Dad of Divas' Reviews: 2018

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Book Review - Greatest Magical Stories

Greatest Magical Stories



About the Book
Award-winning children's writer and former United Kingdom Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo has collected the greatest magical stories and put them all together for your reading pleasure.

From tiny heroes and talking frogs to meddling fairies and mysterious sea creatures, all the wonders of the magical world are right here. This timeless collection will be treasured forever by children looking for something magical to read alone or to share. Stories include "The Frog Prince," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Sleeping Beauty," and more. Strikingly illustrated and charmingly retold, there are lots of great stories from around the world that children will explore and enjoy.


My Take on the Book
This is a great book that brings forth some very fun stories that you probably know from your own childhood. Many of these fairy tales are ones that remembered as a child but there were also new ones that I had never heard too. The stories are accompanied by beautiful images that add a lot to the stories. My daughter has asked me to read these before bed, and to be honest, she really loved the stories themselves. This is a wonderful collection of stories that I loved to share with my daughter and you will love to share them with your kids too.

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Book Review - Burning Magic - A Shadow Magic Novel

Burning Magic - A Shadow Magic Novel



About the Book
In Book 3 of a three-book series, when Lily, aka the "witch queen" and bat-rider extraordinaire Thorn travel to Sultanate of Fire, things go terribly wrong. Instead of celebrating a reunion with their old friend K'leef, they are thrust into royal murder, an epic quest, and a deadly battle for the throne.
While investigating the murder, Lily learns shocking truths about her life that could destroy all she has achieved. Yet, among the ruins of her old life, she has the opportunity to become someone greater . . . and more terrifying.

Thorn and the magnificent bat, Hades, join the timid K'leef and the idiotic Gabriel Solar in a quest to find a phoenix. These fire birds are the key to saving the sultanate, but they nest within the Shardlands. The boys must defeat not only the monsters of that magical wilderness, but also rivals eager to claim the throne for themselves. Rivals that include a renegade from House Shadow . . .

Chilling surprises, ghostly encounters, and belly laughs are just some of the treats in store for readers of this burning-hot desert adventure.



My Take on the Book
This is the 3rd book in a series that has really brought together a great tale for fantasy lovers. This series really does a great job at continuing the Shadow Magic series and ending the trilogy as well. By the end of the book the plot, the characters and the overall world that has been created you will be wanting more. This was a book that has a lot of heart and definitely one that was a quick read as well. We really loved this story and hope that these character and this world might show up again in the future!

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Book Review - The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs

The Rizzlerunk Club: Best Buds Under Frogs



About the Book
In her first novel, illustrated in her inimitable style, Leslie Patricelli hits all the humorous ups and downs of being the new kid at school, navigating complicated friendships, and standing up to frenemies.

For Lily, it’s the worst first day of school ever. Who would want to be friends with the new girl, whose debut act is to throw up on the playground (on somebody’s shoes!)? Fortunately, quirky Darby comes to the rescue. Darby likes frogs and candy and oddball stuff, and soon she and Lily have formed their own club — the Rizzlerunk Club. But before you can say “BFF,” Darby’s former best friend, mean-spirited Jill — who had moved to London — returns unexpectedly. Can Lily and Darby’s friendship survive the British invasion? Peppered with charming illustrations and hilarious mishaps involving “conjoined” frogs, accidentally shaved eyebrows, and school pranks gone awry, this engaging tale of fourth-grade life will have readers wishing they could join the Rizzlerunk Club for real.



My Take on the Book
My youngest daughter has been interested in frogs lately and because of this she was interested in reading this to see what the book was like. She really liked the book as it talked a lot about friendship and brought together some great characters too. The book has some great adventures and even some misadventures too. The book also has great images spread throughout the book that I know that we loved as they did a great job at tying these into the story itself. The book was a fun and quick read and we really enjoyed it thoroughly.

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Book Review - The Pros of Cons

The Pros of Cons




About the Book
Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.

Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her internet girlfriend, for the first time.

Taxidermy assistant Callie Buchannan might be good at scooping brains out of deer skulls, but that doesn't mean it's her passion. Since her parents' divorce, her taxidermist father only cares about his work, and assisting him at the World Taxidermy and Fish-Carving Championships is the only way Callie knows to connect with him.

When a crazy mix-up in the hotel lobby brings the three girls together, they form an unlikely friendship against a chaotic background of cosplay, competition, and carcasses!




My Take on the Book
This was a really fun book that brought together a ton of fun characters. As someone that was a member of the band and a person that people thought of as a geek I could definitely relate to the characters. There were a number of converging stories that the author did a great job at bringing them all together. I also loved to see how people that are so different can have so many similarities too, as you would not expect that at first. I also have to say that going into this book I really did not know anything about taxidermy, but after reading this I can say that I feel that I better understand this as well as have a greater appreciation for it too. The book is a fun book that all ages will love!


