Sunday, February 12, 2017

Garvey's Choice -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
"A successful book is not made of what is in it, 
but of what is left out of it” 
~ Mark Twain ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Lisa Cron has a brilliant post HERE on backstory. Don’t miss this one.

Sarah Albee has a great post HERE that will help you inject humor into your writing — always a bonus. 

The Editor’s Blog has a terrific post HERE on The Perspective from Inside the Character. Really good stuff. 

I have mentioned here that my older daughter, Maggie, is an actor. I received a note from her today telling me that she has a show airing next Sunday on Investigation Discovery. The show title is Evil Lives Here: My Secret Life. You should be able to search for it and set it up to record. In case you missed the earlier show she did for them, you can watch it HERE. She was murdered on that episode (YIKES!). These are not for the kiddies, by the way.

Last week I offered a fun book to one of you called Totally Wacky Facts About History by Cari Meister. This week's winner is stephie5741 who, it turns out, is Stephanie Faris, author of the Piper Morgan picture book series as well as other books. You can check out her blog HERE. Congratulations, Stephanie! I will get the book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another fun giveaway, so please keep reading.

I am becoming more and more enchanted by novels in verse. When I had a chance to review Garvey's Choice, a new novel in verse by the wonderful Nikki Grimes, I jumped at the chance. I was not disappointed. It is positively magical and truly amazing. This is my review for the San Francisco Book Review.
Garvey has a lot to deal with in his life — he is overweight, he has a sister who is a natural athlete, something Garvey’s father wishes Garvey was, and he has to deal with middle-school bullies. But Garvey has a best friend, Joe, who really gets him and helps him deal with all his adversity. Lunchtime is the best time for Garvey because he spends it with Joe and because he gets to eat, but when Joe’s schedule is changed, Garvey is alone again. Joe encourages Garvey to join the chorus. Garvey has a great voice and he makes a new friend, a boy with albinism, who helps Garvey learn to deal with the bullies. Garvey’s real success is in chorus, where he finds his voice in more ways than one. 
Nikki Grimes has written an entire novel in tanka poems. It is so beautifully
Nikki Grimes
written, readers will be lost in the lyrical lines. Young readers, often reluctant to read poetry, will be so taken with the well-developed story and engaging characters, they will forget it is all poems. This lovely book deserves to and will garner wide readership among the middle-grade set.
I have a gently-read hardback copy for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Totally Wacky Facts About History -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Sometimes I feel like I should link every one of Kristen Lamb’s blog posts. Seriously. And she always makes me laugh. Don’t miss the one HERE with six good hints to clean up your own manuscript. 

We all have nefarious characters in our books. The more nefarious the better. Even middle-grade isn’t to young for a good psychopath. Writer’s Digest has a guest post HERE by British thriller writer Peter James about making your villains evil enough. 

The art of seduction shouldn’t be overlooked in middle-grade writing. No, not THAT kind of seduction. The kind that pulls readers in. HERE is a great post on Writers in the Storm on that topic. 

I don't write often here about picture books, but I do love them, I write them, and I read them voraciously. I recently won a wonderful picture book from the Writer's Rumpus blog (check it out HERE) called Swimming with Sharks: The Daring Discoveries of Eugenie Clark written by Heather Lang and illustrated by Jordi Solano. It is a fascinating non-fiction, beautifully illustrated picture book that will encourage youngsters to follow their dreams. Check it out. 

Last week I offered a paperback copy of the fabulous Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green to one of you. This week's winner is Joanne Fritz. Congratulations, Joanne! If you don't know Joanne, she is a children's writer from Pennsylvania who blogs at My Brain on Books HERE.  She has wonderful book reviews and one of the most interesting About Me sections I've ever read. If you didn't win, please keep reading. I have another fun giveaway.

This week I have a particularly fun non-fiction middle-grade book for you. It is Totally Wacky Facts About History by Cari Meister. I love history, so this one was a must-have for me when I saw it on the available list for the San Francisco Book Review. Here is the review I wrote for them. 

