Monthly Archives: February 2012

Fun Reading Website for Kids

I stumbled across this great website while browsing the web:

It’s great fun because it incentivizes kids to read.  After they finish a book, kids can log on and answer a 5-10 question quiz (depending on the age level of the book).  If they get a certain amount correct, they win points that can be accumulated and used to “purchase” real prizes!  There are actually some great prizes available, for example:

Camille just saw the picture of the hamster on an e-book prize, and that’s what she’s working toward.

Of course it’s great to provide yet another incentive to read, but what I also really like about this site is that it tests comprehension and prepares them for similar tests in school…all in a fun way, of course.  The kids just think it’s a fun game and a way to win prizes!  Teachers can also put together class groups and create specialized quizzes and incentives and track student progress.

It’s fairly easy to accumulate prizes.  Camille took three quizzes of books she’s recently read and earned 420 points, and it took only maybe 10 minutes.

The one downside to the site is that, although there are 8,000 books available, most of the more recent books that the kids have read (and actually, every book they’ve reviewed on this blog except Stuart Little) do not have quizzes.  You can help your kids find books to read on the site, but it is fairly limiting.  They are trying to expand the library and parents/teachers can be approved to submit quizzes for new books, but in the meantime…Camille and I spent more time looking for quizzes on books that she’s read recently than it took her to actually complete the quizzes.  She is going to choose her next book (Sarah, Plain and Tall) based on the fact that there is a quiz available (it was on her list anyway).

Check it out, let us know what you think!


Filed under Raising a Reader

Camille reviews Invisible Inkling, by Emily Jenkins

I like Emily Jenkins’ books.  She’s a very good and funny author.  I like Toys Go Out and Invisible Inkling.  I like Invisible Inkling because it about an animal that is invisible, and I love invisible animals.

Invisible Inkling is a book about a boy named Hank.  He is a boy who found Invisible Inkling.  Invisible Inkling is an invisible animal who Hank found one day in his mother and father’s ice cream shop.  Invisible Inkling took a cone and ate it, but Hank thought, “What in the world is taking that cone!?  The cone is moving on its own!”  Then Invisible Inkling went for a walk, and so did Hank.  Hank went back to their apartment and went for a walk with one of their neighbor’s dogs.  While they were walking, the dog that they were walking kept on barking and barking at midair.  Then Invisible Inkling ran, and the dog ran after him.  That’s how Hank found the invisible animal.

Then he went to school with Invisible Inkling, and Invisible Inkling kept on jumping on people’s heads and hurting them.  People said, “Hank, stop putting things on top of our heads!”  Hank said, “Invisible Inkling, you have to go.”  At the end, finally Hank said, “OK, Invisible Inkling, you may stay,” because Invisible Inkling helped him.  There was a boy named Gilllicut at the school who was hurting Hank, so Invisible Inkling jumped on his head and hurt him, and Gillicut never went back to Hank ever again.

I think the part where Hank said no to Invisible Inkling was bad in the book, because he helped Hank.  I liked how Invisible Inkling jumped on people’s heads, and that he took the pizza away from Hank because he wanted cheesy goodness.  I think seven- and six-year-old kids would like this book.  Teenage kids, not really, because there’s a teenage girl in this book and she’s kind of coo-coo.  She wouldn’t let Hank touch any of her stuff, not even her helicopter book.

I would rate this book a 7 because I love invisible animals, but it wasn’t a really great book because I don’t like Gillicut because he scared me. Here is a video about Invisible Inkling that you can watch. It shows Emily Jenkins and Invisible Inkling, so you can hear how he sounds for real.

Thank you for reading my review!

Love, your friend Camille

NOTE FROM MOM:  This is a great book for kids like my daughter, whose reading skills sometimes surpass her ability (or maybe willingness) to relate to mature content.  The book is thematically written for young kids but is challenging for strong readers.  Emily Jenkins’ other books are among our favorites also.  Both kids love the Toys Go Out books (three in the series), and I recently read the adult book Mr. Posterior and the Genius Child, an entertaining book which I greatly enjoyed.  I related to Mr. Posterior on two levels:  from the viewpoint of the main character (Vanessa, a young girl growing up in the 70’s) and her mother, whose parental ambiguity is a timeless topic.  Check out Emily Jenkins’ site and try some of her books for both kids and adults:


Filed under Book Reviews, Book Reviews for Kids, Book Reviews for Moms, Uncategorized

We Won a Versatile Blogger Award! by Mason

We won a Versatile Blogger Award, and that is when you get an award for writing a blog!  When you win the award, you have to:

1)  Tell about the person who gave you the award

2)  You have to tell seven things about yourself

3)  You have to tell about 15 or less blogs and give them awards.

