Bookscoops Summer Review- on atrazine, peace and pink.

School is just beginning again for many of our young book readers (not to mention some of us older ones). So, we thought that we would do a quick re-cap of things we learned this summer so that all of you would know that we didn’t just sit and veg watching TV all day.

From Holly:

Do you remember when your teacher would ask you to bring an article to school or tell about a current event that relates to something you are learning about? Well, just this past Sunday I had one of those aha! moments that make you wish you were still in school because it would be an automatic A+. Okay, not really, I’m glad to be done with school, but here’s a tip for you science buffs out there. The New York Times published an article about atrazine, a common pesticide. Why did this ring a bell with me? Because of The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner, which I just posted a review for last week. Prior to last week, I had never thought too deeply about our water supply, other than having our well tested periodically. Our tests always came back fine, so I never delved any deeper, now I’m curious. If you’d like to know more about atrazine feel free to click here for the article or here for more information about The Frog Scientist. You may be surprised (or not) to find that Dr. Tyrone Hayes has found scientific evidence that refutes the  manufacturer (Syngenta) safety claims.

What else did I learn this summer? I have a new favorite book called Pinkalicious! Having kids at home full time doesn’t allow for much uninterrupted posting time. It does allow for lots of book reading, though, so look for many more reviews to come soon!

From Cari:


I’ve spent a lot of time this summer getting ready for the school year. I will be working as a reading coach – which means I will be working at a middle school supporting teachers and assisting struggling readers. I also spent a fair amount of time at the swimming pool, attending events at the library, playing at the park with my kids and hunting gophers with a hand shovel (see my Grandma Dowdel post for more details). I’ve done a ton of reading, just not a lot of reviewing and we participated in the summer reading program at our local library.

Our Double Scoop of the summer

iwillsurprisemyfriendI Will Surprise My Friend by Mo Willems – the Dr. Suess of the 21st century. We highly recommend his whole series of early readers with Elephant and Piggie.

List of Books reviewed this summer

One Wolf Howls by Scotti Cohn, illustrated by Susan Detwiler

Peace Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss

The Frog Scientist by Pamela Turner, photographs by Andy Comins

Pinkalicious! by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann

Goat Nappers by Rosa Jordan

Other News and Upcoming Events at Bookscoops

Cari also participated in the Bloggiesta hosted by Natasha at Maw Books Blog – a party to improve your blog. It was a fabulous challenge to participate in and thanks to Natasha we have a new theme which, although Holly would have liked it to be pink (since she is a little obsessed with the color), Cari won out with the blue theme. After all since Holly gets a fun book like Pinkalicious then Cari should get a blue theme, right?  Or maybe it’s just because she is older.

hiccupotamusWe will be participating in a blog tour with Aaron Zenz, the cool dad of all the z-kids over at Bookie Woogie, for his upcoming re-release of his book Hiccupotamus – a fun book about a Hippo who gets. . . you guessed it – the hiccups. We will be hosting an author interview and a signed book give-away on September 12th. So please come and get to know Aaron a little more and see our review of Hiccupotamus.


Book Scoops February Overview

nightjohnDouble ScoopNightjohn by Gary Paulsen. We picked this one in honor of Black History Month and we really liked the book, but it is not an easy read as it shows the brutal nature of slavery. We also had a good discussion about race and some of the modern issues of racism.

Holly’s pick of the monthThe Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats. The illustrations in this book reminded me so much of the magic of snow in childhood. You could almost hear the quiet crunch of snow.

Cari’s pick of the monthFrom Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester, Illustrated by Rod Brown. A very powerful book about African slavery in the United  States. I love the pictures and the words!

Books reviewed by Holly

Books reviewed by Cari

Black History Month

Books reviewed for Black History Month

We read some books this month for the theme of Black History month. One thing that came out of our many discussions surrounding Nightjohn is that it would be nice to recognize the contributions of African Americans to the United States throughout the year. As such we hope to read some books each month that fits into that category. There are many inventors, writers, artists and scientists who have made their mark in history and we would like to honor them and current writers/illustrators.

thebrownbookshelfAlso we wanted to mention a blog called the The Brownbookshelf, which focuses on black illustrators and writers that write for our favorite audience – children. As a kidlit blog it’s a great resource for books written by and about African Americans. They also did a feature for February called 28 Days Later. Throughout the month of February they featured an author/illustrator with an interview. Including one by Julius Lester, the writing genius behind From Slave Ship to Freedom Road.

