Miscellaneous

[Book Review] Epos The Winged Flame (Beast Quest, #6) by Adam Blade

One boy’s journey to help his village becomes a quest to save the kingdom.

The entire Beast Quest has been leading up to the final battle. Tom is ready to defeat the last of Malvel’s Beasts: the Winged Flame, a phoenix living inside a volcano! And though his friends have been there to help him along his Quest, he must ultimately go forward to face the final Beast alone.

But Tom has more to worry about than Epos. As he struggles to free the Beast and defeat the dark wizard Malvel, Tom learns more about his mysterious father–and his own destiny as well.


With Epos the Winged Flame, the Beast Quest series ends… sort of. From here, Beast Quest gets a new subtitle every six books, and the people behind “Adam Blade” have cranked out seventy eight books so far with no signs of stopping. And if the rest of them are anything like the first six, why should they stop?

The first six books of the Beast Quest series have been short, simplistically written, unabashedly cliche, and strictly formulaic. Finishing one of these manuscripts can’t possibly take more than a month, and the publishing house can get anyone to ghostwrite as “Adam Blade” without the child fans catching on. For as long as anyone’s interested in buying these, they’re going to keep pumping ’em out.

Now, let me be clear. These aren’t bad books, from what I’ve read so far. They’re just… not good. As far as child-aimed fantasy series go, they’re going to entertain a five or six year old; someone that age is still likely still able to find amusement in the tired cliches, the melodramatic scenes, and the repetitive plots that would make the rest of us roll our eyes. It’s just that so far, the Beast Quest series seems to determined not to think outside the box. It’s the same monsters (dragons, ogres, and serpents, oh my!), the same basic characters (the uber-competent boy child and the girl who always needs to be rescued), and the same plot (find/collect/destroy all the things!) that every other series has rehashed over and over and over (and over and over and over) again.

Meanwhile, Deltora Quest, for instance, is challenging children with riddles, introducing them to a detailed fictional world with unique creatures and locations, and entertaining them with reasonably unique and engaging plots. Against that series, this pales in comparison.

Like I said, I really do want to emphasize that this isn’t a terrible series. Sure, it’s clearly written to get kids interested in a series that can go one indefinitely with little effort, one that their parents, teachers, and local libraries can just keep buying until the publishing company finally concedes that >80 (or >100 or >200 or whatever) books is getting to be a bit ridiculous. But it’s a good way to introduce children to the fantasy genre; it’s packed full of the genre’s most cliche and basic principles, and it can help any budding fan familiarize him or herself with those until they’re ready to move on.

While I’ll gladly advise anyone interested in purchasing the Beast Quest series to consider Deltora Quest instead, Beast Quest is a perfectly acceptable first fantasy series for an elementary school child. And I’ll gladly continue reading the series (at least until the point at which my local library system stopped purchasing the new releases); hopefully these later six-book installments will cover some more unique territory.

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Cover Characteristic

Cover Characteristic: Yellow and Orange


This Week’s Characteristic: Yellow & Orange

Cover Characteristic is a weekly meme hosted by Sugar & Snark.


The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2) by Rae Carson

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy. La couronne de flammes is the French edition. No, I cannot read French; I just like the cover.

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1) by Chuck Wendig

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow ? and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie–his first mate and the love of his life–forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry–angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck… even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

House of Secrets (House of Secrets #1) by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

The Walker kids had it all: loving parents, a big house in San Francisco, all the latest video games . . . but everything changed when their father lost his job as a result of an inexplicable transgression. Now the family is moving into Kristoff House, a mysterious place built nearly a century earlier by Denver Kristoff, a troubled writer with a penchant for the occult.

Suddenly the siblings find themselves launched on an epic journey into a mash-up world born of Kristoff’s dangerous imagination, to retrieve a dark book of untold power, uncover the Walker family’s secret history and save their parents . . . and maybe even the world.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Firebrand (Elemental, #2) by Antony John

Thomas and his friends have rescued the Guardians and commandeered the pirates’ ship, but the pirates still hold fast to Roanoke Island. Using his newly discovered element, Thomas hears a radio message calling for refugees to head to Fort Sumter. They sail south, but quickly discover that their elements wane as they leave Roanoke behind. There is something sinister going on in the refugee colony too. From the perilous food-gathering squads, to the constant threat of rat infestation, to dangerous secrets, Thomas and his colonists begin to realize that this promising new world may be even more terrifying than the one they left behind.

