Dad of Divas' Reviews: February 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Book Review - The Ambrose Deception

The Ambrose Deception



About the Book
Melissa is a nobody. Wilf is a slacker. Bondi is a show-off. At least that's what their middle school teachers think. To everyone's surprise, they are the three students chosen to compete for a ten thousand-dollar scholarship, solving clues that lead them to various locations around Chicago. At first the three contestants work independently, but it doesn't take long before each begins to wonder whether the competition is a sham. It's only by secretly joining forces and using their unique talents that the trio is able to uncover the truth behind the Ambrose Deception--a truth that involves a lot more than just a scholarship.

With a narrative style as varied and intriguing as the mystery itself, this adventure involving clever clues, plenty of perks, and abhorrent adults is pure wish fulfillment.



My Take on the Book
Emily Ecton has written an interesting and exciting chapter book which your child will enjoy. There is mystery and until almost the end of the book, the reader is still wondering how this will all end.
Melissa, Wilf, and Bondi are students at the same school. They are chosen to compete for a $10,000 scholarship. In order to win the scholarship they must solve three clues each. The story takes place in Chicago and the students find locations in Chicago to solve their clues.


As they begin their competition they work independently but something unusual happens. The students figure out that they are being scammed by two individuals who are the children of Enoch Ambrose. He was a millionaire who was supposed to have died. So they join forces as a team and things begin to happen.


Yes, supposed to have died. As the students begin to work together so they win the inheritance instead of just the $10,000, they find out that those helping and not helping them are not who they thought they were.


It is an exciting chapter book with lots of twists and turns. The students prove their teamwork wins and guess what,  Enoch Ambrose is not dead either!
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Book Review - The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection: Volume One

The Phoenix Colossal Comics Collection: Volume One



About the Book
A collection of different comics content taken from the issues of The Phoenix, this bind-up pulls together different humorous, informative, action-packed, and brain-teasing stories into one mega-comic bind-up!

A practical buffet table for kids to enjoy, brought together in a tailored format and with in-house favorites like Bunny vs. Monkey and Evil Emperor Penguin alongside all-new characters and properties for them to love. The Phoenix Comic Bind-Up provides the unique experience of reading a great comic or magazine... but with loads more material!


My Take on the Book
This book has a ton of great comics from the pages of The Phoenix. Being someone that has not read much from The Phoenix before, but I can tell you that this book was a ton of fun to read through and all of the collection that was shared offered humor, adventure and more. The artwork was beautiful throughout and each was unique from each other. If you love graphic novels and comics, this collection is a must have!

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Book Review - We Don't Eat Our Classmates

We Don't Eat Our Classmates



About the Book
It's the first day of school for Penelope Rex, and she can't wait to meet her classmates. But it's hard to make human friends when they're so darn delicious! That is, until Penelope gets a taste of her own medicine and finds she may not be at the top of the food chain after all. . . . Readers will gobble up this hilarious new story from award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins.


My Take on the Book
This was a very fun book that looks at what it is like for someone to start at a new school and be different than so many others. I love that the T-Rex says that humans are tasty and has to keep her tendencies to eat humans under control! The book was a ton of fun and has some great messages included within it as well that any parent will love to share with their own kids!

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Book Review - The Itchy Book!


The Itchy Book!



About the Book Triceratops has an itch. . . so does Pterodactyl. . . and Brontosaurus. . . and T-Rex! But Dino-Mo reminds them all of the BIG rule: Dinosaurs do not scratch! What's an itchy dinosaur to do? Find out in this hilariously charming beginning reader by author/illustrator LeUyen Pham.


My Take on the Book
This book had a fun story that was accompanied by so many amazing images. My daughter and I loved that this book really looks at having an itch in a whole new way and it helped my daughters to think about how they would itch if they were a dinosaur too! You will get lost in this fun short story, but even more, the images will bring you deeper and deeper into the story and really engage you as well! This was a fun story for the whole family!

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Book Review - There Was an Old Mermaid Who Swallowed a Shark!

There Was an Old Mermaid Who Swallowed a Shark!



About the Book
There was an old mermaid who swallowed a shark. I don't know why she swallowed a shark, but it left no mark!

