Thursday, August 29, 2013

By The Numbers



How high can you count?  With the help of these books you’ll be able to count to ten and beyond, no worries.


The M&M Counting Book by Barbara Barbieri McGrath

Can there be a better way to learn about counting than using M&M’s?  Not for me!  This book uses photographs to illustrate the concepts presented.   Kids from 3-6 years old will enjoy counting with these candies.  Buy a bag and go for it.

Ten Apples Up on Top by Theo L. LeSieg

In case you don’t recognize the author’s name, it is an alias for Dr. Seuss so you can be sure this book is a delight.  Animals balance apples and learn to count  at the same time.

You can plan a fun activity also by making stacks of ten, like ten pennies, ten cookies, ten blocks, ten Legos…well, you get the idea.  Older kids can make a graph of how high the stacks are and you have an instant math lesson wrapped in fun. Kids from 4-7 will enjoy this book.  Some will be able to read it too.


Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow

Five monkeys get into all kinds of mischief and bump their heads...well, you know the rest.  This rhyme appeals to the youngest children, everyone knows it and it never seems to get old.  The book has cute illustrations, too.  A five star book!  Kids from 2-6 will enjoy this book.  Here’s a fun rhyme to go along with it:

Five little hot dogs frying in a pan.  One got hot and it went BAM!

Four little hot dogs frying in a pan. One got hot and it went BAM!

Three little hot dogs frying in a pan.  One got hot and it went BAM!

Two little hot dogs frying in a pan. One got hot and it went BAM!

One little hot dog frying in a pan. One got hot and it went BAM! (clap when you say bam!   The kids love it)

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Suess

Poor Bartholomew.  You must remove your hat out of respect as the King passes by but Bartholomew can’t seem to rid himself of his.  Older kids will enjoy his predicament and how it unfolds.  A fun opportunity to talk about numbers.  Kids from 6-8 will enjoy this book.
Until next week, keep on reading!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth *Spoiler Alert*

  Rating 4 1/2 STARS
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprise everyone, including herself.



Beatrice Prior doesn’t belong.  In her faction of society, everyone is selfless and Beatrice feels like she is missing something in this way of life.  So on her Choosing Day, she opts to become a Dauntless, the faction she has admired from her schoolyard for their bravery and freedom.

Becoming Dauntless is not a walk in the park.  As a matter of fact, it is quite the opposite.   Since there are only some openings in the Dauntless, the trainees have to fight for their places.
 Beatrice changes her name to Tris and is beat up in competitive fights with her peers, learns to use weapons and becomes strong and agile.  She is strongly attracted to Four, her trainer who runs hot and cold towards her unlike Peter, her sworn enemy who even goes so far as to try and eliminate Tris from the competition.
After facing her worst fears in a simulation, Tris is accepted into the Dauntless faction and the next morning all hell breaks loose.

Tris is brave and clever and smart.  She is fearless in her determination to become a Dauntless.  I liked that she kept some of the traits of her former faction and her ties to her family because of it.  I could just imagine her, a tough little thing, fighting for her place and figuring out who she really was.

Four is an enigma that any young girl would want to investigate.  He is dashing and brave and seemed totally fearless.  His relationship with Tris is intriguing from the beginning.

Her fellow trainees are believable teens and I liked the bond some of them formed through their trials during training.  I also understood the enmity that was bred with some of the other trainees since violence is such a part of their world.

I would have liked to learn more about Tris’ parents, who are both mysterious in their own ways.  I would have liked Tris to get a chance to investigate her parents’ past.

*I felt disappointed that Tris didn’t get the opportunity to really be a Dauntless for a short while.  I felt like we all got cheated when war broke out the very next morning after Tris became Dauntless.

Sometimes all the violence got to me but under the circumstances it was inevitable.  Nobody wins a war without it.

If you don’t mind the violence of war, Divergent is a good read.  You should try it. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cover Reveal! Call of the Canyon

I am thrilled to present the cover for Nancy Pennick's new book, Call of the Canyon.  It is the next part of the story that began in Waiting for Dusk.  Kate and Drew's story isn't over so watch for it this fall at and

Book Blurb:

Two Lives…
Two Worlds…
Heartbreak awaits.

Call of the Canyon, second of the Waiting for Dusk series, continues the dramatic story of Kate Roberts and Drew Kelly. New challenges face the couple when Drew joins Kate in the present. Nothing is easy. Tyson’s still their nemesis, causing trouble whenever he can. Carl, Kate’s friend and neighbor, moves back home to Ohio and creates unexpected problems at the canyon. A wedding, a tragic accident and a family broken by scandal affect both the past and present. And in the end, Kate may pay the ultimate price.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Color My World

Kidz Korner

What’s more fun than a book about colors?  A bunch of books about colors!!  Enjoy these!


Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold and his purple adventure can capture the mind of the youngest child.  See how he solves his problems and comes to a happy conclusion.  I would share this book with children 2- 5 years old.  Older kids can choose their favorite color and draw an adventure of their own. Try to find the longest piece of paper you can! I know one artist who was inspired to follow his career path by this great little book.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  By Bill Martin Jr & Eric Carle.