Miscellaneous

The Magic School Bus Weathers The Storm by Kristin Earhart

CRASH! BOOM! FLASH! There are stormy skies ahead for Ms. Frizzle and her class. What happens when the Magic School Bus turns into a weather balloon? Take off with the Magic School Bus and learn all about what happens during a thunderstorm.

The Magic School Bus Weathers the Storm is based on the Magic School Bus series of books from Joanna Cole and stars the characters of the award-winning Magic School Bus television show.

In the book, Ms. Frizzle’s class of eight students is struggling in the oppressive heat of Walkerville. Their lesson for the day is weather, and Tim wishes it would rain. This is all Ms. Frizzle needs to announce a new field trip.

As the class learns about storms, the magic of their school bus lets them become part of one. They learn about air temperature, storm clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain before the storm ends and they return to school.

It isn’t the most in-depth lesson on storms, so while I would recommend the book to fans of the Magic School Bus series, I’d advise complementing it with a viewing of the television episode, “Kicks Up a Storm”. It’s very similar, and while it’s certainly not the best episode of the series, I believe it covers the territory a bit better than this book.

Miscellaneous

The Magic School Bus In The Rain Forest by Eva Moore


Ms. Frizzle and the kids are off on an adventure to the wet and wonderful rain forest. Their mission: to find out why Ms. Frizzle’s cocoa tree has stopped growing cocoa beans. (Without cocoa beans there wouldn’t be any chocolate!) Could there be a cocoa bean thief in the rain forest? Or is there some other reason the healthy tree has suddenly lost its beans?


The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest is an adaptation of the Magic School Bus television episode “In the Rain Forest”… sort of. While much of the plot and even some of the dialogue is lifted straight out of that episode, the focus of the story and some key plot elements are changed.

The changes (such as who bought the cocoa tree for Ms. Frizzle and why, Inspector 47’s plan to keep out the peccaries, and the general state of the rain forest itself) serve to shift the story’s focus; in the episode version, the lesson’s focus was the web of life and how the plants and animals in an ecosystem are all interconnected, while the picture book’s lessons is on the rain forest itself.

Though fans of the television show–such as myself–may be vaguely annoyed to see an episode’s plot appropriated to teach a different lesson, The Magic School Bus in the Rain Forest is a good way to teach a young child about rain forests. I would, however, definitely recommend complementing this with a viewing of the episode.

Miscellaneous

[Book Review] Down the Rabbit Hole by Susan Campbell Bartoletti


Down the Rabbit Hole, Chicago, Illinois, 1871: The Diary of Pringle Rose (Dear America)Down the Rabbit Hole by Susan Campbell Bartoletti

My rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Down the Rabbit Hole was an immense disappointment; I can’t recall the last time I was so emotionally frustrated by a book. Compared to the other two Dear America books I’ve read (A City Tossed and Broken and Color Me Dark), Down the Rabbit Hole was a hot mess.

At its core, Down the Rabbit Hole is the story of a young woman whose life goes to hell after her parents die. She faces heartbreak, betrayal, and abandonment, all of which are great plot elements to have… as long as the narrative deals with them appropriately. Down the Rabbit Hole fails miserably in this regard.

Over the course of the book, young Pringle and Gideon are beaten by their aunt, who never faces any repercussions for her actions. They are involved in a train accident in which their cat, Mozie, disappears into the wilderness and is never seen again. When they arrive in Chicago, they learn that their family friend and hopeful guardian has been committed to a sanitarium because her father got sick of her crusading for animal rights. When Pringle is reunited with her love interest through a ludicrously massive coincidence, he admits to inadvertently killing her parents, at which point Pringle’s only friend in the world and one of the only level-headed and kind people in the book throws Pringle and Gideon out onto the street during the Great Chicago Fire. She says she never wants to see Pringle again, because apparently who you father was is more important than who you’ve proven yourself to be.