A great many youngsters will turn their noses up at anything that has to do with history, so when parents, teachers, and librarians can find a book that will engage younger middle-grade readers with lots of interesting tidbits of history, it is bound to be a big hit. Every page in this book has fun graphics or illustrations along with one or two quick facts about history. What kid wouldn’t be interested in knowing things like the fact that unusual jobs in the ancient world included armpit-hair plucker, or that after pulling a rotten tooth an ancient Roman dentist would fill the hole with rotten fish, or that Winston Churchill often had important meetings in his bedroom because he really loved his bed, or that Leonardo da Vinci could draw with one hand while he was not only writing, but writing backwards, with the other hand? This will be a hit with all youngsters but especially reluctant readers. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s full of lots of astonishing information. The jazzy illustrations and bright graphics decorating the pages will draw readers through and keep those pages turning.
Cari Meister


I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“Don't say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers Please will you do the job for me.” 
C. S. Lewis ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I have been saving this one for closer to tax time. Bookfox has a post HERE with 21 Tax Deductions that Save Writers Money.  

I am driven crazy by grammatical errors in the books I read for review. So does The Editor and she has a great post HERE on that very topic. 

Revision is so hard. Adventures in YA Publishing has a good list HERE of 30 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Tackle the Next Phase of Your Manuscript. 

My trip to NYC was great, and I had some wonderful time with my daughter Maggie. We saw Cate Blanchette in The Present. The performances were wonderful. Ms. Blanchette was dazzling, but I think this old Chekhov play was never published for a reason. We also saw Josh Groban in Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812. It is a spectacular production. The first act is a bit taxing since they are so busy introducing a cast of characters that requires a family tree in the program. (Yup. A family tree. Seriously.) That said, the second act music and story are quite wonderful and the amazing production is worth the very hefty price of admission. If Maggie hadn't had a friend in the show, we would never have gotten tickets. It's problem the second hottest ticket on Broadway behind Hamilton.

I don't usually mention adult books here, but I read one recently that was so amazing, I have to give y'all a heads up. Some years ago, I read a wonderful book called Plainsong by Kent Haruf. (If you click HERE you can read a wonderful article about what one student learned from studying writing with Haruf.) I loved it and think of it often, but I never got around to checking out his other books. I read a lot of blogs, and I read about another book by Haruf in two or three blogs in a period of one week. I took it of a sign that I needed to read it. Our Souls at Night is a magnificent book. I don't think there is one curse word in it nor is there any sex, so I wouldn't even be worried if any teens picked this one up, but for my adult readers, this book is simply amazing. I recommend it. It's a small book that can be read in a long afternoon, and it will be a wonderful afternoon for you.

Two weeks ago, I offered a copy of Clayton Stone Facing Off  by Ena Jones. to one of you. Honestly, if I ever had time to re-read a book, I wouldn't let this one go. But my busy life is your gain. This week's winner is Nancy, who shared my link on Facebook and got an extra chance. That paid off. Congratulations, Nancy! I will get this out to you soon. For the rest of you, I have a wonderful giveaway, so stay tuned.

As I have often mentioned, I am continually fascinated by novels in verse for young people. I ran across Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green as a review book for San Francisco Book Review and I snagged it. What a good choice that was for me! Here is the review I wrote for them. 

Bailey and her little brother, Kevin, have been dropped off at their grandmother’s to spend a month on the island while their parents attend a marriage camp, trying to find a way to stay together. Bailey is quick to make friends, and she and a neighbor boy, Daniel, become best friends immediately, exploring, swimming, and getting to know the island prognosticator, Jasper, former minister of the church. He foretells some interesting events, and Bailey grabs onto his foretelling as the answer to many of the problems she perceives in her life — her parents’ crumbling marriage, Daniel’s cystic fibrosis, and more. But miracles are hard to come by and don’t always happen as expected. 
Author Shari Green has pulled off a terrific feat. She writes this affecting book in
Shari Green
Photo by Pedersen Arts Photography
first person point of view in young Bailey’s voice in beautiful, lyrical blank verse — and it works seamlessly. The voice is pitch perfect for a young girl, the characters are all fully developed and completely believable, and the story will leave readers deeply moved and wanting more. This lovely book deserves a far wider readership than the middle-grade audience to which it is being marketed. Don’t miss this one.
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clayton Stone, Facing Off -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an
abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” 
~ Stephen King ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
We all make mistakes, but mistakes in our writing life can be really costly. Adventures in YA Publishing has a good post HERE written by editor Emma D. Dryden that will help you avoid the most common mistakes writers make. 

