Baby’s Book of the Week: Good Night, Gorilla


What’s the best book we got from the library this week? One we already own at home! Baby loves the board book Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, and we found a great big board book version of it at the library. For some reason, this big version is even more fun with its bright, jewel tone colors and easy to turn pages.

goodnightgorillaGood Night, Gorilla follows a zookeeper as he checks in with each animal before heading home for the night. But what he doesn’t realize is that the sneaky gorilla has stolen his keys, let himself out of his cage, and freed all the other animals from their cages! The animals quietly follow the zookeeper out of the zoo and into his house. Everyone snuggles in for the night – until the zookeeper’s wife notices the gorilla sharing her bed!

The book drives some of my relatives crazy because there are hardly any words in the story. They aren’t quite sure how to read it. But Baby loves to read this book over and over and over and over. She gets it! She even laughs at just the right parts!

This Week’s Honorable Mention:

  • Where is Baby’s Pumpkin by Karen Katzwhereisbabyspumpkin

This Halloween book stays in our book basket year round, as Baby loves to lift the flaps. We actually have three copies of this book now! (Which is not a bad thing, since a few of the paper flaps have gotten a bit loved!) The story asks readers to search for Baby’s special pumpkin so she can go trick or treating. “Is it under the leaves?” or “Is it in the closet?” – you’ll have to read the book to find out!


Attention Grabbing YA Books


When I saw Bustle’s list of “16 YA books that will keep your attention ’til the last page,” I was obviously intrigued. I’m always on the lookout for a great YA read. The list included a couple of books I had already read (Eleanor & Park and We Were Liars), as well as several books on my Goodreads To-Read list (Ready Player One, Red Queen, and a book by Neil Gaiman). I’m assuming that since my reading tastes fit this list fairly well, there will be others I’ll enjoy too. Check out the list and see if anything catches your attention.

If I were going to create a list of YA books that kept my attention, I would recommend the following…

  1. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. It starts with The Knife of Never Letting Go. Check out my rave review here.

The trilogy is set in a strange world where men broadcast all of their thoughts as noise. When one man is able to control and mask his noise, he becomes power hungry. It’s up to teens Todd and Violet to stop him and set things right.

  1. Under the Never Sky trilogy by Veronica Rossi. Read why I liked it here.

In this novel, there are two groups of people: one group lives in technology controlled pods, while another group lives out in the wasteland with no technological advancements. Violent lightning storms are threatening the survival of both groups. When Aria is kicked out of her pod and forced into the wasteland, she meets Perry and must work with him and his unusual abilities so that humanity can survive.

  1. Burn for Burn trilogy co-authored by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian – both are awesome writers on their own, too.

In the first book of the trilogy, three girls team up to carry out revenge plots. However, as the trilogy continues, they begin to doubt whether they should continue with their plans – especially after people get hurt. With friendships and relationships put to the test, and some supernatural influences too, the series is sure to be a hit with readers who enjoyed Pretty Little Liars.

  1. Juliet Immortal and Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay – a great twist on the classic story of Romeo & Juliet.

I happened upon this book duo and was pleasantly surprised. What if Juliet didn’t take her own life? What if Romeo had murdered her in order to attain immortality? 700 years later, Romeo leads a miserable life destroying love while Juliet works for the Ambassadors of Light. The concept is a bit heavy at times, but the story and characters are entertaining and will keep you guessing to figure out how it all ends until the last page.

  1. The Madman’s Daughter trilogy by Megan Shepherd. Read about my thoughts on the books, plus a dream cast here.

Juliet is the daughter of a madman. Her father experiments on animals, transforming them into human-like creatures. When Juliet is reunited with her father on a secluded island, she is forced to wonder if perhaps she is a bit mad too. The story is dark and creepy, pulling in elements of the classic tale The Island of Dr. Moreau. There is also a love triangle that brings a modern element to the story. You’ll be hooked by the madness that continues into the next two books in the series.

