Dad of Divas' Reviews: March 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Book Review - If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan Empire

If You Were Me and Lived in....the Mayan Empire
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About the Book
Join Carole P. Roman and travel through time to visit the most interesting civilizations throughout history in the first four books of her new series. Learn what kind of food you might eat in Ancient Greece, the clothes you wore in 15th century Renaissance Italy, what your name could be in Viking Europe, and what children who lived during the Han Dynasty did for fun. If You Were Me and Lived in...does for history what her other award-winning series did for culture. So get on-board this time-travel machine and discover the world through the eyes of a young person just like you.



My Take on the Book
I have visited some of the Mayan ruins in the past and learned some about the civilization then, but this book gives you an even greater insight into the Mayan civilization. I have found this civilization an interesting one over the years, and while brutal in some ways, the book allows you to really explore more of the history, religion, culture, clothing and daily activities as well. On top of this though, the author also shares information on things like employment, city and home environment, famous buildings, food choices, necessary attire, monetary values, education, hobbies, and even important people and what they accomplished.

You can tell that the author has done her research and this is not the first book in which she has provided this amazing information and more.


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Book Review - If You Were Me and Lived in...Germany: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

If You Were Me and Lived in...Germany: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World
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About the Book
Join Carole P. Roman when she visits the beautiful land of Germany in the newest book of her informative series. Learn about the varied customs and cultures. Travel to the central Europe to discover what you would eat and do for fun. See the land through the eyes of a youngster like you and understand what life is like in this exciting place. Don't forget to look at the other books in the series so that you can be an armchair world traveler.


My Take on the Book
This is a great book about Germany. My relatives are from this country but I have never been there myself. What I love about this book is that it allows me to better understand the country, the people, the culture and people. The book gives you a glimpse into some of the unique aspects of this country and makes me want to visit it even more now that I have read more. Carole Roman continues to bring you great insights into foreign countries and times long gone and I am glad that she does!


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Book Review - A Handful of Stars

A Handful of Stars

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About the Book
When Lily's blind dog, Lucky, slips his collar and runs away across the wide-open blueberry barrens of eastern Maine, it's Salma Santiago who manages to catch him. Salma, the daughter of migrant workers, is in the small town with her family for the blueberry-picking season.

After their initial chance meeting, Salma and Lily bond over painting bee boxes for Lily's grandfather, and Salma's friendship transforms Lily's summer. But when Salma decides to run in the upcoming Blueberry Queen pageant, they'll have to face some tough truths about friendship and belonging. Should an outsider like Salma really participate in the pageant-and possibly win?

Set amongst the blueberry barrens and by the sea, this is a gorgeous new novel by Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord that tackles themes of prejudice and friendship, loss and love.


My Take on the Book
First , I highly recommend this book for a middle age reader . It would also be a great chapter book for an adult and child to share. The story is rich in character development. It involves Lily who lives with her grandparents in Maine. It is blueberry season and she meets Salma who is a young migrant worker. They develop a fast friendship.

It is a story about a little girl's loss of not knowing her mother. It is a story about the same little girl, Lily , who is trying to raise money for her dog to have cataract surgery. It is a story about bravery, dreams, friendship, and striving to set a goal and reach it. It is a story about Salma who travels with her family and dreams of never having to move again.

There are so many real life situations in this book. As an adult , it was a great story which I enjoyed. I think you will also see the value of the content of this story. 

Cynthia Lord has written a beautiful story.


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Book Review: American Girl: The Real Z

American Girl: The Real Z
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About the Book
And action! Z knows what she's doing when it comes to making movies. She's an expert at stop-motion video. In this first book about the aspiring filmmaker, Z has to make a whole new kind of movie--a documentary--and it's harder than she thought. Z wants to wow the judges, but she's not sure her ideas are good enough for a film festival. With the help of her friends, Z shoots a lot of footage, but something about it doesn't feel right. Should she start over? As she tries to make a movie she can be proud of, Z discovers that to be a real filmmaker, she'll first have to be her real self.