By the end of the book, it had become clear that Pringle’s story wasn’t so much a story as it was a collection of extremely depressing, often contrived misfortunes that ultimately added up to an emotionally shallow book and a dissatisfying reading experience.

Unfortunately, I can’t recommend Down the Rabbit Hole to anyone other than lovers of tragedy. To anyone intending to read their first Dear America book, I would strongly recommend picking one other than this.

A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley for the purpose of review.

Miscellaneous

The Magic School Bus Gets Crabby by Kristin Earhart

The Magic School Bus Gets CrabbyThe Magic School Bus Gets Crabby by Kristin Earhart

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Magic School Bus Gets Crabby is a Level 2 Scholastic Reader, featuring “vocabulary and sentence length for beginning readers”; it’s based on the Magic School Bus series of picture books by Joanna Cole and stars the characters of the Magic School Bus television show.

In the story, Ms. Frizzle’s class is going on a field trip to the pool; little do they realize that when Ms. Frizzle says “pool”, she means tidal pool, and the class’s lesson for the day is on their local tidal pools and the creatures that live there. They learn about barnacles and hermit crabs, and the illustrations point out many other tidal pool lifeforms (mussels, anemones, starfish, etcetera). There is also some information about the impact of the tides on the lifeforms that live in the pools.

Ultimately, The Magic School Bus Gets Crabby is a good way to introduce young children to tidal pools, though I feel that children (and adults) who live in areas where there are no tidal pools (me, for example) won’t quite get the full effect. If you’re planning on taking your child on a trip to a beach that has tidal pools, however, this is a wonderful way to introduce them to the concept, or even something to read during the beach visit. I’d also recommend accompanying this book with the Magic School Bus television episode “Goes to Mussel Beach”, which explores tidal zones and how they affect sea life.

Miscellaneous

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

When it comes to the top ten books on my Autumn 2013 reading list, I’ve got a backlog of ARCs that I’ve been sitting on for a shamefully long time that I definitely need to get through. Ten of those–the ones that I am most looking forward to–are listed below in no particular order. Book summaries come from Goodreads.

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (Chronicles of Light & Shadow, #1) by Liesel Schwarz

Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.

Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.

But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible.

Deadly Offer (The Vampire’s Promise, #1) by Caroline B. Cooney
When you make a deal with a vampire, there’s no chance to change your mind. Or is there?

Althea is a nobody who wants to be somebody. She wants to be noticed, to have friends, to be part of the popular crowd. Then she meets the vampire who lives in the circular tower in her new house.

The vampire says that he can make her popular–more popular than she ever imagined she could be. All Althea has to do is agree to a simple deal. So simple a promise, but so evil.

Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Eleven-year-old Emily Elizabeth Davis has been told for her entire life that her destiny is to become a poet, just like her famous namesake, Emily Dickinson. But Emily doesn’t even really like poetry, and she has a secret career ambition that she suspects her English-professor mother will frown on. Then, just after discovering that it contains an important family secret, she loses the special volume of Emily Dickinson’s poetry that was given to her at birth. As Emily and her friends search for the lost book in used bookstores and thrift shops all across town, Emily’s understanding of destiny begins to unravel and then rewrite itself in a marvelous new way.

Play Dead (A Dog and His Girl Mysteries, #1) by Jane B. Mason and Sarah Hines-Stephens

A dog and his girl show how six legs are better than two in this brand new mystery series!

When Dodge, a German shepherd police dog, finds himself retired after an accident leaves him deaf in one ear, he’s lucky to be adopted by the perfect family. Twelve-year-old Cassie Sullivan, his girl, smells almost as good as a dog, and gets her nose for sleuthing from her police chief mom and coroner dad. Cassie is smart and quick on her feet, and doesn’t mind breaking a couple rules to get to the bottom of a mystery. Dodge has forty-two dog years of experience solving crime, as well as a great network of other four-legged colleagues when he needs more intel.