Dear Editor has a tiny hint, but a powerful one, HERE. I like it! 

Alex Limburg has a guest post on Kristen Lamb’s blog HERE that will tell you How to Make EVERY Page of Your Story Interesting. 

Last week I offered a copy of Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston George to one of you. This week's winner is Nancy Kelly Allen. Congratulations, Nancy! If you don't know Nancy, she is a Kentucky children's writer with over thirty books out there. (My personal favorite is Barreling Over Niagara Falls. Check it out!) You can learn more about her HERE. Nancy, I will get your book out to you this week. For the rest of you, I have another giveaway, so please keep reading. 

Just a little heads up before I get to business. I am going to New York this week to spend a few days with my daughter Maggie. I seriously doubt I will get around to posting next weekend, so if I'm MIA, that's the reason. 

I have mentioned Greg Pattridge's blog before. He writes really intriguing book reviews and when he says something is worth a look, I always pay attention. You can find his blog HERE. It's always worth a look. Anyway, he reviewed and recommended the first two books of the Clayton Stone series on his blog sometime back, and they sounded like terrific books. I checked my reviewing options and was able to pick up Clayton Stone, Facing Off by Ena Jones for the Manhattan Book Review. What a fun read! Here is the review I wrote.

Clayton Stone is happy at his middle school. His lacrosse team is destined for the playoffs, and all is right with his world. But his grandmother tells Clayton he needs to go undercover at a rival middle school. It’s necessary. The president’s only child, Kyle, also a lacrosse player, goes to that school, and chatter has been picked up that is deemed to be a threat. Clayton is disguised and sent to the new school where he can play on the lacrosse team and try to make friends and stay close to Kyle. But when a bully starts making everyone’s lives miserable and a mysterious boy shows up as a new student, things get pretty interesting. 
Tweens and teens as secret agents and spies aren’t uncommon in kidlit, but, for the most part, they end up sounding and often acting like they are thirty-five. Not this time. Author Ena Jones has created a spunky young character who tells his story in a pitch perfect twelve-year-old boy’s voice. Clayton is smart and funny, with just the perfect amount of wonder at his secret-agent grandmother and all the spy toys he gets to use. Don’t miss this!
Ena Jones
I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the 
first six sharpening my ax.” 
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
I get lots of email from Writer’s Digest and now and then they send a link to an interesting post. HERE you will find 5 Helpful Lessons for Writing a Novel. 

From Gotham Writers comes this interesting article HERE on Enlivening Passive Characters. Enjoy. 

Janice Hardy talks about the importance of context HERE. Worth your time. 

I hope you all had wonderful holidays filled with family time and love. I know I did. My two daughters and two grandchildren and I spent a few lovely days at Lake Tahoe. This was the view from the deck of our rented condo. 

Ah. It truly is God's country up there. Okay, be jealous, but not for too long. We have books to talk about. 

I hope my last-minute shopping suggestions were helpful to some of you. They were all books I thought had merit. There was no giveaway, so on to the review. 

The Orphan Trains are a fascinating chapter in our country's history. I have run across a few books about it and have enjoyed them all. Orphan Trains: Taking the Rails to a New Life by Rebecca Langston-George is a wonderful addition to the small canon of this topic. Here is the review I wrote for the San Francisco Book Review

In the mid-nineteenth century, more than 30,000 children lived alone in New York City, with no parents or other relatives to care for them. Orphanages didn’t have enough room to hold them all, and many lived on the streets, making their way by selling newspapers or apples. A local minister, Charles Loring Brace, took note of this problem and vowed to find ways to help. He founded the Children’s Aid Society, and part of their work included placing children with farm families in the Midwest and West. Over the years, into the twentieth century, thousands of children, including some babies, were loaded on railroad trains and sent west to be looked over and chosen by families looking for help working farms and filling out families. Some had great experiences, some had terrible ones. 
Author Rebecca Langston-George follows the lives of seven children, including
Rebecca Langston-George
all the good and the bad that happened to such children. Many have photographs as well. Included is a follow-up section that tells what happened to the children later in life. This well-researched and beautifully written book will be a treasure for middle-school teachers and students and any who love history.
I have a gently-read paperback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Last Minute Shopping List

Thought for the Day:
"Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t
edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your
most intense obsessions mercilessly." 
~ Franz Kafka ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Janice Hardy did a guest post HERE on The Seekers blog that is soooooo good. I especially like the section on narrative distance, but the whole thing is terrific. 