My Take on the Book
Suzanne Yang or Z and her best friend Lauren love to make movies. They are especially good at making stop motion videos. They work together setting up the scenes, moving the props, videoing the action, and editing. 

Suzanne was invited to participate in a contest. She had to produce a documentary film for the Cloud Song Seattle Film Festival. The prize was $1500. Z decides on the topic and believes that the film will be easy to produce. However she soon realizes there will be many challenges.
So some of the challenges like a broken guitar string for a singing group she wanted to record. That the thunderstorm kept them from videoing. The filming took longer than anticipated. And the list goes on and on. What Suzanne learned is that this is where her problem solving skills had to kick in in order to produce the film for the festival. She learned from her mistakes.
This is a good story about perseverance in trying to reach a goal.
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Book Review - Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella

Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella


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About the Book
Once there was a girl named Harper who had a rare musical gift. She heard songs on the wind, rhythms on the rain, and hope in the beat of a butterfly’s wing.

Harper lives in the City of Clouds, an enchanting place where it rains every day and an umbrella is always a good idea. With her Aunt Sassy, her beloved cat, Midnight, and all of her neighbors in the Tall Apartment Block, every day is full of possibility.

But when every cat in the city goes missing—including Midnight—Harper is determined to find all of the precious pets. And she’ll need a magic, flying umbrella to help in her search. Recruiting friends from her building to help, the magic umbrella whisks them into the sky on the trail of the cats and adventure.

They stumble on the Midnight Orchestra—tabbies on triangle, Siamese singing, Persians on piccolo—all under the direction of its fearsome, wild conductor. But can the group use their talents, quick thinking, musical skill, and a little magic to stage a rescue like no other?

Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella is a spellbinding tale of friendship, music, and magic featuring a diverse cast, brought to life through stunning illustrations. A perfect book to be shared and treasured.



My Take on the Book
Cerrie Burnell's chapter book is a story about magic, music, the cooperation of friends, bravery and perseverance.

Harper's cat and other cats are missing. After searching the City of Clouds where Harper lives, they locate the cats. The Wild Conductor stole them to create his cat orchestra.
Harper and her friends: Nate , Ferdie and Liesel are able to free the cats with the help of the magical scarlet umbrella. Along the way there is adventure for the friends . Sometimes it appears dangerous.
The story illustrates how each of the main characters had a special gift which they used to solve the problem of having their cats returned to them.
It was an interesting story. It definitely shows how people working together can create a change and solve a problem.
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Friday, March 24, 2017

Book Review - Geronimo Stilton Spacemice: Pirate Spacecat Attack

Geronimo Stilton Spacemice: Pirate Spacecat Attack

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About the Book
The on board computer on spaceship MouseStar 1, Hologramix, is out of order! To fix it, Geronimo Stiltonix must take it to a brilliant inventor who lives on a distant planet. But while Hologramix is being repaired, pirate spacecats attack, and steal it! Can the spacemice get Hologramix back before the spacecats turn it evil and set it against them?
My Take on the Book
If you have read any of the Geronimo Stilton books you will recall they have adventure, funny lines, and great characters. This latest book is no exception.

Geronimo is the captain of Mouse Star 1, a spaceship. The space ship is equipped with a computer called Hologramix. As the space ship is traveling , Hologramix begins to have some major problems so Geronimo and his crew stop to have it repaired.

The repair goes well, but then the mean and stinky space cat pirates steal the computer. It is up to Geronimo and his crew to outfox the pirates and retrieve their computer.

This adventure story is one that a second to fourth grade child would enjoy reading.


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Book Review - Boo Laa Laa: School for Ghost Girls

Boo Laa Laa: School for Ghost Girls

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About the Book
Best friends Maude, CJ, and Tiny are so excited to start third grade at Boo Academy (affectionately called Boo La La), the world's premier haunting school! The ghost girls love their new dorm mother, Ms. Finley. But she has some strange characteristics that make them think that she might be... human. Could it be?! The ghost girls are determined to find out, for the sake of their school -- and the entire ghost world!