When Verdel Ward, the richest man in town, goes missing, it seems like everyone from the mayor to the housekeeper wants his fortune, which he’s left behind with no will. But Cassie and Dodge can smell a mystery from a mile away, and can’t help wondering why a miser would go swimming in a dangerous cove, what’s up with the suspicious fiancee, who’s been sneaking around the mansion, and where a twin brother has come from.

Resist (Breathe, #2) by Sarah Crossan

The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan’s Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what’s left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there’s enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod’s Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.

The Templeton Twins Make a Scene (Templeton Twins, #2) by Ellis Weiner

Abigail and John Templeton find themselves at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) where their father, the illustrious Professor Templeton, has been hired to invent a groundbreaking theatrical device. Once again, there is drama (of course!), silliness, and suspense, as the twins (and their ridiculous dog) must thwart the dastardly Dean brothers in order to save the invention as well as their father (and the dog). Oh yes, there is sure to be another recipe. This time for guacamole. Or is it coleslaw?

The Book of Cthulhu II

For nearly a century, H. P. Lovecraft’s tales of malevolent Great Old Ones existing beyond the dimensions of this world, beyond the borders of sanity, have captured and held the imaginations of writers and aficionados of the dark, the macabre, the fantastic, and the horrible. Now, because you demanded more, anthologist Ross E. Lockhart has risked all to dive back into the Cthulhu canon, combing through mind-shattering manuscripts and moldering tomes to bring you The Book of Cthulhu 2, with even more tales of tentacles, terror, and madness.

Featuring monstrous stories by many of weird fiction’s brightest lights, The Book of Cthulhu 2 brings you even more tales inspired by H. P. Lovecraft’s greatest creation: The Cthulhu mythos.

The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep, #2) by Zoraida Córdova

The ocean is a vicious place. Deeper and darker than Tristan could have imagined. Beneath its calm blue surface, an ancient battle is churning—and no one is safe.

In the quest for the Sea Throne, Tristan has already watched one good friend die. Now he must lead the rest on a dangerous voyage in search of the trident that will make him king. But while Tristan chases his destiny, the dark forces racing against him are getting stronger, and the sea witch of his nightmares is getting closer.

Battling sea dragons and savage creatures of the deep, Tristan needs his friends’ support. But they each have their secrets, and a betrayal will force Tristan to choose between his crown and his best friend Layla—the only girl he’s ever loved.

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy #1) by Chuck Wendig

Corn is king in the Heartland, and Cael McAvoy has had enough of it. It’s the only crop the Empyrean government allows the people of the Heartland to grow, and the genetically modified strain is so aggressive that it takes everything the Heartlanders have just to control it. As captain of the Big Sky Scavengers, Cael and his crew sail their rickety ship over the corn day after day, scavenging for valuables, trying to earn much-needed ace notes for their families. But Cael’s tired of surviving life on the ground while the Empyrean elite drift by above in their extravagant sky flotillas. He’s sick of the mayor’s son besting Cael’s crew in the scavenging game. And he’s worried about losing Gwennie, his first mate and the love of his life, forever when their government-chosen spouses are revealed. But most of all, Cael is angry–angry that their lot in life will never get better and that his father doesn’t seem upset about any of it. Cael’s ready to make his own luck… even if it means bringing down the wrath of the Empyrean elite and changing life in the Heartland forever.

Unremembered (Unremembered, #1) by Jessica Brody

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

Miscellaneous

The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving by Joanna Cole

Magic School Bus At the First ThanksgivingThe Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving by Joanna Cole

My rating: ★★★☆☆

The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving is a Level 2 Scholastic Reader, featuring “vocabulary and sentence length for beginning readers”. It’s based on Joanna’s Cole’s original Magic School Bus book series and stars the characters of the Magic School Bus television show in a trip to the “first Thanksgiving”.

As far as Thanksgiving books go, there are three main categories. The first category tells the story of a modern U.S. Thanksgiving and mostly or completely ignores the origins of the holiday. The second tells the mythical version of the “first” Thanksgiving that elementary school students throughout the United States “reenact” every year. The third kind attempts to teach children the truth behind the nonsense. I’m happy to say that The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving is an example of the third case.

