Dad of Divas' Reviews: 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Book Review - Precise Leaders Get Results

Precise Leaders Get Results

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About the Book
Throughout my career, I have observed, studied, and interviewed many leaders including CEOs, presidents, vice presidents, executives, consultants, coaches, managers, and teachers. My goal all along has been to identify what the best leaders do in order to influence, inspire, and bring out the best in people. What I have discovered is that the truly great leaders have a clear and precise understanding of three things:

  1. 1. The context—they know how to diagnose and evaluate the current environment. They see both the problems and opportunities. Afterwards, they are able to clarify “what is” and identify “what’s possible.”
  2. Themselves—they are self-aware. They know who they are and what they believe. They are clear on their mission and priorities, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. 
  3. The interaction—they know how to connect with people and make a positive impact. They understand how to present their ideas in a clear, concise, and compelling way. 

All great leaders find precise answers to the following questions:
  1. What are my core beliefs and values?
  2. What is the current situation and what is possible in the future?
  3. Why change is needed?
  4. Who needs to change and what specific changes are required?
  5. Are people able and willing to change?
  6. What is the plan to increase people’s knowledge, skills and desire?
  7. How will people benefit?




My Take on the Book
The author of this book delved deep into some great examples of leaders from numerous companies and industries. Paul Thornton examined these leaders and these businesses and found that great leaders leave nothing to question. In actuality, the author finds that the opposite is true. Instead, he found that leaders that were seen as world-class were striving for a 'precise' understanding of the company culture and employee behavior that they are seeking. The book is honest and forthright and while shorter than some books, this book goes deep, and is a book that all leaders should read!

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Book Review - Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten

Super Saurus Saves Kindergarten

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About the Book
Arnold has a plan.

The evil genius Zorgo-disguised as Mr. Zachary-will never stop him. That's because Arnold is . . . SUPER SAURUS! No kindergarten in the universe can hold him.

Or can it?



My Take on the Book
All young readers will love this story and will appreciate the fact that a mild manner character has an alter-ego. The story is a ton of fun and the images are even more fun. You will love reading this with your young readers!

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Book Review - Matylda, Bright and Tender

Matylda, Bright and Tender
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About the Book
Sussy and Guy are best friends, fourth-graders who share their silliest thoughts and deepest hopes. One afternoon, the two of them decide they must have something of their very own to love. After a trip to the pet store, they bring home a spotted lizard, the one with the ancient face and starfish toes, and they name her Matylda (with a y so it’s all her own). With Guy leading the way, they feed her and give her an origin story fit for a warrior lizard. A few weeks later, on a simple bike ride, there is a terrible accident. As hard as it is, Sussy is sure she can hold on to Guy if she can find a way to love Matylda enough. But in a startling turn of events, Sussy reconsiders what it means to grieve and heal and hope and go on, for her own sake and Matylda’s. By turns both devastating and buoyant, this story is a brave one, showing how far we can justify going for a real and true friend.



My Take on the Book
This book was an emotional roller-coaster. You get to see the main characters go through anger, despair, confusion and more all set within a middle-school context. This powerful book was written in such a way that kids in middle school can understand and appreciate and while the story is about friendship, you also see that that the deep emotions that are shared lead to a story that is honest and real. The topics covered are deep and sad at times but also the friendship that is shared is deep and the connections between the characters are truly tangible.



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Book Review - The Secret Grave: A Hauntings Novel

The Secret Grave: A Hauntings Novel

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About the Book
Nightshade can be deadly.

Hannah and Scooter's sprawling, ramshackle house is named for the lethal plant that grows in the dark woods behind it. Hannah knows she's not supposed to explore the forest or nearby Moonlight Lake. But she's feeling lonely and desperate for an adventure. And there Hannah meets Cady, a mysterious girl who promises everything Hannah's been missing. Only Cady has a secret:

Cady wants Hannah all to herself.

Soon Cady is copying Hannah's style so they can be more alike. She lies to Hannah's friends, insults Scooter, and begs Hannah to break her parents' rules and sneak out for a midnight swim. Hannah wants to believe Cady's just a little insecure. But when she discovers a cemetery beyond the lake with an eerily familiar headstone, she must decide whether to trust her new friend or dig for answers that may lead her to a watery grave . . .



My Take on the Book
If you love a good scary story this book will bring you an amazing story with characters that were well developed. The story was truly engaging and scary. You will want to go further to see what is coming on the next page and the climax of the book is held to the end and you will not see it coming! The book was a fun read that really drew me in. I found that I could not put the book down and neither will you or your kids.


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Book Review - Happily Ever Afterlife: Crushed


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About the Book
Lucy is ready for her next challenge at Limbo Central Middle School: joining a club. Or actually, forming one. Lucy and her best friend Cecily were awesome ballet dancers in life, so obviously they can start a Dance Club in the afterlife!

Not according to Georgia Sinclaire. The head of the Cheerleading squad wants to forbid cheerleaders from even trying out for Lucy and Cecily's club.

Who knew starting a Dance Club would be all about drama?