  1. The Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi.

The trilogy starts with Juliette locked up in a cell so she doesn’t hurt anyone. She has the strange ability of being able to kill people simply with her touch. Now that war is on the horizon, prominent players begin to realize that she could be a powerful weapon. Will Juliette recognize her strength before she becomes a pawn? And just what exactly are they fighting against? There are lots of great twists, intriguing characters, and a love story to keep you interested from the first page to the last.

(Just realized two of these recommendations have a Juliet as the main character and a third has a Juliette! Weird coincidence…)

Do you have any attention grabbing YA books to recommend?

A Box of Books

box_of_booksI recently mailed a package to the school I worked at for four years. Inside the box was a stack of books that I had picked up at the Half Price Bookstore, read, and wanted to share. Mind you, I bought these books months ago, but I couldn’t bear to part with them! I almost decided not to mail them at all. Then I looked around at our apartment (which is bursting at the seams already) and decided that since I had read the books, I could live without the physical proof. Here’s what I sent and a review in fifteen words or less, plus some notes to help you decide whether or not you should add it to your summer reading list:

  • Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson: Average teen pulls prank, earning a reputation. He then deals with rumors and ruined reputations.
    • Read Twisted if you like realistic characters and situations, and topics that are relevant to today’s teens. Also read if you liked Anderson’s other novels, like Speak.
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman: Accident lands a girl in a coma. She must decide to live or let go.
    • Read If I Stay if you saw the movie preview and thought it looked interesting, or if you like teenagers put in difficult situations that they must overcome. This one’s a bit of a tearjerker.
  • The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler: 1996 teens access their future Facebook pages through AOL CD. Their choices affect their futures.
    • Read The Future of Us if you enjoyed Asher’s 13 Reasons Why, or if you are interested in how technology has changed our lives in a relatively short time, thanks to the internet and Facebook.
  • Starters by Lissa Price: Elderly rent out teenagers’ bodies for fun, but teens soon become mindless weapons.
    • Read Starters if you like YA dystopian novels with strong female leads like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched. This novel has a sequel titled Enders, which I picked up from the library this week, but haven’t started yet.
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: Lillia, Kat, and Mary help one another seek revenge, but maybe they go too far…
    • Read Burn for Burn if you are tired of YA dystopian novels! This novel has three girls from different social cliques working together on revenge plots. There is also a bit of the supernatural involved. This book is followed by Fire with Fire, which I also read and enjoyed, and I’m interested to see what will happen in the third book in the series.
  • Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer: Meteor pushes moon closer to earth and family must survive with stockpiled food and wood-stove.
    • Read Life As We Knew It if you’re interested in finding out what life would be like if a global natural disaster really happened and you were forced to survive without grocery stores, water, heat, electricity, cell phones, and the internet. The novel is written as a series of journal entries. It is followed up by three other books in the series (which I have not read, and I’m not sure that I will).
  • The Kill Order by James Dashner: Prequel to Maze Runner series. How it all started. Mutating disease released on innocent people.
    • Read The Kill Order if you read the Maze Runner series and are still confused! While this novel still didn’t answer all of my questions, it did help explain how the disease started in the first place. It also shows what life was like right at the time of the sun flares, which are discussed in the Maze Runner books.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Kid leaves reservation school to attend a white school for hope of a better future.
    • Read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian if you have ever felt like you didn’t belong in your family, community, or school. Read this book if you’ve felt like there was more to you and your potential than everyone around you imagined. As the main character is a teenage boy, I feel like boys would be drawn to this book more than girls would. Read this book if you disagree with book banning/challenging and you want to see what all the fuss is about.
  • Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen: Author of Hatchet and Brian’s Winter returns with more of Brian’s story.
    • This is the only book out of the bunch that I didn’t read. I just know that kids always like Gary Paulsen’s books. Students are captivated by Brian’s ability to survive in the wild on his own. I remember reading Hatchet and Brian’s Winter in elementary school and really enjoying them. I think I remember this unit in particular because we even got to build our own forts in the school forest. How cool is that?!

How did I do?  Do you think my box of books will be a hit with teenagers looking for something new to read?