Scholastic's bestselling Old Lady is starring in a brand-new adventure series that will make you laugh AND learn! In this new spin-off, the Old Lady turns into an Old Mermaid, travels down into the ocean, and swallows a shark . . . and a squid, and a fish, and an eel, and a crab, and a sea star, and a clam . . . Why? Well, it was fun to cram her mouth with a clam!

Two new characters lead the reader through this hilarious adventure while exchanging some awesome facts about the creatures down under for a light take on nonfiction that's perfect for this age. With expanded sea creature back matter and a search-and-find game at the end, this Old Mermaid is making quite a splash!


My Take on the Book
This was a fun book that uses repetition and bring forth a fun new character that is sure to be one that you will remember for a long time. I love how there is a bit of a twist at the end of this book that was also so fun too. I love these books and so do my daughters!

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Book Review - Charlie and Frog

Charlie and Frog



About the Book
All Charlie Tickler wants is for his parents to listen.

Charlie's parents have left him (again). This time they are off to South Africa to help giant golden moles. And Charlie? He's been dumped with his TV-obsessed grandparents. Lonely and curious, Charlie heads into the village of Castle-on-the-Hudson, where a frightened old woman gives him a desperate message-in sign language. When she suddenly disappears, Charlie is determined to find answers.

All Francine (aka Frog) Castle wants is to be the world's greatest detective.

Frog, who is Deaf, would rather be solving crimes than working at the Flying Hands Cafe . When Charlie Tickler walks into the cafe looking for help, Frog jumps at the chance to tackle a real-life case.

Together, Charlie and Frog set out to decipher a series of clues and uncover the truth behind the missing woman's mysterious message. Charlie needs to learn American Sign Language (fast) to keep up with quick-witted Frog. And Frog needs to gather her detective know-how (now) to break the case before it's too late.

Discover the surprising ways people listen in debut author Karen Kane's page-turning mystery filled with humor, intrigue, and heartwarming friendships.



My Take on the Book
This book is a mystery but it is also a story about a young boy named Charlie who is trying to find his place to live. His parents fly all over the world and he feels they do not really pay attention to him. He stays with his grandparents who love to just watch TV. It is not until he meets a deaf woman named Aggie that the mystery begins and he meets a young girl nicknamed Frog that he begins to feel part of a "family" and community.

Yes there is a mystery and the reader is brought through their investigations and their deciphering of the numbers and letters of a gravestone of a known and loved author of the town. 

There appears to be danger as two men, Dex and Ray, try to steal a book which holds a valued treasure. The treasure is not what they thought, but something that each person who puts it on, a knitted scarf, can learn to feel the power within them.

Charlie needs to learn sign language as Frog and her parents are deaf. But that knowledge and his friendship with Frog's family leads him to the life and education he was hoping for while his parents are still traveling. Charlie begins to develop a new relationship with his grandparents too as they watch less TV and pay more attention to him.

It is a good chapter book with many good values.
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Friday, February 16, 2018

Book Review - Let's Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done

Let's Stop Meeting Like This: Tools to Save Time and Get More Done




About the Book

Ugh—meetings. They’re where productivity goes to die, right? There has to be a better way. According to leading consultants Dick and Emily Axelrod, there is.

Using the same principles that make video games so engaging and that transformed the numbing assembly line into the dynamic shop floor, the Axelrods outline a flexible and adaptable system used to run truly productive meetings in all kinds of organizations—meetings where people create concrete plans, accomplish tasks, build connections, and move projects forward. They show how to design every aspect of a meeting—from the way you greet people at the beginning to how you sum up at the end—so that real work actually gets done. Those who have adopted this system will never go back. Neither will you.



My Take on the Book

As someone that conducts many meetings I have to say that this book was a great book that really provides you with a clean plan for how you can prepare well and conduct great meetings. I found the book to be written in a way that was very practical and definitely provided a manager like myself with great tools that could be put to use right away.

The book was short and engaged the reader from beginning to end. There are great examples shared throughout the book that make the concepts tangible.

If you want to transform your meetings this book will help you do just that!


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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review - Secrets of Topsea: A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!

Secrets of Topsea: A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean!



About the Book
Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!

