Small Fry Saturday: Nonfiction Kidlit Mini Reviews

I always have my eyes open for nonfiction titles I think my daughter will enjoy, especially if I can include them in our homeschooling day. The following two books were big hits. I received a copy of each from Kids Can Press to be considered for an honest review. If... A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers written by David J. Smith illustrated by Steve Adams Huge concepts are scaled down to help kids wrap their minds around facts such as the age of the earth, the size of our galaxy, etc. To be honest, it can be difficult for adults to fully grasp this degree of enormity. I'm a sucker for living math/science, and the cover art…


Giveaway: Four Before Their Time by Timothy Spillane

  I very, very rarely cover books I haven't actually read, but this one is a special case. When Christine from New Shelves contacted me about this book, well . . . most of you know C is a preemie. She wasn't a micropreemie and relatively speaking, she had a fairly easy time of it. But prematurity still sucks, and now, five years later, I'm glad to say I'm finally in a very good place when I look back at it. I love that this book is written by a preemie grandparent: C's grandparents were a vital part of our NICU journey. I read sample pages and connected with what I read. But as much as I wanted to accept a copy for review consideration,…


Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör is a haunted house story delivered in an imaginative layout: a retail catalog. Employees at the Orsk furniture superstore in Columbus, Ohio have been arriving each morning to find their store has been vandalized...but security tapes show nothing. Five young employees stay in the store overnight to figure out what has been happening. Anyone who has worked an hourly job, especially in retail, will pick up on the satire and social commentary wrapped up in this book. It's delivered in an odd but lighthearted way. At first, the story taps into the fun aspects of campfire ghost stories and slumber party seances. Then it starts to get psychologically scary. Kind of Blair Witch meets Ikea knock-off. Unfortunately, once the…


The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony Orchestra by John Sant’Ambrogio

  My spouse always complains that when we get together with musician friends, all we do is "talk about music." We love trading stories, and some of our older friends have some pretty fantastic tales. I expected to love this book, but strangely enough, I'm not sure I was the right audience for it. In The Day I Almost Destroyed the Boston Symphony Orchestra, John Sant'Ambrogio hops around through time; sometimes he was a professional, other times a student, then suddenly a professional again. A more linear approach would have been easier to follow. Many of his stories contained details too familiar to me, and didn't hold my interest. I think classical music enthusiasts or music students who aren't involved (or…


The Radical Housewife by Shannon Drury

  I should probably start off disclosing my own bias. As a libertarian, I don't really identify with either of the two major political parties. I'm a little to the left on some issues, a little to the right on others...and mostly, I'm fed up with the extremes at either end. However, I love talking politics and hearing another person's perspective, as long as things remain respectful. Shannon Drury was so easy to relate to at the start of this memoir, even knowing that she leans much further left than I do. I was impressed with her desire for a loving community who cares about all of its members, regardless of social, cultural, and economic status. I was also impressed…


World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

  World of Trouble is the third book in Ben H. Winters's The Last Policeman trilogy. I read the first two books (The Last Policeman and Countdown City) back-to-back earlier this year and was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. In this final installment, we're down to the final days before the deadly asteroid strikes. Hank and his sister, Nico, weren't on the best of terms when they last parted ways. Now Hank is frantically searching for Nico, hoping to apologize and make things right before the end. This one started off a little slowly for me. It took me about fifty pages or so to get back into the storyline. I didn't especially like the detours back in…


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