I love this post at The Mixed Up Files of … Middle-Grade Authors HERE that talks about how writers get ideas for stories. 

Rhay Christou guest blogs on Writers in the Storm about Diving Deep into Deep Point of View HERE. These are great tips.

Last week, I offered a copy of The Best Man by Richard Peck to one of you. This week's winner is Liz! If you don't know Liz Steinglass, she is a wonderful poet and blogs HERE, although I think she is on a break right now. Congratulations, Liz. I will get your book out to you this week. 

This is my annual LAST MINUTE SHOPPING SUGGESTIONS. There is no giveaway, just some hopefully helpful information. This is a shock -- all my suggestions are books! Here is this year's list. If you click on the title, it will take you to a review of the book or the link on Barnes and Noble. The San Francisco Book Review and Manhattan Book Review had a terrible crash this year and some reviews were lost, so no way to link to them. 

CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS

Stories from Bug Garden by Lisa Moser, illustrated by Gwen Millward
When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Julie Morstad
Now You See Them, Now You Don't by David L Harrison, illustrated by Giles LaRoche
A Friend Like You byAndrea Schomburg and Barbara Rotten, Illustrated by Sean Julian 






MIDDLE GRADE AND TWEEN BOOKS
Mayday by Karen Harrington
Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg
Dragonolia by Chris Barnardo



YOUNG ADULT -- Okay, I just didn't read many of these this year, but all the ones in the MG and Tween category would be great for YA.
P. S. I Like You by Kasie West




ADULT


Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinley
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
Drinking from the River by Chip Dameron
by Bryan Kozlowski

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukka, Happy Kwanza, and/or Delightful Winter Solstice and a Happy New Year. I hope this was helpful to you for your last minute shopping. I will be taking a couple weeks off to relax and spend time with family. If you need a shopping break, my daughter Maggie Hollinbeck's first TV show will air Wednesday, Dec. 21. It is an episode of Investigation Discovery called Grave Secrets. (She will, I believe, be brutally murdered, but, hey, it's a paying gig.) I will be back here after the first of the year with more reviews and giveaways. Hope to see you here. And don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's blog HERE for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday links. 



Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Best Man -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals--sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader's ear. Don't just write words. Write music."
~ Gary Provost, author of 110 Ways to Improve Your Writing ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Writers Helping Writers always has great stuff. The post HERE on how to stay organized during a revision is great. 

Kristen Lamb has the best stuff on her blog. The post HERE is a guest post by Alex Limberg with three tips to create more real characters. 

Janice Hardy at Fiction University has an interesting post entitled Which Character is the Heart of Your Novel HERE. It might be a surprise to you. 

Last week I offered an ARC of Things That Make You Go, Yuck!: Crooked Critters by Jenni Dlugos and Charlie Hatton. This week's winner, who always shares my link for extra chances, is Danielle Hammelef. Those extra chances pay off! Congratulations, Danielle. I will mail your book this week. For the rest of you, another giveaway. Please keep reading.

I had some good things happen recently I want to share. Last Monday, Sue Heavenrich posted an interview with MOI on Group Blog HERE about my experiences being a book reviewer. I have been included a few times on Michelle Heidenrich Barnes wonderful poetry blog, Today's Little Ditty. Michelle put together an anthology of poems from her blog, and one of mine was included. Her book is The Best of Today's Little Ditty, and you can see more about it HERE. Lastly, I received an email this week from Highlight's Magazine and they are purchasing a poem of mine called "Sky Zoo." I don't know when it will be published, but you can be sure I will let you know. Very exciting for me!