New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom keeps saying they'll get used to life in their new town-it's just the way things are on the coast! But after his first day at Topsea School, Davy finds himself wondering: Why is his locker all the way at the bottom of the school swimming pool? Why can't anyone remember his name? (It's Davy!) And why does everyone act like all of this is normal?!

Through newspaper articles, stories, surveys, notifications, and more, follow Davy and the rest of Ms. Grimalkin's fifth grade class through the weird world of Topsea. (Whatever you do, don't make eye contact with the rubber ducks.)



My Take on the Book
Davy Jones is a new 5th grader at Topsea School. Davy notices right away that this town and the school are very unusual (at least to him). For example seaweed can be found in your bed around your feet, in your cereal bowl and you can expect to be served seaweed burgers on a seaweed bun in the school cafeteria.

The reader will get to know Davy's new friends. As the friends play together you will learn about the town : the water park that often is not open, the closed arcade that the kids can get into, and there is the lighthouse in the middle of town with no doors but there is a lightkeeper living there. And more!
Some of the adventures are when Finn was stuck to the chewing gum wall. Another one involving Finn and friends was the running on the boardwalk and an old woman (troll) who lives under the boardwalk gives Finn a bell. What is so great about the bell is that Finn who has a quiet voice, can now get the attention of his friends by ringing the bell. I enjoyed that chapter.

In spite of all the strangeness of Topsea, Davy and his mother seem to begin to settle in and adjust.Davy continues to ask questions and may be confused by events, but the kids at the school accept him as a new friend by the end of the book. 

The authors have really used their creative powers in this book.
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Review - Toy Academy: Some Assembly Required


Toy Academy: Some Assembly Required



About the Book
Playing is serious business.

Welcome to Toy Academy: where toys learn to play. This is where action figures train to battle, stuffed animals study the art of the hug, and collectibles practice standing very, very still.

Though Grumbolt isn't really any of those things, he's determined to fit in. But when the Evil Toy Academy threatens to bring down his school, it's up to Grumbolt to go where no good toy has gone before and prove he's truly a great toy after all.

This laugh-out-loud chapter book by Brian Lynch, the writer of Minions and a writer of The Secret Life of Pets, is a classic in the making.




My Take on the Book

This was such a fun book. My daughter read this with me and we had a blast reading it together. As a father I loved the these surrounding the idea of finding where you belong. The images throughout the book were engaging and draw the reader further into the story. My daughter flew through this book and even as an adult I found this to be greatly enjoyable. The book has a great balance of adventure and humor and it is geared toward kids that are in at least third grade.


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Book Review - Bunny vs. Monkey: Book Three

Bunny vs. Monkey: Book Three




About the Book
It's quiet in the woods today. Isn't it lovely? Really quiet. Really, very--

WHAMMMM! KER-THWUMP!

What's that?! It's Bunny and Monkey fighting with all sorts of crazy inventions...

The Vacuphant!

The Stench!
A carrot!

But wait! Something else has just arrived in the woods--something new. Something called "Hew-Mans"...

It's Bunny vs. Monkey: Book Three!




My Take on the Book
This was such a funny book! The story was fun, the characters were memorable and the artwork simply jumps off the page. The book was a quick read and my daughter and I reading this together got through this very quickly! This is a book that was perfect for elementary-age kids. The humor and topics were definitely appropriate. Get ready to laugh out loud in this fun book that you will want to read along with your own child!


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Book Review - Mazecraft Adventure

Mazecraft Adventure




About the Book
Your adventure is about to begin right here!

This fun book is a packed with mazes to explore, hidden characters to discover, and all sorts of things to color. It features a whole cast of characters that offer directions to guide you through weird and wonderful places, including:

  • Magic Grotto
  • Jungle Run
  • Gorilla Gang
  • Rodeo Ranch
  • Pirate Isle
  • Dragon's Lair, and more

Find intriguing mazes, fun spot-the-difference tasks, complete the puzzle challenges, and more. Encounter everything from dragons and dinosaurs to wizards and werewolves as you explore the world's most dangerous mazes in this amazing Mazecraft Adventure!