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Book Review - The Traitor's Game

The Traitor's Game



About the Book
Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won't stop her from being drawn back into her father's palace politics. He's the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well -- and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.

The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what -- and who -- it is they're fighting for.

Jennifer A. Nielsen introduces us to an unforgettable new heroine in this epic tale of treachery and intrigue, love and deceit.



My Take on the Book
WOW, this is great book with amazing characters that are challenged by many amazing situations throughout the book. The two main characters, Kestra and Simon are ones that have so many ups and downs throughout the book that they have to overcome. My daughter and I read this together and we loved to see all of the twists and turns within the book. The book has adventure, mystery and more which made the book a quick read. There were so many intricate actions that brought forth traitors from a resistance group and you have to see how Kestra deals with this group and works to save her own family. However, as she works with the people that she believes are traitors at the beginning, she learns more and more that will make her faith in her own family falter and in the end she will have to make a choice that will define her future.



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Book Review - Lights, Camera, Disaster





About the Book
Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sabotages her every move.

But middle school is not a movie, and if her last-ditch attempt to save her language-arts grade--and her chance to pass eighth grade, period--doesn't work, Hess could lose her friends, her year, even her camera. It will take more than a cool training montage to get her life together, but by thinking outside the frame, she just might craft a whole new ending.

Written partially in script form, with STOP/PAUSE/PLAY/REWIND moments throughout, this laugh-out-loud story will speak to any budding filmmaker, or unintentional troublemaker, in every act of their lives.




My Take on the Book
This book has some great characters that really draw you into the book. Hester is a great character that has flaws but will also ring true to people reading the book. The character struggles with panic attacks and definitely others challenges and when my daughter read this, she could relate to the character itself. My oldest daughter loved that Hester dealt with the stress in her life through film making. I think my daughter enjoyed this because like Hester, she has stress and anxiety in her own life and we have had conversations in the past about how she also deals with this stress. My daughter read this in one reading and at the end she mentioned how much she loved the book and how much she thought that others would enjoy this as well.


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Book Review - How To Turn Your Grown-Up Into A Robot


How To Turn Your Grown-Up Into A Robot



About the Book
Computer coding is all about telling the computer (or robot) what to do in a way that the computer will understand. Kids learn this concept while having fun getting their grown-up to make silly sounds and motions. We cleverly incorporate the concept of variables through funny emojis that take on different values throughout the story.

Parents willing to be silly required! Kids who love BJ Novak’s The Book with No Pictures will also love this book.

My Take on the Book
This is a great book that allows your kids to better understand coding in a fun way. If you are trying to teach your kids some of the general concepts of coding, this book will definitely do this. The book teaches in such a fun way and by the end it really does teach your kids so much (even without them realizing it).

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Book Review - To the Moon and Back: Make It, Wear It, Send It, Show It!

To the Moon and Back: Make It, Wear It, Send It, Show It!



About the Book
Creative kids can stretch their imaginations to the limit with this exciting craft and activity series.

Who needs a smartphone or tablet when you've got paper? A wealth of craft ideas will have children folding, cutting, constructing, and customizing wildly imaginative projects. Make a "spacescape" collage, alien desk buddy, and other "out of this world" creations. Discover more fun activities:
  • Make It: including models to press out and build, pop-ups to construct, and step-by-step origami projects
  • Wear It: including facemasks and other accessories to cut out, personalize, and model
  • Send It: stationery to press or cut out and customize, including post cards
  • Play It: board games and other ideas for creative play that get friends and family in on the fun

Paperplay includes over 150 reusable stickers to customize everything you make. Create in a few minutes or take all day--there's always something fun to do here!



My Take on the Book
This book is full of so many activities that will provide your kids hours of fun. My daughters loved the different activities and the variety between them. They loved being able to wear some of the things as well make games to play too. The book is a ton of fun for all ages!

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Book Review - Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You're Told to Do Is Wrong

Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You're Told to Do Is Wrong



About the Book

When It’s Smart to Say No

Nearly every week we read about a tragedy or scandal that could have been prevented if individuals had said no to ill-advised or illegitimate orders. In this timely book, Ira Chaleff explores when and how to disobey inappropriate orders, reduce unacceptable risk, and find better ways to achieve legitimate goals.

The inspiration for the book, and its title, comes from the concept of intelligent disobedience used in guide dog training. Guide dogs must recognize and resist a command that would put their human and themselves at risk and identify safer options for achieving the goal. This is precisely what Chaleff helps humans do. Using both deeply disturbing and uplifting examples, as well as critical but largely forgotten research, he shows how to create a culture where, rather than “just following orders,” people hold themselves accountable to do the right thing, always.



