole weeks will go by and I haven’t written anything. My three kids are still young and they take up a large amount of my time. Writing is currently a hobby but once my kids are a bit older, I hope to make it my profession.
  5. Do you think it’s important to have a mentor? Did you have a mentor?
    • Yes. Without my mentor, I’m not sure I would have written this book. Having someone with experience in the industry supporting me made all the difference. My good friend Elaine Arsenault is my mentor and the author of eleven children’s books. When I mentioned to her that I had an idea for a picture book she encouraged me to write it and once it was written she pushed me to send it out to publishers.

My Thoughts:
As a little girl I distinctly remember asking to wear dresses every single day. My mom was fortunate enough to receive bags full of hand-me-downs from a family friend and my closet was filled with dresses of every texture and color.
When I look through the photo albums of those early years I see picture after picture of myself wearing those dresses. There I am sitting in front of my Easter basket with a violet dress trimmed with delicate floral shaped buttons. On Christmas day I am posing in front of the tree wearing a deep red velvet dress adorned with white lace.

My mom only kept one or two dresses from my childhood, but despite not having seen them for over thirty years I can still distinctly recall the way a few of them looked and the way I felt when I wore them. I loved putting on tights and dress shoes and twirling around the living room as the dresses fluttered up and down around my legs.

By the time I was six or seven I completely outgrew this phase. My mom said I quit wearing dresses cold turkey. One day I woke up and said, “I don’t want want to wear dresses anymore.” I don’t remember this decision, but when I told my mom the story of Pants! No Chance! she said I behaved exactly like Lulupop. One day I simply changed my fashion preference.

As a mom to a three year old boy I have never faced a fashion conflict. Well that’s not entirely true, I do struggle to get my son dressed every morning since he would much rather run naked throughout our home, but thankfully he doesn’t fuss over which shirt or pair of pants is chosen. I know a lot of mothers with young girls though who say getting their children dressed can be become quite a power struggle.

I love that the mother in this story allows her daughter to wear dresses even when she doesn’t think it’s a great idea to do so. I also love the fact that Lulupop learns from the natural consequences of her actions.

After failing to heed her mother’s advice she figures out that wearing dresses might prevent her from participating in enjoyable activities like playing sports, riding her bike and picking apples. After dealing with the consequences of sitting out, getting bug bites and ultimately catching a cold she reflects on her decisions and recognizes that she can now choose a wiser path.

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Disclosure of Material: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 25, 2015 at 8:00 AM 1 comment

Book Review: Baby Comes Home: A Parent’s Guide to a Healthy and Well First Eighteen Months

Baby Comes Home

Book Description:

Unlike most baby care books, expert pediatrician and health communicator DR. PAUL Roumeliotis takes a unique approach by emphasizing what scientific advances have confirmed—that what happens early on in life affects one’s overall health decades down the road.

Baby Comes Home communicates the latest science that explains how positive or negative early childhood experiences can have lifelong consequences. The book begins by describing the vital changes that occur in a baby‘s brain during the first 18 months. It then explores the new “Science of TLC”, that shows how tender, loving, and caring relationships with babies help to positively shape their brains. The book then presents important practical information on safety in the home and outdoors, baby routines/patterns, immunizations, injury prevention, nutrition, and more. To complete this useful guide, DR.PAUL also reviews common baby care issues and concerns as well as illnesses and conditions commonly seen during the first few years of life.

Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, daycare teacher or child caregiver, this book is an excellent reference resource for your baby‘s current and future health, wellness and prosperity.

My Thoughts:

Dr. Paul begins this book by focusing on why the first eighteen months are so important to the health and development of a child. He starts out the book, (on page four to be exact), with the science of coddling and loving your child. He explains how children are born with “many more brain cells (neurons) than adults and the ones that get used are the ones that remain. During the first few years of life these brain cells start to develop connections that on the outside we see as development. When the baby’s brain grows, it is actually these nerves – the wiring – that are forming, interconnecting, and expanding.”

Due this important time in neural development it is extremely important for babies to live and thrive in an environment that promotes “their brains, nerve cells, connections, and learning/cognitive abilities to develop to their full potential. We know that, if they do not achieve this development properly or fully, there can be long-term consequences.”

My husband and I are big believers in hugging and coddling our three year old son. We provide a lot of hands on attention, time and love and I enjoyed reading about why these have all been and will continue to be important to his development and overall well being.

As a personal finance blogger I love how the author of this book puts love and attention in the context of money. In essence, he points out that none of these things require money. It is more about the time, attention and care with which we care for our children. Not the money we spend on them or the toys we purchase to fill their playrooms.

Much of Dr. Paul’s chapters focus on the health and safety of babies and young toddlers. I think this book would function as a great guide to the common health questions and concerns of any parent. He discusses everything from constipation, earwax, nasal congestion to more series issues like allergies, apnea, croup and ear infections. In fact, over 150 pages of his book are dedicated to the symptoms and treatments of childhood diseases.

As a new parent this isn’t necessarily the type of book that you need to read cover to cover. While the first few chapters are quite helping in preparing your home for a new baby, the rest of the book could be kept as a guide to any medical issues that might crop up in the first few years of your child’s life.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 17, 2015 at 8:00 AM 2 comments

Book Review: The Monster That Ate My Socks

The Monster That Ate my Socks

Book Description:

A young boy, who is about to be grounded for going through so many socks, discovers that a monster has been eating them.

Max is a young boy who is constantly getting in trouble for his socks disappearing. He doesn’t know where they go, but he does know that if he doesn’t do something quickly his mom will ground him for summer. Max soon discovers that a little green monster is sneaking into his room at night and eating his sweaty socks. His mother, of course, doesn’t believe him, so Max calls on his best friend to come for a sleepover to catch the monster.

They devise a trap and capture the monster only to learn that the creature can speak. It hasn’t meant to cause any harm, it’s just trying to feed its family. The monster shows them his home and his three little children and begs the boys not to turn them over to the adults. Adults, he says, want to destroy monsters.

The boys are left in a pickle. Allow the monsters to be and get grounded, or turn the monsters in,​ knowing what will happen to them? Neither idea seems good, so they come up with a new plan!

My Thoughts:

This is the kind of story that touches your heart in a very unexpected way. The story starts out with a typical problem many of us have faced at one point or another in our lives; socks that seem to disappear from the laundry.

Max, an inquisitive young boy, sees a tiny piece of torn clothing on the floor and investigates the problem. Max and his friend Ryan create a trap that catches the green monster with three eyes. This all seems par for the course for two young boys. I could see my own son trying to devise a trap like this a few years from now to investigate mysterious problems.

Spoiler Alert:

What I liked most about this book though was how kind and compassionate the boys were once they caught the monster. After finding out that the monster had children of its own the boys asked to see them. After greeting the babies the boys realize they need to come up with a long term food solution that doesn’t involve their dirty socks.

The monsters discover that they love eating bad homework just as much as socks so the boys devise a plan to take them to their school where they can dig in the trashcans every night to look for papers with bad grades.

I love how the two boys who originally want to capture the monster and possibly harm him end up finding them a better home where the entire monster family can be fed and happy.

At the basic level this is a story about two boys and a monster, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find it’s also a feel good story about understanding the problems of those around us and finding solutions that can help us work together.

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free, but the opinions I have expressed are my own.

February 9, 2015 at 8:00 AM 7 comments

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