My Take on the Book
This is a delightful chapter book on a third grade reading level with an interest level for girls between the grades of second through third grade.

Maude, CJ, and Tiny are in the third grade at Boo Academy. It is a school for ghost girls. Here they learn how to haunt, use spells, fly through humans, etc. They sleep in dormitories and eat together in a large cafeteria. The three girls have been best friends since they began school. This school year an unusual circumstance arises and they must solve the problem.

Ms. Finley is the new dorm mother. She is kind and helpful and the girls find unusual. She wears shoes, her nose cannot detect fine odors, and the girls become suspicious. Could she be a human? That would not be good at a school for ghosts.

This story contains all the emotions that normal girls go through. There are times when they need to ignore mean girls. There is subject matter that is hard to learn. They make mistakes. The support each other.

At the end of the story Ms. Finley explains all the unique circumstances behind why she is different.

This is a fun story to read.


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Book Review - Discover the Joy of Leadership: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Management Challenges

Discover the Joy of Leadership: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Management Challenges

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About the Book
Leading organizations and managing people are daunting tasks, especially in this rapidly changing world. Discover the Joy of Leadership: A Practical Guide to Resolving Your Management Challenges is William Steiner's handy guide for managers and leaders that provides insights for a wide variety challenges. In it, you'll find:

  • Time-tested models and theories from the very best practitioners and experts. 
  • Easily digestible chapters to assist in quickly identifying ways to respond to the challenges that confront you. 
  • Superior resources for leading others, making the best use of your time, communicating for influence and impact, dealing with change and developing relationships that matter. 
  • Targeted solutions to cut through the "noise" in your work world, based on Steiner's 30+ years of corporate leadership and coaching. 
 Providing the right tools at the right time, Discover the Joy of Leadership will help you become your own best leadership coach!



My Take on the Book
This is a great book! I love to read books that allow you to ope your eyes and see things in a new way and this book did just that. The author has brought his many years of leadership experience to you to help coach you on some practical, time-tested tips on becoming an even stronger leader in the end. If you are someone that manages others this is a go-to book that will walk you through some easy-to-read chapters and provide you with amazing insights on issues that are timeless, From concepts of communication, office dynamics and more this is a must read! I also loved that the book explored competencies that all should work on to become stronger, and the way in which this was written was very practical in nature and allows you to make changes from the very first chapter.



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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Book Review - High-Growth Levers: How the Turnaround Mindset Propels Your Company

High-Growth Levers: How the Turnaround Mindset Propels Your Company

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About the Book
An expert guides you to growth and success!

“Mark’s strategies show how even business[es] in the most dire of times still have a set of responsibilities, a path, and processes that they can follow that will optimize their chance of turnaround and long-term success.”
—Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me

Leading corporate strategist Mark Faust proves that your business can see positive growth with the application of action plans like assessing pressures and trends and defining the culture of your company. Whether you are a millennial manager, seasoned business owner, or fledgling entrepreneur, this is a must-read guide that is sure to boost economic performance.


My Take on the Book

This is a great book that has set up a clear path and framework that you can follow and implement in your own life. I loved the focus on strategy, culture and innovation. The book was easy to read and I was able to get through it quickly.

The book offers practical tips that can easily implemented. I, for one, an so proud to have had this happen. The book is very hands on and for me, this made my own experienced even beettr in the end.

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Book Review - Farmer Able


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About the Book
The pigs are running the farm. So begins the story of Farmer Able. Everyone on his farm -- people and animals alike -- are downright downtrodden by him. He's overbearing and compulsively obsessed with profits and productivity. He's a typical top-down, power-based manager, forever tallying production numbers in his well-worn ledgers. But the more he pushes the hoofs and horns and humans, the more they dig in their heels. That is until one day when he hears a mysterious wind that whispers: "It's not all about me." Can he turn things around and begin attending to the needs of those on his farm, thus improving their attitudes and productivity? Farmer Able is an engaging parable that entertains as it enlightens. It reveals a profound truth about the dysfunction in organizations and how dramatic improvements can be made when leaders liberate employees to operate at their fullest potential and discover the significance in their work. If you're looking to develop a new and profoundly satisfying leadership style, one that advocates serving others and creating ethical, engaging workplaces and innovative environments, this book will set you on your way. If you are tired of "business as usual," this lively story will get you thinking about how to inspire your employees and produce better results.