My Take on the Book
There are definite times when you will be challenged with the dilemma of whether you will disobey an order from someone in a higher authority. This book allows you to better understand what you can do to challenge authority. This book walks you through many scenarios that will help you better conceptualize what you can do next time you are challenged with a dilemma like this.  The book explores our society and how people are trained to obey others and not challenge. The author is trying to change the discourse to allow people to challenge in ways that will move our society in a new direction that will help everyone to make the society stronger in the end.


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Book Review - Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice!

Feminist Baby Finds Her Voice!



About the Book
Feminist Baby is learning to talk
She says what she thinks and it totally rocks!

Feminist Babies stand up tall
"Equal rights and toys for all!"

Feminist Baby is back for more adventures-with new friends in tow!-in this refreshing, clever board book by two-time Emmy Award-winning author and BuzzFeed contributor Loryn Brantz.



 
My Take on the Book
This was a very cute book that offers great pictures but even better a story that allows young readers an understanding to what feminism is and also what they should know as they get older to better understand feminism too. The book is for all ages even though it is made for babies and young readers. In the end the book helps you better understand feminism and starts to change the world's understanding of what all should know to make the world a better place!

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Book Review - Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement

Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement



About the Book
Conversations can be critical and destructive, or they can be generative and productive. This book shows how to guarantee your conversations will help people, organizations, and communities flourish.

Conversations are at the core of how we interact. We all know that conversations influence us, but we rarely stop to think about how much impact they have on our well-being and our ability to thrive. This book shows how Appreciative Inquiry (AI)--one of the most widely used new approaches for fostering positive change for individuals, groups, organizations, and communities--can help everyone communicate better and flourish in all areas of their lives. Stavros and Torres spell out 2 practices and 5 principles to create great conversations. Each chapter is built around real-life stories of people using these practices and principles to strengthen relationships and generate possibilities for a future that works for everyone.


 
My Take on the Book
I have never read much on appreciative inquiry before but in this book I learned so much. The concepts shared here will definitely be ones that I will be incorporating into my daily work life as I can see the tangible ways in which this can impact my relationships at work, but even more so, impact the overall culture of the organization. The book has a ton of practical components that allow you to better understand the concepts and put them to work right away. When I read books like this, for me, having practical tips and resources as well as examples helps me to internalize the concepts. I love being able to see right away how I can use the information, and this book definitely allowed me to do just that! You will learn a ton in this book that will really change the way that you will want to live your life!


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Book Review - Peachy and Keen: A School Tail

Peachy and Keen: A School Tail



About the Book
It's the first week of school, and Peachy couldn't be happier. This year, she can finally join the school newspaper! She's always pictured herself as a star reporter, writing articles that make a difference. But when Peachy goes to sign up--and drags her hyper best friend, Keen, along with her --- they learn that the paper has shut down for good. No one's reading the news anymore! Peachy is crushed.

Just then, Keen gets a text alert, and Peachy's wheels start turning. What if the newspaper were published to student's tablets! Peachy is determined, and Keen is hungry --okay, kind of determined but mostly hungry--and they set off to make it happen. But most of the students they try to recruit are more interested in other clubs, and all of the teachers are too busy to be their advisor. Plus, Peachy & Keen get in a huge fight. Will Purrfect 9 Magazine be doomed before it even begins--along with their friendship?


My Take on the Book
Peachy and Keen are best friends. Peachy, the cat, and Keen, the dog, attend Happy Trails school. Another school year has begun and Peachy convinces Keen to begin a digital magazine for their school. They decided to call it the Happy Trails Times.

In the beginning they have some difficulty locating enough students and a staff member to be their advisor of the magazine. However all goes well with a few bumps in the road to overcome.

There are funny parts to this chapter book your child will enjoy. The story delves into the challenges that children face in friendship. It shows how problem solving together can bring success to what they hope to accomplish. A child in second through fourth grade and reading on a third grade level will enjoy this story.

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Book Review - Peachy and Keen: The Spirit Week Showdown

Peachy and Keen: The Spirit Week Showdown



About the Book It's spirit week at Happy Tails School and Purrfect9 magazine wants to get in on the fun. Gertie the unicorn wants to start a daily vlog profiling the week and Connie the Octopus thinks a prank channel will get more views.

Editor-in-Chief Peachy decides whichever channel has the most total views by the end of the week will get to show their video at the big Pep Rally. It's Peachy and Gertie vs. Keen and Connie--may the best vlog channel win!


My Take on the Book
Jason's story takes place at the Happy Trails School. All kinds of animals attend this school. Peachy, the cat, and her best friend Keen. a dog, have started an online school magazine called Purrfect 9.
The animal students decide to have a contest to see whose story/newscast receives the most viewings. So the story gives all the details of the contest. 