The cadence of this story always captivates the listener.  It is fun with vibrant pictures. My favorite has always been the blue horse.  What’s yours?  I would read this book to children 2-6 years old.  As a companion, I suggest I Went Walking by Sue Williams.  Frankly, I would pop my baby on my lap as soon as he/she could sit up and share this book with them over and over until they were in kindergarten!  Simple and fun.  One of my most favorite books ever.


Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

This is a classic book that children just love.  The pictures are wonderful and the story is simple yet engaging.  Add the song, Grandpa’s Farm by Sharon Lois and Bram and you’ve got a total winner.  I would read this book to children 4-6 years old.  I’d sing that song with anyone!  It is available on iTunes.


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Older kids will get a big kick out of the letters each crayon left for Duncan, their owner.  Each color has its own gripes and Duncan needs to fix things fast. I loved how the text is in a kid’s handwriting.  I would read this book to kids 5-8 years old.  It would be a great book for teaching point of view in a story.

Monday, August 19, 2013

INK: Fine Lines by Bella Roccaforte


Rating 5  STARS


INK: Fine Lines follows the twisted path of Shay Baynes, an up-and-coming comic book artist. A horrific series of tragedies strike just as she’s finally about to hit it big. When paranormal investigator McNab uncovers a pattern of disturbing coincidences it becomes clear that this is more than just a bout of bad luck. Everyone’s in danger including Aiden & Eli who have divided Shay’s heart.

Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.

I had to put this book down a few times, not because it wasn’t enthralling, but it was so intense my brain needed time to process.  I still finished it in two days.

Shay is a comic book artist who is on the brink of success when her neighbors are brutally murdered and she becomes the number one suspect.  Her long time, on again, off again lover, Aidan, has returned to start a new pursuit of her affections.  She is drawn to him but has conflicting feelings because he has been so unreliable in the past.  She is also pursued by Eli who wants to get back together after breaking up with her.

Add to that , she is having increasingly frightening dreams about the main character of her comic books.

Shay was a likeable and admirable main character.  I liked that she wanted to be an independent woman and wasn’t cocky about her success in her career.  She was still humble and was willing to work hard to increase her comic book’s popularity.  Her dreams about her comic book hero were vivid and became more frightening throughout the book.

I could also understand her being torn between two lovers.  She had known both since childhood and they all had a history together.  Her struggle seemed very real and never contrived.

Aidan and Eli were both handsome and well described.  I could understand how Shay ws conflicted about them.  They were very different from one another yet extremely attractive in their own ways.

INK: fine lines was an exciting book that immersed this reader into Shay’s world and let me share her adventure.  If you like to be a little frightened and a little excited at the same time, this is the book for you.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School





Time for school!  How many times did I say that to my own kids?  Well, countless probably.  The next best thing to going to school is reading about it so here are a few that stand out for me.


School Bus by Donald Crewes is a classic picture book for young ones ages 2-5 years old.  They love the bold graphic pictures and it is the perfect companion to the song, The Wheels on the Bus.


The Night Before Kindergarten and The Night Before First Grade byNatasha Wing .  These two books are based on that old favorite Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The illustrations are cute and the cadence is familiar and soothing for those first-day jitters. Pick the one that’s right for you. Appropriate for ages 4-7.


Miss Nelson is Missing by Henry Allard Jr. and James Marshall.  Miss Nelson’s class has been misbehaving so, when she is absent, a nasty old substitute teacher takes her place.  A funny story about behavior in school with great illustrations by Mr. Marshall, one of the artists I admire. Appropriate for ages 5-9.


I came across a new favorite which I only picked up because of my son’s love for all things Star Wars.  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger is a hilarious tale of a weird boy whose Yoda finger puppet dishes out sage advice to sixth graders and  changes a misfit into a hero.   Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Until next week, reading keep on!



Monday, August 12, 2013

Elf Hunter

Review of Elf Hunter by C. S. Marks  Rating 5 STARS


This is the tale of Gorgon Elfhunter, a monstrous, mysterious creature who has sworn to destroy all the Elves of Alterra—until none remain. It is the story of Wood-elven heroine Gaelen Taldin, who has sworn to rid her world of the Elfhunter even as she is hunted by him. The conflict between them creates a tangled web that blurs the line between Light and Darkness, love and obsession, free will and fate. Filled with moments both tender and terrifying, thrilling yet thought-provoking, it is a timeless epic fantasy suitable for readers of all ages. Join the Company of Elves, dwarves, mortal men, and delightfully intelligent horses. Come to Alterra—the “World that Is”.

I could not put this book down. It was exciting and frightening and engrossing.

When we first meet the elves, Gaelen and Nelwyn, they have come upon a horrific scene which diverts them from their original duty.

Through a harrowing event, they meet another elf, Galador and his companion, a mortal man named Rogond.  The attraction of Galador to Nelwyn is immediate and she feels the same.  Gaelen helps to cure Rogond of his illness and he is bonded to her.