Blog Spotlights

Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile – this is a new blog which focuses on board books, with a mom who reads to her little bookworm (I believe he is 15 months). It’s really a great resource for parents with young readers and has some wonderful book ideas.

Tara Lazar at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) – A writer of children’s books. She has lots of great tips gleaned from writing events she attends and in February she had some fabulous author interviews including one with Aaron  Zenz, the mind and dad behind Bookie Woogie.

Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect – This blog is written be a teacher educator and book lover. Cari has tried many of her recommendations over at her blog and not been disappointed, which has lots of  nonfiction and poetry. It is because of her that Cari found Nic Bishop Spiders, which is our Double Scoop for March.

Britt at Confessions of a Book Habitue – Last, but not least. Britt does quick witty reviews of books she reads and she reads a lot. Not to mention she was very generous in letting Cari join her book club.

Cari’s Diversity Rocks Challengediversity_rocks Update

So I’m still trying to figure out the whole challenge thing and signed-up for one, Diversity Rocks!, because that’s all I can handle. Remember we are using KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) as part of our theme on balance for the year. Ali, the person who started the challenge said  “The point of this challenge is to ensure racial and ethnic diversity in the authors that we read”. For February I read From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester, Illustrated by Rod Brown.

Book Blogging News

Cybils awards – These came out on Valentine’s Day and there are some excellent titles to choose from. The Cybils award goes to books who have lots of kid appeal and high literary merit. A few of the winners include, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale, Illustrated by Nathan Hale and Nic Bishop Frogs. The winners and many of the finalists would make great gifts for birthdays, holidays or just because.

kidlitosphere-central1Kidlitosphere Central The Society of Bloggers in Children’s and Adolescent Literature– From the site: “KidLitosphere Central strives to provide a passage to the wonderful variety of resources available from the society of bloggers in children’s and young adult literature.” The site contains a list of all members of the society of kidlit bloggers who share a passion for reading and books. It has some great resources and information about the upcoming Kidlitosphere Conference this fall.

shareastory1Share a Story – Shape a Future This is a blog tour for literacy that lasts one week starting March 9th. Each day there are several blogs who will post under that theme. From tips for raising readers to reading outloud to reading and technology with several blogs including Book Dads, The Reading Zone, The Book Whisperer, Miss Rumphius Effect and more.

Book Scoops News and Upcoming Events

Holly is in the process of moving and transitioning from Washington to Idaho. Until the transition is complete, her posts will probably not be so numerous. It all goes back to our balance theme of the year, right? The ball will still be in the air- just not sailing quite so high.

March is Women’s History Month and as such we will be reviewing some books to fit in that theme.

Our first author interview will be with Janet Halfmann, the author of Little Skink’s Tail, Seven Miles to Freedom (Review forthcoming), Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea, and many non-fiction books. Cari’s daughter fell in love with Little Skink’s Tail and she read it to her at least a half a dozen times in two days. We are thrilled to feature Janet Halfmann at Book Scoops.

Book Scoops January Overview

Double Scoop – For this month we reviewed Owen by Kevin Henkes. We love this book for many reasons- perhaps mostly because we are blanket lovers just like Owen. This is a great picture book for all those who have children with a special blanket and those who don’t fall into that category will get a kick out of Owen anyway.

Cari’s Pick of the Month: Guts: The True Stories Behind Hatchet and the Brian Books

Holly’s Pick of the Month: The Toughest Cowboy. We loved this raucous, hilarious tale at our house and highly recommend it!

Books Reviewed by Holly

Books Reviewed by Cari

Picture books

Middle Readers

Blog Spotlights

Shirley at SimplyScience Blog an excellent blog about, as you guess, science. It has lots of great books to read and science activities for up to 5th grade from a former teacher who taught science K-12. Shirley also has written a trade book called No Bows and is definitely passionate about science.

Cindy Pon at a A Little Sweet a Little Sour also her website. Cindy’s debut novel Silver Phoenix is due to come out at the end of April. Cari first saw her book on someone else’s blog and was intrigued, fell in love with the cover of the book and the story idea. Cari is a huge fantasy fan and plans to read the book as soon as she can. Cindy is an artist/writer/ SAHM so check out her book and blog.


The Cybils will be announced on Valentine’s Day. So stay tuned for the winners and checkout the finalists.