As the animals strive to outdo each other, the reader will see something change. The contest becomes less important than being kind to each other, supporting each other, sharing the spotlight, and being helpful.
The reader will see a different group of animal students from the beginning of the story to the end.
Just like our normal children, these animal students have the same feelings and desires. I think your child will enjoy this chapter book. It has some very funny sections . This story was written on a third grade reading level with an interest range from second through fourth graders.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Book Review - Amazing Creatures: 24 Lift-the-Flaps Projects to Color and Create Wonderful 3D Art

Amazing Creatures: 24 Lift-the-Flaps Projects to Color and Create Wonderful 3D Art



About the Book
Transform your works of art from 2D to 3D!

Take your awesome coloring skills to a whole new level with this one-sheet sculpture book. Inside these pages you'll find 24 single-sided works of art to color, including stunning illustrations of everything from peacocks to tigers, elephants to seahorses, ladybugs to butterflies, and more! The pages are printed on thick quality paper and each one has die-cut flaps that can be lifted to bring the picture to life. Feathers, fur, wings, and scales can be picked out and lifted in each portrait. Once you've colored your masterpiece, lift the flaps to customize each one, then lay a sheet of the colored paper from the back of the book beneath it to highlight the 3D effect. Project pages are perforated, so you can easily remove them. This gorgeous paper craft book is a great gift for anyone who will enjoy creating paper sculptures that are totally unique, fun, and fabulous!



My Take on the Book
This book lets you not only create amazing images that you can color but even better it allows you to change your 2D image into a 3D image. My daughters and I had a blast creating images into this book and what you create in the end allows you to be completely creative in so many ways. This was a great book that holds so many fun images you can create with your own family!


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Book Review - Street Art: Includes Scratch Paper + Stylus

Street Art: Includes Scratch Paper + Stylus



About the Book
Inspire your child's free drawing time... and then, get ready to watch them surprise you!

What is it about creating scratch art that makes kids so happy? Is it the repetitive motion of the stylus, the pleasing scratching sound it makes, or the thrill they get when the artwork underneath is revealed? Young artists can have their say with projects such as a graffiti card, proud peacock, wall flowers, alley cat, and more. Kids will find 10 different designs that show through on the black paper when they scratch the surface, plus lots of ideas for drawing and making scratch paper. There's always a big reveal and surprises galore when children start drawing with the stylus that's included. Get ready to see kids make their mark with this colorful book!



My Take on the Book
My daughter and I used this book to create some very cool scratch book images. The book was very easy to use and as you use this you get some very amazing images with colors that really pop out. As you scratch you will make a little mess so you will have to clean up a bit, but it is worth it in the end!


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Book Review - Zen Doodling: Includes Scratch Paper + Stylus

Zen Doodling: Includes Scratch Paper + Stylus



About the Book
Inspire your child's free drawing time... and then, get ready to watch them surprise you!

What is it about creating scratch art that makes kids so happy? Is it the repetitive motion of the stylus, the pleasing scratching sound it makes, or the thrill they get when the artwork underneath is revealed? This Zen-inspired book helps kids relax and unwind while creating a turtle card, magical mandala, cityscapes, and more. Kids will find 10 different designs that show through on the black paper when they scratch the surface, plus lots of ideas for drawing and making scratch paper. There's always a big reveal and surprises galore when children start drawing with the stylus that's included. Get ready to see kids make their mark with this colorful book!



My Take on the Book
This was a fun book that had so many great scratch boards that will allow you to create some very cool images. My daughter loved to use this as she loves to create artwork. The color that comes out when you scratch through this book really stands out and it allowed her to be very creative.


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DVD Review - Digimon Adventure tri: Loss

Digimon Adventure tri: Loss



About the DVD
Digimon Adventure tri: Loss is the fourth in a series of six feature length movies. After the “reboot” and Meicoomon’s rampage, Tai and friends arrive in the Digital World. They reunite with their partner Digimon, who have lost all their memories. As everyone discusses what they should do from here in the Digital World, Meicoomon suddenly appears and then disappears. She still has her memories for some reason as she wanders around, looking for Meiko. Meanwhile in the real world, Nishijima receives word that Himekawa has gone missing. As he investigates, he determines that there’s been some hidden agenda behind her behavior up to this point. It has something to do with an event in the past that determined both their destinies… Special Features: "The Evolution So Far" – Star Joshua Seth Catches Us Up To The Events Of Digimon Adventure tri.: Loss Digimon Adventure tri: Loss is the sequel to Digimon Adventure tri: Confession.


My Take on the DVD
We were very happy to see that Digimon is back. My daughters and I have loved watching these episodes in the past and this DVD set was no different. This is a great DVD that has some great episodes. Watching this you do get a better understanding of what many of the characters are doing after their adventures which was a ton of fun to see.

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