On to this week's subject. If you read the interview on Group Blog, you will see I read about 30 blogs a week. One of those I never miss is Greg Pattridge's Always in the Middle (HERE) because Greg has such great reviews, and it often informs my decisions about what I will read. When I read about The Best Man by Richard Peck on Greg's blog back in October, I checked with the San Francisco Book Review to see if I could get a review copy. I could, I did, and I loved it. Here is the review I wrote for them. 

When we meet Archer Magill, he is remembering a time he was five and suffering through an embarrassing incident at a wedding where he meets Lynette, new girl in town, who becomes his best friend. But the heart of the story takes place during Archer’s fifth-grade year. He has a close family and striking maturity allowing him to truly appreciate strong role models in his architect grandfather, car-restorer father, sophisticated uncle, and, most recently, first male teacher in the history of his school. All these men are heroic in their own ways, and all teach Archer lessons about loss and what love really means. The book ends with another wedding, more meaningful and less embarrassing for Archer.e bing in middle

“It was a little like being in middle school a year early.
You’re drop kicked into new territory. I was wondering
how much change you have to go through 
before your voice does.” 

Author Richard Peck is a great storyteller and has assembled a great group of well-realized characters who believably suffer through and overcome, for the
Richard Peck
most part, realistic problems. The story is told in first person narrative (with a couple of diversions to Lynnette’s point of view) in the voice of Archer. For the most part, it is a believable voice for a very mature fifth-grader. With important themes of anti-bullying, friendship, loss, and love, this is a winner.

I have a gently-read hardback for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.

Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Things That Make You Go Yuck!: Crooked Critters -- Review and Giveaway

Thought for the Day:
“The question is whether or not you choose to disturb the world around you, or if you choose to let it go on as if you had never arrived.” 
~ Ann Patchett ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:
Jennifer Louden has a good post at Writers in the Storm HERE with 6 Ways to Increase Your Productivity as a Writer Without Burning Out. 

I keep finding posts about words one should take out of one’s writing. If I read enough of these maybe I can get rid of about 20,000 flabby words hanging on my fat manuscript. Melissa Allen has a guest post on Fiction University HERE that has 14 Words that are Hurting Your Writing.

Beth Lewis has a guest post HERE on The Writer’s Dig with Tips for Creating Voice in Your Character. It’s got some great ideas. 

Last week I offered a gently-read hardback copy of Jubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff to one of you. This week's winner is Greg Pattridge, middle-grade writer and middle-school teacher (brave soul!) from Colorado who blogs at Always in the Middle. Check it out HERE. He writes great book reviews and has other interesting stuff on his blog. Congratulations, Greg! I will get your book out soon.

The book I am highlighting this week is a really fun non-fiction book. I love science books with a fun twist. This is that. Here is my review for the San Francisco Book Review for Things that Make you Go Yuck!: Crooked Critters by Jenni Dlugos and Charlie Hatton.
Imagine a fungus that can attach itself to a living being and not only cover the being with pointy spikes but invade the being and dissolve its organs and kill it as well. With ants, the fungus can actually release a chemical into the ant’s brain that turns it into a zombie. That’s nasty! And that is just one example of the many, many rude, crude, and murderous critters in this fun volume. This is part of a series of four books that examine the yuck-factor found throughout nature. Filled with plants and animals that spit, strangle, suffocate, slather, and otherwise threaten, injure, and kill other critters will fascinate young (and older!) readers. 
There is little the middle-grade crowd, especially boys, likes better than a book with a very high yuck-factor. This book, as the title implies, is going to be a big hit with the middle-grade readers. Authors Jenn Dlugos and Charlie Hatton have gathered some of the most fun facts in the natural world to keep youngsters reading and learning. The writing is crisp and the accompanying photographs are up-close and a little terrifying. This book is a real winner!
I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. To win, all you need do is have a US address, be a subscriber or follower, and tell me that in a comment you leave on this post. If you are reading this in your email, click HERE to go to the blog so you can leave a comment. If you would like extra chances, please spread the word by posting the link on a Tweet, blog post, Facebook, or any other way you like. Let me know what you have done in your comment, and I will put in extra chances for you for each that you do.
Don't forget to check out Shannon Messenger's wonderful blog HERE for many more Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday reviews and giveaways.