Our Doublescoop for February will be Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen in honor of Black History Month

Bookscoops December Review . . . just a little bit late

Double Scoop: In leiu of a double scoop book review this month, we participated in the Blog Advent tour with Caroling for Christmas. We also worked together on the Twelve Days of Christmas Reads to bring lots of variety to Christmas reading.

Cari’s pick of the month: This is hard lots of great books, but if I have to it would be Santa Claus the World’s Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee and Miss Spider’s ABC by David Kirk. The pictures in Miss Spider’s ABC are aMAZing!

Holly’s pick of the month: Ooo . . . So many good ones, how do I pick? I can narrow it down to two: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas and The Practically Perfect Pajamas by Erik Brooks. They were a hit for Christmas!!!

Books reviewed by Cari

  • Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
  • Violet and the Mean and Rotten Pirates by Richard Hamilton, Read by Bill Wallis
  • The Icky Bug Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta Illustrated by Ralph Masiello
  • The Disappearing Alphabet by richard wilbur Illustrated by david diaz
  • Miss Spider’s ABC Written and Illustrated by David Kirk
  • Alphabet by Mathew Van Fleet Edited and Art Directed by Skip Skware
  • G is for One Gzonk! by TINY DiTERLOONEY (aka Tony DiTerlizzi)
  • Picture a letter by Brad Sneed
  • Akira to Zoltán: Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee Illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

For the Twelve days of Christmas Reads:

  • Holly Claus The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan and illustrated by Laurel Long & Jeffrey K. Bedrick
  • Who will guide my sleigh tonight? by Jerry Pallotta Illustrated by David Biedrzycki
  • Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco
  • Auntie Claus by Elise Primevera
  • Shall I knit you a Hat? a Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
  • Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner pictures by Mark Buehner
  • The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket Art by Brett Helquist
  • Little Bear’s Christmas by Norbert Landa illustrated by Marlis Scharff-Kniemeyer
  • The BIGGEST, BEST, SNOWMAN by Margery Cuyler Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
  • The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland
  • Welcome Comfort by Patricia Polacco
  • Santa Claus The World’s Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee

Books reviewed by Holly

I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox and Bruce Whatley

The Practically Perfect Pajamas by Erik Brooks, and more in Giving Books for Christmas
Bee Me by Elle J. McGuinness illustrated by Heather Brown

For the Twelve days of Christmas Reads:

  • Flight of the Reindeer The True Story of Santa Claus & His Christmas Mission by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff
  • The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere
  • The Quiet Little Woman, A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott, presented by Stephen W. Hines
  • The Great Santa Search As told to Jeff Guinn by Santa Claus himself
  • The Christmas Box by Eve Merriam illustrated by David Small
  • The Christmas Dolls by Candice Ransom, illustrations by Moira Fain
  • The Bells of Christmas by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Lambert Davis
  • Jingle Bells by Nick Butterworth
  • The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans, illustrated by Jacob Collins
  • The Shy Little Angel by Ruth Brown
  • On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington
  • The Real 12 Days of Christmas by Helen Haidle, illustrated by Celeste Henriquez
  • Baby’s Christmas by Francesca Allen & Felicity Brooks, illustrated by Rachel Wells

Notable December events:

We participated in the December Carnival of Children’s Literature over at Jen Robinson’s Book Page. Full of lots of great book recommendations.

We received two blog awards in December, which we are still happy about. The first was the Butterfly Award, and the second we received on Christmas Eve and never had time to pass it along because it was a Spirit of the Season award, and we were in the midst of celebrating our Season with family and friends. Does that mean we can pass it along next year? I’m not sure how this works.

Book Blogging News

One is that the Cybils finalists were announced at the beginning of January. So if you are looking for some great reads for children from picture books to non-fiction to graphic novels for young readers to young adult. The winners will be announced on February 14th. We can hardly wait.

Also Jen Robinson, Mother Reader and Wizard Wireless will be blogging at PBS Kids about literacy. We are excited to see the blog and can’t wait to comment. We are huge fans of PBS kids and the educational programing and the website is full of all kinds of activities and parenting advice.

Blog Picks of the Month

Sherry at SemiColon for those of you who don’t know hosts a Saturday Review of Books where you can post book reviews you did for the week.  It’s a fabulous way to see some excellent book reviews and add to a rapidly growing to-be-read list. It’s also a great way to let other bloggers know what your reviewing. In addition she archives the titles so you can look for more great books or check to see if others have reviewed the same book. She does all this on top of home schooling her children and writing some fantastic book reviews.