My Take on the Book
Again Lucy is trying to have a great afterlife while having to go through middle school. In this book you get to see her getting involved in different ways. While starting an organization is challenging, this book shows that it can also bring in some amazing challenges too. The book allows you to meet some new characters that were not in the first book, but brings back some loved characters too. All-in-all this was a fast read that your middle-schooler will love!

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Book Review - Happily Ever Afterlife: Ghostcoming

Happily Ever Afterlife: Ghostcoming

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About the Book
Lucy has just joined the afterlife, and as a brand-new ghost she's mostly see-through, not able to stand or sit normally, stuck in the ballet clothes she was wearing before she crossed over...and stuck in middle school. Can't a ghost get a break?

But then the cutest (ghost) boy she's ever seen turns out to be her very own guide to school, and things start looking brighter. Maybe she's not quite solid yet, but Lucy is definitely going to make this the best afterlife ever!



 
My Take on the Book
This was a fun book that lets you get in the afterlife, but also into the life of a middle school girl. You get to experience some ups and down in this characters' afterlife, but in the end you can tell that Lucy is working hard to make her afterlife an amazing one. My daughters loved reading this and I found that they did not want to put this down!


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Book Review - Vampirina at the Beach

Vampirina at the Beach

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About the Book
When the summer moon is full, a beach trip is an epic way to spend the night.



My Take on the Book
This was a fun book that lets you meet and hang 10 with a very fun Vampire. I loved the idea of being able to spend time at the beach in the Moonlight just like you would during the day. You get to have a ton of fun with her and my daughters loved being able to read another book with this memorable character!


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Book Review - Owl Diaries: Baxter is Missing

Owl Diaries: Baxter is Missing

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About the Book
Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In book 6, a famous author is coming to Treetopolis! Eva and her classmates each have to write a story to share with the author. Eva's excited! But then something terrible happens: Her pet bat, Baxter, goes missing! Eva can't think of anything to write about -- except how much she misses Baxter! With help from her friends, Eva looks everywhere for Baxter. She even hangs up MISSING posters! Where could Baxter be? And will Eva finish her story in time for the author's visit?



My Take on the Book
Another great Owl Diary! If you have never read these books they are perfect for the young reader, adding in both great illustrations and words that kids will understand. Add in a fun story that will engage the reader you get a great book. This book is definitely a fun read and the mystery is solid too!

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Book Review - Lizzie and Lou Seal

Lizzie and Lou Seal

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About the Book
What will Lizzie do when Lou Seal loses his puff?

Lizzie lovers her flip-flops. They go shuffle shuffle across the rug, smack smack on the floor tiles, and thwap thwap down the stairs. Lizzie also loves her blow-up toy, Lou Seal. Lizzie and Lou Seal are off to the beach, but beach fun turns to beach disaster when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal starts losing air! It’s a sink or swim scenario. What will Lizzie do?

This is a beautiful book with mixed media art and a lovely retro feel, for fans of Ladybug Girl at the Beach. Children will relate to Lizzie’s independence and creative problem solving and fall in love with Lou Seal themselves. Filled with lots of fun words and sounds, this is a perfect read aloud book for parents and children alike.



My Take on the Book
This was a fun book that brings summer to the forefront. You get to see the fun of summer through the eyes of an energetic girl that has so much love of life. While this has a great story, it gets a bit exciting when Lizzie loses her flip-flops and Lou Seal loses his air. You get to see some great problem solving in action and the book really uses vivid wording to make you better understand and truly feel and experience what is happening in the story! This is a book you will want to read with your kids!



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Book Review - Eerie Elementary: Sam Battles the Machine!

Eerie Elementary: Sam Battles the Machine!

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About the Book
Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

In book 6, a mysterious substitute teacher arrives at Eerie Elementary. Sam, Lucy, and Antonio think he must be up to no good! They follow him and discover he lives in mad scientist Orson Eerie's old house! And he's building a strange machine! Who is this substitute teacher? Is he trying to free Orson -- to somehow bring him back to life for real?! Sam and his friends are about to find out!



My Take on the Book
Below is a review of the book written by my daughter who is in third grade!

I think Eerie Elementety is a great book because it is about three friends that go to Eerie Elementary. Their school is alive and because of this they have to fight the school. Someone named Olson Eerie built the school over 100 years ago and is trying to come back to life. In the new Eerie Elementary book Sam battles the machine and their guest teacher has the last name Eerie. The three do research about the Eerie family tree and they find out the guest teacher was Olson Eerie's great-great grandson. At first they thought the grandson was bad, but they followed him home and the grandson was by the machine. He found the three and trapped them in a dead end. They thought he is trying to bring Olson Eerie back to life, but the teacher said that he found the machine when he moved in and they he is working to make sure that Olson can never can come back. I think this is a great series for readers my age!








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Book Review - Open in Case of Emergency

Open in Case of Emergency

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About the Book
A mysterious box arrives at the door marked OPEN IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. That sure is handy for Zachary J. Warthog. Need a packet of sugar? Just open the box and it’s there! Clean underwear? Check.