My Take on the Book

I love to read books that place leadership into a whole new light and this author has done just that, Through a book surrounded with a parable that you can relate to, you will find that you will be inspired and motivated to make changes in your own life. While the concepts that are explored are serious and important, the author also has interjected humor in the guise of characters and text. The message that was shared was powerful and the examples used practical. In the end the the book talks to you about the importance of serving others, which is a message I have been trying to teach my own daughters! The parable shared is memorable and the messages are long lasting too.


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Book Review - The Manhood Manual: A Comic Adventure

The Manhood Manual: A Comic Adventure

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About the Book
Jeffrey Crandle is now a man! So, how can he help you? Well, Jeffrey's Dad reads books about how to get rich. Jeffrey's Mom reads a lot of books with shirtless, long-haired men on the cover, but she sometimes reads books about how to cook better too. Even Jeffrey's sister is in on the self-help book craze believe it or not. Although it isn’t going to help, his sister Kate reads books about how to look prettier and how to make boys like her. (Yeah, right!) But there isn’t one book out there on how to become the man Jeffrey Crandle is now. For him, it was hard work. The way he sees it, his bumps and bruises are your express ticket to manhood. So, for all you boys out there, this is The Manhood Manual - A Comic Adventure, the one and only super self-help handbook about getting to where Jeffrey is today – a successful, well-adjusted, good looking thirteen year-old MAN! This book is full of great stories and better lessons on how to become a man. Don't pass up this chance to learn from Jeffrey's adventures into manhood. If you're ready to become a man, get your copy of The Manhood Manual today!



My Take on the Book
This book was a ton of fun. I found that the book was truly entertainment and a fast read too. I found that so many of the stories throughout the book were relatable to ones that I had experienced in my own life. The illustrations were a ton of fun and I found that the book is one that could be read by yourself or even shared with your own kids. The book is filled with laughs and more and is one that all dads should read!



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Book Review - War and Peace

War and Peace


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About the Book
A stunning clothbound Hardcover Classics edition of Tolstoy’s great novel, one of the undisputed masterpieces of world literature

At a glittering society party in St. Petersburg in 1805, conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon’s army marches on Russia, and the lives of three young people are changed forever. The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey, and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants, to soldiers and Napoleon himself. In War and Peace, Tolstoy entwines grand themes—conflict and love, birth and death, free will and fate—with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur.

War and Peace


For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.



My Take on the Book
I had been wanting to read this for many years but it is a bit frightening at first when you see the size of this book. That being said though, this version of this classic is beautiful and well bound. As I started to read through this I found this was a truly engaging story. Also, once you start reading this you find that you can get through it much faster than you might have thought.

The story's family dynamics was remarkable. The author creates intertwining families that are navigating the nineteenth century. The story gives you a bit of everything from action to love and drama too.

While this is not a history book, Tolstoy did a great job of weaving in history and philosophy into something that is something in between the two.

In the end I can see why this has been called a classic. It was a wonderful book that all should experience!
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Book Review - Sleeping Beauty


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About the Book
Many see Time as a friend and many see Time as a foe.
But for a sleeping beauty, Time was a promise.



My Take on the Book
Cynthia Rylant has been writing beautiful stories for children for years. In this retold version of Sleeping Beauty, the reader will see some of the same events in other common versions, but the writer has also put in some of her own elements. It is once again a wonderful story.

Erin McGuire's illustrations are gently gorgeous with soft colors and lots of details. The characters' expressions are detailed beautifully.
Enjoy this slightly different version and the beautiful artwork.


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Book Review - Monster's New Undies

Monster's New Undies

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About the Book
These are my undies!
A sweet work of art!
Uh-oh! My undies!
They just fell apart.