First, we have to thank you, Erik, for the award!  Erik reviews books.  Erik is a cool kid who does robotics.  He has a blog called This Kid Reviews Books.

The second thing I have to do is tell you what I’m all about.  The first thing is that I’m funny.  Second thing is that I make a lot of friends.  The third thing is that I’m caring.  The fourth thing is that I live in a big yellow house.  The fifth thing is that I like to play sports.  The sixth thing is that I like to read books.  And the last thing is that when I grow up, I want to be an astronomer.

The last thing I have to do is tell you about other people’s blogs.  The first one is Books for Boys( There’s a bunch of books on there, that you can pick out from your library.  There’s a book that I’m reading that I found on that blog, and it’s called Airball.  I’m going to write a review about that one.  I’m going to be writing my Airball blog when I’m done with it (the book).  I don’t know which week I’m going to be done with it, it has a lot of pages.

The other blog I want to tell you about is the Origami Yoda blog.  The blog is about people making origami yodas, and you can make one too!

Sincerely, Mason

Side note from Mom:

Thanks to Erik for the “award!”  I’m happy we’ve had this opportunity to share a few of the blogs that have encouraged Mason to read even more.  We’ve shared three very different blogs:  from a kid, from a librarian, and from an author.  This Kid Reviews Books is a great blog written by a ten-year-old (Erik).  He is wise beyond his years, and a prolific blogger.  I’m sure you’ll find some books for your kids on his blog, and it is also a great encouragement for kids to both read and write, and that it’s cool to be smart!

Books for Boys is a great resource because it is written by a male children’s librarian, and specifically focuses on books that boys would like.  We’ve gotten so many great ideas from this site!  Mason is in the midst of  one of his recommendations:  Airball: My Life in Briefs, by L. D. Harkrader and thinks it is really funny: it’s about a boys’ basketball team that plays in their underwear.  We’ve also put  a couple of his other recommendations on hold at the library:  Ferno the Fire Dragon (Beast Quest series, #1), by Adam Blade, what the blog author (nameless on his blog) refers to as “Fantasy Light” for younger kids; and Floors, by Patrick Carman, comparable to “If Willy Wonka Ran a Hotel.”

Finally, we recommended author Tom Angleberger’s blog about his books (including Origami Yoda, which Mason reviewed  in this post).  Not only is it a fun place to visit, but Tom is great with the kids:  answering questions, posting kids’ pictures, and offering contests.  This is what a children’s author should be; so many seem distant and unaccessible, but he is like a kid himself.  Heck, I wish I were a kid so I could participate!  Want your kids to dork out over books instead of TV shows or video games?  Here’s where to start.

Happy reading!

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Filed under Book Reviews for Kids, Raising a Reader

Why Dr. Seuss is the Greatest Children’s Author Ever

We spent a lot of time reading Seuss in our house when the kids were young, particularly Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham.  The rhythm of the stories was great for teaching the kids to read, and it was a lot of fun for me to read aloud as well.  Of course, if you really think about it, there’s more to Seuss than meets the eye.  George Takei posted this graphic on his Facebook page, and I thought it was genius:

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Camille reviews Stuart Little: Book vs Movie

This is a book about Stuart Little.  It is about a mouse who goes on adventures to find a bird.  He lives in a house with a mother, father, and brother that are human people.  He got really sick, and a bird  named Margalo came over.  She was sick too…she had the bird fever.  One day, three cats came:  one that lived at the house, and two cats that were his friends.  One of the cats said, “Hey, let’s go and eat that bird,” and the cat who lived there said, “Ok, you can try!”   And then Margalo left because he heard what he said.  Stuart Little went out to find her.  Then he went to another city and stayed there for the rest of his life.

In the movie, it is talking about Stuart Little and doesn’t have Margalo in it.

I liked the book better because he went to another city and he met a girl.  In the movie, he never went to another city and he never met a girl.  They were supposed to have a date, but when they went to the canoe that he worked so hard on making, it broke and things came off it, and then it started leaking.  It made me feel a little bit sad and angry at big boys, because big boys are the ones who smashed it.  It made me happy because at the end, it was a really good story.

I would recommend this book to other kids who already know how to read chapter books.  Boys and girls will like this book, especially boys and girls who like fantasies.  I would rate this book a 5 because it is a kind of good book, not a really good book.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Book Reviews for Kids