My Take on the Book
This is a great book filled with some very fun mazes. What was fun was that they are not your typical mazes, instead you get fun ones with wearwolves, dragons and more! Some of the mazes do take a bit of effort to get through, but they were a ton of fun to do by yourself or with a friend!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review - There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed A Map

There Was An Old Pirate Who Swallowed A Map



About the Book
There was an old pirate who swallowed a map. I don't know why she swallowed a map--ARGH!--but it wasn't a trap!

Scholastic's bestselling OLD LADY is starring in a brand-new adventure series that will make you laugh AND learn! In this new spin-off, the OLD LADY turns into an OLD PIRATE who travels across the seas, swallowing a map . . . and a rope, and a sword, and a spyglass, and an anchor, and a flag, and a treasure. . . Why? Well, it was a pleasure to swallow that treasure!

Two new characters lead the reader through this hilarious adventure while exchanging some awesome facts about life on the open seas for a light take on nonfiction that's perfect for this age. With expanded back matter about life on a ship and a search-and-find game at the end, this OLD PIRATE definitely has sea legs!



My Take on the Book
In this funny story our infamous old lady transforms here into an old pirate swallowing all things that would be found on a pirate ship: map, anchor, line, spyglass, etc. Two children are her companions on her ship and comment on how they can continue on their journey to locate the treasure. There are humorous illustrations by Jared Lee, filled with lots of interesting details. The author writes in rhyme which makes the text fun to read. At the end of the book is a glossary of terms for the items used on the pirate ship and a search and find game for the reader to enjoy. This will be a story to delight your child and read often.

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Book Review - Geronimo Stilton Micekings: The Dragon Crown


Geronimo Stilton Micekings: The Dragon Crown



About the Book
Geronimo's cousin Trap has been captured by Gobbler the Putrid, the king of the dragons! If Geronimo can deliver the Crown of the Seven Rubies, Gobler will release Trap. Can Geronimo return the crown safely?



My Take on the Book
In this chapter book, once again Geronimo Stilton and his mouse friends and family must be brave as they help each other during their adventures. The authors have taken care to make sure the reader is introduced to the characters with detailed descriptions. I enjoyed reading this early part of the book and it made it easier to understand the characters as I read each chapter.

There is humor and interesting ways that the text has fun with the words and color coding important words for the reader.

There is adventure as Geronimo is captured by two dragons. Thea and Trap set him free , but then Trap is captured. So again, there are plans to be made to help Trap escape.

The story is fast paced and the reader will enjoy each chapter and of course the happy conclusion to the story.

Your second through fourth grader will enjoy this fast action story.
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Book Review - Geronimo Stilton: The Hunt for the Colosseum Ghost

Geronimo Stilton: The Hunt for the Colosseum Ghost



About the Book
The Colosseum is being haunted by a gladiator ghost. None of the tourists want to visit anymore! Geronimo must solve the mystery and rid the site of its ghost.

*Plus BONUS Mini Mystery: The Cheese Burglar

Can Geronimo clear his name and catch the real thief before it's too late?




My Take on the Book
In this Geronimo Stilton book there are two stories. The first one is about the Colosseum ghost and the second one is titled THE CHEESE BURGLAR. I found both stories fun to read with fast paced action and scenes where the reader had to think about what was happening and what might happen next.

In the Colosseum Ghost, the reader will learn facts about Rome, the ancient buildings, and the role of a Gladiator. Geronimo , nephew Benjamin and niece Trappy travel to Rome and become involved in a mystery taking place in the Colosseum. Tourists are afraid to enter the Colosseum because they are frightened by a Galdiator ghost. As this fast paced adventure proceeds, we learn that Madame No wants to purchase the Colosseum and already the reader might be thinking she is behind the mystery. And she is. As the mystery is being solved and Madame No escapes, one will wonder if she shows up again in another story.

In The Cheese Burglar, the reader becomes the investigator and is guided through each chapter to help in solving the mystery of the stolen cheese rinds. Unfortunately Geronimo is jailed because they think he is the thief,but with the help of his family and friends, the real thief is revealed. However the thief escapes. There are many visual clues so make sure as a reader you look at the illustrations. At the end of this section are "cheesy jokes" that your young person will find fun to read.