Monster is JUST FINE with his old undies, thank you very much. But when his undies fall apart, what's a monster to do? His mommy takes him shopping, of course! But finding the perfect pair of undies is not going to be easy. . .

Come on already!
Can't you just see?
There are no new undies
just right for me.

Uh-oh! Will monster ever find the perfect pair of undies? With hilarious rhymes from the celebrated author of Crankenstein, Samantha Berger, and bright and innovative illustrations from Tad Carpenter, this bouncy tale of self-reliance is full of warmth and humor.


My Take on the Book
This is a delightful story for a young child. It has funny rhymes and colorful illustrations. The illustrator made sure the reader understands how the little monster feels throughout the story.

The story line is that little monster needs new undies. His old ones have fallen apart. He is shopping for new undies but it is a difficult decision as he does not like the undies he is finding in the store.

Your child will see the decision making going on as the little monster evaluates each pair of undies he is offered. There is a happy ending for little monster.

This story will put a smile on your face!
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Book Review - Back to School with Bigfoot

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About the Book
The first day of school is right around the corner! And everything is bigger for Bigfoot -- especially back to school problems like getting a haircut, trying on new clothes, and finding new shoes that fit! Told from a giant (and very hairy) point of view, Back to School with Bigfoot deftly tackles the worries kids face as that first day of school draws closer, and ends on a colossal high note!


My Take on the Book
This is a cute story that would be perfect to read at the beginning of a school experience for a young child. Often young children might feel hesitant to attend school. There are so many questions they may ask: will I have friends, what will I do, what will I wear, etc.

Bigfoot has some difficulties before and once he arrives at school . He is worried as he finds it difficult to shop for school clothes and shoes. He is worried about finding friends just like a child might be too. As the story progresses your child might identify with Bigfoot. Bigfoot's school experience ends well.

A good story to discuss about their anxieties attending school for the first time or a new grade.
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Book Review - Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wacky 1-2-3

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wacky 1-2-3

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About the Book
The BRAND NEW Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Wacky 1-2-3 board book makes learning numbers uniquely engaging for our youngest Ripley fans.

Count every hat on the two-headed cow.
So many animals that make you go WOW!

The Wacky 1-2-3 board book features colorful, original illustrations of animal characters based on real “believe it or not” stories and facts. Exciting scenes and simple words make learning your 1-2-3’s so much fun for everyone! Weird, wonderful, and all true… Believe It or Not!

Count on fingers, count on toes,
Then count the buttons on all of your clothes!
With animals as silly as silly can be,
That make counting as WACKY as 1-2-Ripley!

My Take on the Book
This is a sturdy board book of counting fun for young children. The pictures in the book are large and colorful. They are perfect size for your young child's fingers to touch as they learn to count. The counting book introduces the numbers 1 through 12. The numeral is highlighted along with the correct number of objects to count. This is a book that will provide hours of counting fun.
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Book Review - Ripley's Believe It or Not! ODDphabet

Ripley's Believe It or Not! ODDphabet

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About the Book
The BRAND NEW Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ODDphabet board book makes learning letters uniquely entertaining for the youngest Ripley’s fan.

B is for blobfish, and Z is for zorse.
These are all real animals, of course

The ODDphabet board book features colorful, original illustrations of animal characters based on real “believe it or not” stories and facts. Amusing rhymes make learning your ABC’s so much fun for everyone! Weird, wonderful, and all true… Believe It or Not!

It’s great to be different and one of a kind.
These animals are the best that you will ever find!
Wonder what in the world you just met
As you turn the pages of this ODDphabet!


My Take on the Book
Ripleys has created a sturdy board book for young children that is colorful and full of rhyming fun. The animals are depicted in a silly cute format with each one doing something a child might enjoy. There are the usual animals such an an alligator, cat and turtle. There are some unfamiliar animals such as an x-ray fish, blobfish and a zorse. I am sure this is a book your young child will enjoy hearing over and over again.
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