In the book, Ms. Frizzle is teaching her class about the Thanksgiving holiday; on her blackboard, she has written a menu of what the English emigrants and Wampanoag may actually have eaten at the celebration that eventually came to be referred to as “the first Thanksgiving”. Upon seeing this menu, the students insist that pumpkin pie should be listed–they have it every year!–but Dorothy Ann’s book says otherwise. To get to the bottom of it, Ms. Frizzle ushers her class into the bus for a field trip through time.

On their trip, the class gets to witness the Mayflower’s journey to and arrival in North America and the first winter the emigrants endured in their new home (complete with a mention of the many deaths that occurred during this period). Then the story gets into the “Thanksgiving” itself, explaining Tisquantum /Squanto’s role in the story (mention is made of his being kidnapped and taken to England, but not of his enslavement; presumably the subject was considered a tad too mature for a book aimed at toddlers), the duties the Europeans performed during the harvest season, and the recreation that may have been indulged in during the three-celebration. Notably, the book also points out that there were more Native Americans than Europeans at the celebration, that the celebration was not called a “Thanksgiving”, and that Thanksgiving was not a national holiday until 1863; it also alludes to the fact that the Wampanoag people’s arrival at the celebration was a surprise and not the result of a previously extended invitation.

All in all, I’d say The Magic School Bus at the First Thanksgiving is a wonderful way to teach children about the reality (to the best of modern historians’ knowledge) of the “first Thanksgiving”, and I highly recommend it to those children interested in learning about the background of the holiday–especially those children whose schools perpetuate the mythical version of the historical event.

Miscellaneous

A City Tossed and Broken by Judy Blundell

A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 (Dear America)A City Tossed and Broken: The Diary of Minnie Bonner, San Francisco, California, 1906 by Judy Blundell

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Dear America is a middle grade series from Scholastic that explores in diary form the lives of young women and girls at important points in United States history. In A City Tossed and Broken, the young woman in question is Minnie Bonner, a young woman who is forced to take a position as a maid after her father gambles away almost everything the family owns. But when her employers are killed in the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Minnie faces dual dilemmas; as she grapples with the moral dilemma of using a young woman’s death to her advantage, she must escape the flames that are consuming San Francisco.

All in all, A City Tossed and Broken is both a reasonably educational glimpse at a historical disaster and an entertaining story that manages to be extraordinary without breaking one’s suspension of disbelief, and its fourteen-year-old female protagonist is both clever and competent in the face of extreme circumstances. After the epilogue of Minnie’s story, there is also a helpful section that elaborates on the historical disaster and features photographs of the damage done to the city.

I’d recommend the book to fans of MG and historical fiction, especially those with an interest in natural disasters and/or San Francisco. For children with an interest in natural disasters and/or San Francisco who can’t yet handle a book this size, I would recommend checking out Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne; for those interested in a nonfiction take on the 1906 disaster, I’d recommend the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast’s 2011 episode, History’s Unforgettable Fires.

And I will definitely be reading more of the Dear America series in the future.

A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley for the purpose of review.

Miscellaneous

The Magic School Bus Fights Germs by Kate Egan

The Magic School Bus Fights GermsThe Magic School Bus Fights Germs by Kate Egan

My rating: ★★☆☆☆

The Magic School Bus Fights Germs is a Level 2 Scholastic Reader (featuring “vocabulary and sentence length for beginning readers”) based on the Magic School Bus franchise created by Joanna Cole and starring the characters of the Magic School Bus television show.

When Wanda gets sent home from school with strep throat, Ms. Frizzle’s class takes the opportunity to learn about how the human body fights germs. The class learns about germs, red and white blood cells, and antibodies; essentially, it’s the same plot as the television episode, Inside Ralphie.

I’d recommend the book to parents of young children, especially those who are currently fighting off or have recently recovered from an illness such as strep throat, a flu, etcetera. However, I would also point out that I believe Inside Ralphie does a better job of covering the immune system, so I’d advise anyone who can get their hands on that episode to supplement this book with it (or substitute it entirely).