Tag: non fiction

Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom

Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom
Author: Heather Tekavec

Illustrator: Susan Batori
To Be Published:
USA: March 3, 2020

UK: March 5, 2020
32 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars
Date Read: March 1, 2020

Book Description:

Think animals are all well-behaved? Think again. These thirteen play dirty. But they’re about to get caught!

A fish who deceives her prey with a light dangling in front of her mouth? A bird who leaves her eggs in another bird’s nest to be raised? A monkey who shouts ‘Danger’ to scare away the others from the fruit? Meet some of the animal kingdom’s most wanted criminals! Slippery Slick, Queenie the Meanie, Lil’ Cupid — they’re all here in this hilarious book of animal case files that include rap sheets, mug shots, reports of criminal activity and more. All thirteen animals stand accused of playing dirty, but now that Detective X is hot on their trail, their criminal days may soon be behind them!

Author Heather Tekavec offers an original approach to investigating animal behavior, with a fun storyline built on hardcore facts. Paired with Susan Batori’s cheeky illustrations, this is a laugh-out-loud read that explores fascinating animal science. Each animal ‘criminal’ gets a spread that’s filled with facts about the animal’s characteristics, including distinguishing features, diet, life span, habitat and more, as well as a description of the animal’s ‘bad’ behavior and the reason behind it. This book offers direct STEAM links to life science curriculum, particularly lessons on the characteristics of living things. The underlying premise of the book also offers the opportunity for discussions on what it means to play fair in the world.

Jessica’s Review:

This is a highly entertaining picture book that the kids will love (and mom and dad too!) If your child loves animals they will love this book and even learn something about the different animals featured.

The illustrations really enhance the facts and fun to the book, going with the theme of these ‘bad animals’ including the last one who is the ‘Most Wanted’ and also has the worst crime….

The only critique I can give is that I would have loved a photo of the actual animal to go along with the illustrations so children can see what these creatures actually look like.

This one was a pleasure to read and review and many thanks to the publisher Kids Can Press for granting me an e-arc.

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero

The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero
Author: Amalia Hoffman

Illustrator: Chiara Fedele
To Be Published: August 1, 2019
40 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: June 13, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Once a skinny and weak child, Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But all that seemed unimportant when his country came under the grip of a brutal dictator and entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Bartali might have appeared a mere bystander to the harassment and hatred directed toward Italy’s Jewish people, but secretly he accepted a role in a dangerous plan to help them. Putting his own life at risk, Bartali used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver documents Jewish people needed to escape harm. His inspiring story reveals how one person could make a difference against violence and prejudice during the time of the Holocaust.

Jessica’s Review:

The Brave Cyclist is not your typical picture book. It tells the true story of Gino Bartali who was a small child who ended up winning the Tour de France twice in his lifetime and also became an important figure in World War II by helping to save the Jewish people of Italy.  I did not know Gino’s story until I read this picture book. It shows how drive and determination really can help one person make a difference in a time of need. Gino would ride his bicycle 110 miles one way and he was even jailed for something he did not do.  He not only risked his life, he also risked his family’s life. 

There is an afterward included that informs us of Gino’s life.  His story is well known in Italy, Gino’s hard work deserves recognition in history books worldwide. This story is aimed for children ages 9-12 and should be included in World War II coursework.  This book needs to be in school libraries! 

The only critique I can offer is that some pages the text takes up most of the page, so it may be a bit much for a picture book, but the well done illustrations definitely compliment the story.

Special thanks to Capstone for granting me an e-arc via NetGalley.

Pre-order links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Blog Blitz: Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus

Today I am part of the Blog Blitz for Sue Wickstead’s children’s picture book Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus! I am sharing my 5 star review. For those of you in the UK there is also a giveaway going on!

Book Description:

Jay-Jay the bus is rescued from the dirty scrap yard, where he was sadly gathering dust and cobwebs. Feeling nervous yet excited, he is taken to an airport where he is magically transformed into a ‘Playbus’ full of toys, games and adventure.

A fictional tale based on a real-life bus ‘Supersonic’, which flew in the imaginations of the many young children who visited it.

Author: Sue Wickstead
Published: October 10, 2014
41 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: April 19, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Jessica’s Review:

Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is a colorful children’s picture book that is surprisingly based on fact.  Jay-Jay is JJK261 and he has been forgotten in the scrap yard until one day some kids briefly play on him. Later on, he gets new lease on life as someone buys ALL of him and not just pieces of him!  His future is much brighter now!

This is a short feel good children’s book that informs you of the ‘real’ JJK261 and his adventures.  The story flows well and and has colorful pictures that enhance the story.  It is not long and I can see small children enjoying this book and will be ready for more of Jay-Jay and his many adventures.  This is a great beginning to Wickstead’s Jay-Jay books.

On a personal note: My grandmother was a bus driver and the part of the book with the kids playing on Jay-Jay brought back fond memories of my sister and myself playing on her school bus and even riding on the bus as my grandma picked up kids for school.  Thanks for bringing up those memories Sue!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
WH Smiths
Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

**For those of you in the UK: Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus will be 99p until 22nd April**

**Special Blitz Offer**

A free 3D bus which can be claimed via web site ‘Enquiry button using ref code JJay at www.suewickstead.co.uk

Additional bus models and books also offered as a promotion on request.

About the Author:

I am a teacher and an author and have currently written six children’s picture books with a bus theme.

For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led me to write a photographic history book about it.

I soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. I decided to write a fictional tale about the bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name.

‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original bus and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continued.

This story has now been followed by five more picture books.

I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share the story. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.

The story has been read in many schools in the south-East of England, where I teach as a cover teacher, it is always well received and certainly different.

Contact Sue:
Twitter @JayJayBus


**UK Only Giveaway**

Win Jay-Jay and the Island Adventure

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.