Your second through fourth grader will enjoy this story.
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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Review - Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People

Talent Magnet: How to Attract and Keep the Best People



About the Book
There is a long-standing truth in the world of organizations: talent wins! But how do you attract the best people? What do they really want? Based on his rigorous and extensive research, Mark Miller learned that top performers are looking for very different things than solid contributors.

In Talent Magnet, Miller uses a clever and entertaining business fable to share these findings. He tells the parallel stories of Blake Brown, a CEO struggling with winning the war for talent, and Blake's sixteen-year-old son Clint, who is trying to get his first job so he can raise money to buy a well for a village in Africa.

Blake reaches out to leaders in other industries and works with his team to solve the puzzle of making his organization a destination for exceptional performers. But he also learns from his son. Listening to Clint and his friends compare notes on the companies they've worked for that summer, ranging from the awful to the inspirational, Blake realizes they want the same three things out of a job as any top performer in a Fortune 500 company.

Miller identifies these three critical aspects of a true talent magnet and explores the deeper meaning of each. He pulls back the curtain on what leaders can do to find and retain the very best people--a strategic need every leader faces.



My Take on the Book
As someone that has to create a team that will move our division and vision forward getting the right people for the open positions that I have is critical. This book is a book that really opens up the world for any manager to better understand what they can do to attract amazing employees. On top of this I will say that this book is very actionable and offers you so many hints, tips and more that you can use right away to make changes that will move your company forward. On top of attracting great people the book also provides you some amazing ideas to retain top talent too. This was a book that I read though quickly at first, but then went back a second time to make sure I did not miss anything the first time. A great book that will make a huge difference in the way you attract and retain employees!

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Book Review - Children in Our World: Racism and Intolerance


Children in Our World: Racism and Intolerance



About the Book
With our 24/7 news cycle and constant access to the latest headlines, the world can be a scary place. Now imagine you're a child trying to make sense of it all!

That's where books from the Children in Our World series can help. Each book uses relatable comparisons, carefully researched text, and striking illustrations to help kids understand the many difficulties that children just like them face in the world today. In Racism and Intolerance, children can get answers to questions like: "What does it mean to be a racist--or intolerant?" and "How can I help?" Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and become empowered to make a difference. Award-winning illustrator Hanane Kai uses a deft hand to create powerful illustrations that help children visualize the people impacted by poverty, hunger, war, racism, and more. All of the images are sensitively rendered and perfectly suited for younger children. These books are an excellent cross-curricular resource--use them to explore important issues and tie them into discussions about food, wealth, compassion, empathy, and current affairs.



My Take on the Book

Racism comes in so many types and may people, maybe even you have been effected. Being treated differently because of the color of our skin color, parents or country is not acceptable today but our kids also need to know what this means and why this should not continue and this book does a tremendous job at tackling the topic head on. The book illustrates powerfully the experiences of black families and it really allows you to open up lines of communications with your kids about this important topic!

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Book Review - Children in Our World: Global Conflict

Children in Our World: Global Conflict





About the Book
With our 24/7 news cycle and constant access to the latest headlines, the world can be a scary place. Now imagine you're a child trying to make sense of it all!

That's where books from the Children in Our World series can help. Each book uses relatable comparisons, carefully researched text, and striking illustrations to help kids understand the many difficulties that children just like them face in the world today. In Global Conflict, children can get answers to questions like: what is global conflict? And how does it affect people in countries all over the world? Children will begin to understand the way others struggle with these issues and discover ways they can help. Award-winning illustrator Hanane Kai uses a deft hand to create powerful illustrations that help children visualize the people impacted by poverty, hunger, war, racism, and more. All of the images are sensitively rendered and perfectly suited for younger children. These books are an excellent cross-curricular resource--use them to explore important issues and tie them into discussions about food, wealth, compassion, empathy, and current affairs.


My Take on the Book
This was a powerful book that really allows you to better understand global conflict and have some very important conversations with your kids. With the world being like it is, too often we see conflict rising around us. While this can be scary, this book shares details in a way a child can understand and will not allow young kids to be frightened by the concepts, even though some of them may be scary or even confusing. This book helps to start a common dialogue on these issues!

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