Stephanie at Children’s Literature Book Club runs a book club for adults who love children’s literature and since she recently moved to Utah guess who got to attend for the first time in December? Cari, who was very excited about meeting other people who share our love of kid lit and grateful that she is so willing to let a perfect stranger join. Also Stephanie is a Cybils judge this year and had been very busy reading and reading and reading to get through all the nominee.

Book Scoops November Review

Book Scoops November Review

Double Scoop this Month – Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale illustrated by Nathan Hale (which really is both our top pick of the month, but we thought we’d each choose another one since it was the Double Scoop)

Cari’s Pick of the Month – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Holly’s Pick of the Month – Thank you Sarah

Book’s Reviewed by Cari

Dr. Suess’s ABC

Amelia to Zora: Twenty Six Women who Changed the World by Cynthia Chin-Lee Illustrated by Megan Hasley Sean Addy

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Alphabad Mischievous ABCs by Shannon Stewart Illustrated by Dusan Petricic

Winnie the Pooh’s A to Zzzz by Don Ferguson Illustrated by Bill Langly and Diana Wakeman

The Dinosaur Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta illustrated by Ralph Masiello

The Unicorn Alphabet Book by Marianna Mayer Pictures by Michael Hague  

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis Illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Books Reviewed by Holly

Thank you, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne

Merry Thanksgiving By Natasha Wing, illustrated by Isidre Mones

Turk and Runt A Thanksgiving Comedy By Lisa Wheeler, pictures by Frank Ansley

Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

Thanksgiving Day at Our House, Thanksgiving Poems for the Very Young by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by R.W. Alley

Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims By Clyde Robert Bulla

Spot’s Thanksgiving by Eric Hill

The Crunching Munching Caterpiller by Sheridan Cain, illustrated by Jack Tickle

Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss

Book Blogging News

The passing of one of our own. We have lost one of the most prolific readers and bloggers – Dewey at the Hidden Side of the Leaf. Though we did not know her well we are saddened by her passing and wish her family peace and comfort. She was instrumental in many book blogging events such as Bookworms Carnival, 24 hour read-thon and Weekly Geeks and she will be missed.

Judy Blume is doing a book blog tour that started over at Big A little a. I heart Judy Blume, I read so many of her books as a kid – Including Are you There God It’s me Margaret? and Blubber and who can forget Fudge in Tales of the 4th Grade Nothing? I remember my teacher reading that one to us  – The kid ate a turtle, it was so funny!!!!!!!  I even went out and checked the book out myself because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened.

I’m [We’re] buying books for the holidays   In case you haven’t heard the publishing industry, like so many others, with the economy the way it is and all is struggling. So someone, My Friend Amy started a challenge to buy books, whether or not you sign-up to participate is not important, but getting books into the hands of readers is and by doing so you can help the publishing industry. Keep in mind you can also support independent book stores this way and the money goes towards your local economy.

Favorite Blogs this Month

Natasha Maw at Maw Books Blog – It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t put her blog in because well without her we would not be here. Many of you are familiar with her blog and it’s through a mutual friend that I met her. Her blog is a 10 out of 10 on the magnitude of bloggness awesomeness. She is a general book blogger who loves reading, has a passion for life and is a very giving person (she has let me pick her brain several times for blogging tips). She does lots of reviews of all types of books, finger plays for little ones, author interviews and more. She also did a fabulous job raising awareness and fundraising for Darfur. Thank you Natasha!

Bookie Woogie – This a book blog done with a dad (Aaron Zenz illustrator and aspiring writer) and his three kids. From their blog “We have over 2800 children’s books in the family collection. Here we pick our very favorites, review them, and create some accompanying fan art.” Seriously one of the funnest book blogs out there. The children are Isaac (10), Gracie (8) and Lily (5) and Dad (old) records the conversations about the books they read and then each child does an art piece that goes with the book. The conversations are hiliarious and the illustrations done in excellent kid style.

Jen Robinson’s Book Page – Jen does a fabulous job of promoting literacy and if you’d like you can sign-up for her Growing Book Worms Newsletter. An engineer by trade and a bookworm for life – seriously, she collects news from all over the reading world from research based tidbits to fun books. Her blog is one of the best resources I have seen for for both parents and teachers.