Cyrus P. Rhinosaur gets a box, too. When he has real and true emergencies, like a tornado that hits his house, he decides the save the box for an even bigger emergency.

When Zack loses his box, suddenly—a real emergency! But no box to open . . .




My Take on the Book
This was a great book that was so fun to read. We loved reading this and you will get lost in the fun characters and great story. Will Zack find its' box? Will he be able to come back from his true emergency? You have to read this book and see!

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Book Review - Marvel: Spider-Man 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book


Marvel: Spider-Man 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book


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About the Book
Join your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and all your favorite comic characters on a new adventure from best-selling dot-to-dot artist Thomas Pavitte. With 20 complex puzzles to complete, each consisting of at least 1,000 dots, Marvel fans will have hours of fun bringing Spidey and his friends, allies, and most villainous foes to life.



My Take on the Book
I am a huge Spider-Man fan and this book is perfect for any Spider-Man fanatic. You get 20 great puzzles to complete and then you can actually move to the next level and color the pictures that you have created next. Each of the puzzles take a little bit of time as there are a ton of dots to connect, but you will love the resulting pictures in each one! This was an awesome book that all fans of Spider-Man will love!

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Activity Kit Review - Star Wars Builders: Droids

Star Wars Builders: Droids
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About the Book
From astromech driods plotting courses across the galaxy to protocol droids translating many different languages—droids are central to life the galaxy and can do almost anything! Learn about different types of droids and their many functions and become a droid expert and master builder. This kit includes a 64-page paperback book and thick puzzle-like pieces to build your own BB-8, C-3PO, and R2-D2. Take your favorite droids along for the ride on your next mission in the galaxy.

Star Wars Builders: Droids



My Take on the Book
This is a great set that lets you build BB-8, C-3PO, and R2-D2. These models were easy to make and a ton of fun for all ages (including adults). The instructions were easy to follow and we loved they also did not take a ton of time either. One other nice thing was that you do not only get great models, but you also get 64 pages of great information about droids that you will find in the Star Wars movies. This is a great book and activity for any Star Wars fan.

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Activity Kit Review - Star Wars Even More Crochet

Star Wars Even More Crochet

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About the Kit
Continue your interstellar yarn adventure with Star Wars Even More Crochet! With instructions for twelve different characters and enough materials for two complete projects—BB-8 and a Jawa—your crochet collection can soon include Obi-Wan Kenobi, Lando Calrissian, Rey, Finn, and many other favorites. This kit offers hours of crafting entertainment with out-of-this-world results!



My Take on the Kit
My daughters and I worked on this, even though this was not a multi-person project. I have never been a huge crochet person, but this kit made it easy and the instructions were very clear when it came to the characters too. There is enough yarn for 2 projects (Jawa and BB-8) and then you will need more yarn to make more. Now that we have made one though we want to actually make more and you will too. Overall I think this kit is geared toward the intermediate person that has crocheted in the past. If you have never done this before you probably will find that this is difficult. They do offer more advanced options for you if you are at that level of skill. If you are a beginner, you could try this but it may be a challenge. The only thing to keep in mind is that materials are limited in the kit and you may want additional or even better quality yarn when making these cool characters.


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Book Review - Dinosauria: Dinosaurs to Color and Facts to Discover

Dinosauria: Dinosaurs to Color and Facts to Discover

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About the Book
Enter a prehistoric landscape filled with dinosaurs that you can bring to life with color! Dinosaur lovers of all ages, get ready to rejoice! This coloring book will offer you hours of coloring fun that will help you relax, unwind, and learn some exciting new things. Enter a landscape populated by dozens of dinosaurs, just waiting to leap off the page as you bring them to life with color. Illustrated by popular author Claire Scully (who co-illustrated our bestselling title, The Menagerie), Dinosauria is filled with striking portraits of many different types of creatures to color and complete. Lose yourself in this prehistoric world as you encounter each glorious beast, including the Stegosaurus, Diplodocus, Spinosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and many others. Each portrait is also accompanied by fascinating facts about these creatures. Includes perforated pages.


My Take on the Book
This is a great book with some amazing images to color but even better there is a ton of information in regards to each of the dinosaurs that are covered too. This is a new approach to a coloring book that allows it to not only entertain but educate which makes the book truly unique!

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Activity Book Review - Star Wars Builders: Millennium Falcon

Star Wars Builders: Millennium Falcon

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About the Book/Kit
Discover what makes the Millennium Falcon the most famous ship in the galaxy with this master builder kit! Featuring a 64-page book detailing out some of the ship's most daring adventures and introducing members of the crew, Star Wars fans will enjoy learning more about one of the most legendary starships in the galaxy. Plus, this kit includes thick puzzle-like pieces so fans can build their very own Millennium Falcon ship for all their adventures.

Star Wars Builders: Millennium Falcon




My Take on the Book/Kit
This was an amazing kit that not only allows you to read about and understand a ton about Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. On top of this though you can build the Millennium Falcon too. Talk about a ton of fun! I loved this myself and my daughters thought that the kit was not too difficult too. I loved that you could not only learn about the ship but also the characters and you had something tangible at the end of the project too!


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