A scourge is threatening the Elf Kingdoms and these four set out to put a stop to the terrible Elf killer.

Gorgon, the Elf Hunter, is a frightening beast of a creation.  He has no feelings and no regard for any life save his own.  He hates Elves and has made a pact with the Shadowmancer to destroy all the Elves in existence.  He is not content with just killing his victims.  He tortures them until they can stand no more.  This is one of the most evil and black-hearted villains I have ever read.

While travelling to warn all the Elf Kingdoms of the menace, the four comrades become one Company and add to their midst, Fima, the Dwarf Loremaster who is a fast friend of Rogan.  The Company and their allies set out to trap and kill the Elf Hunter.

I thought the characters in the book were well written and interesting.  I liked the combination of Elves, mortal men and Dwarves.

The author describes things so well, you are completely immersed in the story and feel like you are in the woods or mountains or places of respite right along with the Company.

The descriptions of the Elf Hunter’s cruelty to his victims were hard to read as they were quite graphic so I would not recommend this book for a young reader.  Young adults over the age of fourteen would relate to the characters and enjoy the adventures they have.

The Elf Hunter was an excellent book.  I’m looking forward to another book in the series.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Now I Know My ABC's

No matter if you are a parent, grandparent, babysitter, nanny, teacher or just a friend, there is nothing as satisfying as sharing a good book with a child.
Since this is my first post for kids’ books, I wanted you all to know that I will never suggest a book I haven’t read myself.  Most of them I have shared with children too.  I would never give you a recommendation for a book only because of a cute cover or a catchy title.  I’ll do my research on new books and I’ll rely on some old classics too.

 My all time favorite alphabet book is ChickaChickaBoomBoom by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault and Lois Ehlert.
The colors are bright and engaging and the story is just plain fun.  Appropriate for children 3-6years old.
Twenty Six Pirates or Twenty Six Princesses by Dave Horowitz
These two books are companions so pick the one your little kiddo would enjoy the most.
Simple text and great pictures and fun rhymes make them winners.
Ages 3-6
The Handmade Alphabet by Laura Rankin is a great introduction to Sign Language for young kids.  The pictures are clear so you can learn to make the alphabet signs together.
It’s easy peasy to learn the signs for yes and no too.  Even the youngest kids can do them.
Older kids will enjoy learning the signs too.  Ages 5-8
My next recommendation is a book, A, You’re Adorable by Martha Alexander but it’s
 based on a song and I prefer the song any day.  You can download it from iTunes.  The version I love is by Sharon, Lois and Bram. Ages 3-8

Until next week, keep reading!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Review of Waiting for Dusk by Nancy Pennick


 Waiting for Dusk by Nancy Pennick      Rating: 5 STARS


Read a book. Fall asleep. Meet a boy. Is it real or just a dream? Katie's everyday life suddenly turns exciting when she travels back in time and meets the boy of her dreams. Thinking of nothing else, willing to leave the real world behind, she's determined to find out if it's all a dream or not. Returning again and again, Katie almost has her answers until one day her precious book goes missing.

One of my favorite author's premiere book is the book I chose for my new blog.  Nancy has put a new slant on the romance of two young people.  Enjoy!

Show lesWaiting for Dusk is a lovely romance about a boy and girl.  They have one problem though.  Katie thinks that Andrew may just be a dream.  Oh, he is a wonderful dream and she has lost her heart to him but should she stay in a dream world or live her life as a modern teenager among family and friends?

I loved Katie as a heroine.  She is inquisitive and perceptive yet she suffers from the same confusion most teenagers suffer.  She is torn between loving Drew and having a relationship with her long-time friend, Tyson.  She also feels like her parents are keeping something from her.  She thinks she may have travelled back in time but was it only a dream?

Her friends, Lindsey and Jordyn try to be understanding and helpful.  I liked the way they are friends in the true sense. 

Tyson is an obsessed teenage boy who, after years of friendship with Katie, decides she is the love of his life and he won’t take no for an answer.  I found him a little frightening and I worried for Katie’s safety.

Drew is a perfect love interest.  He is handsome, kind, genuine and his love for Kate is apparent and given unconditionally.

The setting of the Grand Canyon was unique and well described.  I also enjoyed the touches of Swedish language.  I liked that the reader was exposed to a language not readily found in most books.

Although this book is considered a young adult novel, I think readers of all ages will appreciate the story and love the characters.
I know there is a sequel to this book and I look forward to it with great anticipation.

You should pick up a copy of Waiting for Dusk and catch up before the sequel is released.  It is available at and paperback or as an eBook.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Grand Opening Announcement

Read Around Sue will open on  Monday, August 5th.  I will post a new book review every Monday.  Thursday will be KidzKorner, where I will recommend  books for read aloud and sharing with children ages 3-8.  I always loved reading to my class and my own kids and I have some good ones.
I will review a mix of Young Adult, Adult fiction and New Adult.  I won't do Erotica or Horror.
I hope you will enjoy my opinions and will follow me through this literary journey.
See you Monday!