500+ Book Reviews from Kids!

February 5th, 2014 by

If you asked your best friend, “What book should I read next?” — I bet they would have LOTS of suggestions. Well, that’s what the Reviews by You(th) section of Kidsmomo is all about! As of January, over 500 reviews have been submitted by kids like you, so…

party_adventure-time

In celebration, we decided to launch our very own Kidsmomo radio station* to share a few of our favorite book reviews with the world.

*Disclaimer: Not actual radio station; do not turn on your radio. Just click the play buttons below!

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
 
Read & comment on the review for Smile »

Sheep by Valerie Hobbs
 
Read & comment on the review for Sheep »

Keep an eye (and ear) on Kidsmomo for more from Station KDMO — and keep those book reviews coming! Submission form is below!

— Nancy & Karen

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Rate the Book!

Terms of Submission

Before being published, your submission will be reviewed. It will be checked to see that it does not contain any inappropriate language or personal information. By sending us your submission, you are giving Kidsmomo permission to edit, promote, and put it up on our site and/or read it in its entirety in our podcast. However, because lots of kids send us submissions, we won't be able to publish all of the submissions that we receive. Also, it's really important to send us only your own writing and not anything that you copied from somewhere else. Thank you.

Background music (c) Kevin MacLeod

Our Splendiferous Afternoon of Roald Dahl

December 22nd, 2013 by

dahl-booksA few weeks ago, we spent a wonderful couple of hours in the presence of the legendary author Roald Dahl. No, we didn’t hang out with his corpse or a Zombie Roald Dahl — more like, the author was present in spirit. That’s because we attended an event called A Splendiferous Afternoon of Roald Dahl!

jarret-j-krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

On December 8th, actors, singers, and even the grandson of Roald Dahl gathered in NYC to celebrate the author with performances and speeches — all hosted by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, author and artist of the Lunch Lady series.

The event raised money for a charity called First Book, which donates books to needy kids, so it was a good cause in addition to being a good time!

It truly was a splendiferous marvelous fantabulous afternoon, and we want to share it with you! So here’s our re-cap:

The event started with a performance from the Broadway musical Matilda — you can guess which Roald Dahl book the show is based on! Actress Sophia Gennusa belted out the song “Naughty,” which is totally inspirational, not to mention catchy! Here’s a version of the song that was performed in England:

Paul-Giamatti

Paul Giammati

Then actor Paul Giammati read from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — but he didn’t just read from it. He also took on the voices and body language of the characters, and his maniacal Willy Wonka laugh definitely caused all of us in the audience to crack up ourselves.

It felt like being transported into the factory, gliding along the chocolate river in a candy boat and watching the unfortunate Violet Beauregarde turn from a gum-chewing little girl into a giant blueberry right in front of our eyes.

Mara-Wilson-Amy-Ryan

Mara Wilson and Amy Ryan

Next, we learned about how some seemingly nice and harmless ladies can actually be evil creatures intent on squelching children — as actresses Amy Ryan and Mara Wilson read from The Witches. (Fun fact: Mara Wilson played Matilda in the movie version from 1996; now she’s 26 years old!)

Our favorite part of this performance was that it ended on a cliffhanger: We were told that there are a few telltale characteristics of witches that will help us distinguish them from normal women and that we should always keep these warning signs in mind — and that’s where the reading ended! We assume many in the audience raced to the library immediately after the event to research this very important info.

Sophia-Gennusa-Luke-Kelly

Luke Kelly, coincidentally looking like a BFG next to Sophia Gennusa from Matilda the Musical

Roald Dahl’s grandson, Luke Kelly, did the next reading, which was from the book The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. But first, he shared some lovely family stories — for instance, some nights Dahl would stand outside his daughters’ windows with a horn so they would think The BFG was real! (He never fooled them, btw; they always knew it was him.)

Luke Kelly also revealed some tidbits about the unfinished story that Dahl was working on when he died. It’s about a man named Billy Bubbler who makes up all sorts of crazy inventions, like cavity fillings that are made out of sweets. One of his creations is a machine that lets people talk with dogs — and this was going to be the main adventure in the story. It’s just too bad Dahl never got to finish it!

After that, we visited England in the 1920s, with a reading by actor James Naughton from Dahl’s memoir, Boy: Tales of Childhood. He took us back to Dahl’s days at Llandaff Cathedral School, when he admired an older student with serious bicycle skillz and waged war against the disgusting mean old lady who owned the local candy store. Also, would you like to hear a theory about how rats are mashed into licorice? Read this book!

james-naughton

James Naughton

 

Matt-Cavenaugh-Jenny-Powers

Matt Cavenaugh and Jenny Powers

From there, we journeyed to a land of pure imagination, thanks to Broadway performers Jenny Powers and Matt Cavenaugh. They sang “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

And to finish things off, the entire adult cast of the show — including Jarrett J. Krosoczka — returned to the stage to perform a reading from James and the Giant Peach. And so we watched James wander through the juicy oversized fruit all the way to the pit, where he meets The Centipede, The Earthworm, The Old Green Grasshopper, The Ladybug, Miss Spider, and The Glowworm for the first time.

roald-dahl-cast

The full cast!

Then we all clapped and cheered and chattered about how awesome this splendiferous afternoon had been as we made our way out into the theater lobby… and discovered that while we had been visiting with Dahl, New York City’s first real snow of the season had started to fall!

“Epic!” everyone yelled, and we all tromped outside into the swirling white splendiferous night.

PS – This amazing event was held at Symphony Space in Manhattan. If you happen to live in the NYC area, you and your parents should check it out. They have a program called the Thalia Book Club for avid readers and writers ages 9-13!

PPS – If you’ve been inspired to read (or re-read) some of Roald Dahl’s splendiferous books, check out our recommendations and other fun stuff right here on Kidsmomo!

 

Event photos courtesy of First Book Manhattan.

Kidsmomo Pictionary, Part 8

October 19th, 2012 by

Is it just us, or is October flying by? Barely enough time to savor the brilliantly-colored leaves and hot cider, if you ask us. But here’s a fall favorite we’re always up for: game night!

Today we continue our monster game of KidsmomoMo Pictionary! If you’ve missed any previous rounds of our competition, here’s how it works: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past.

Watch Part 8, below, and play along! How many titles can YOU guess?

And here’s a running tally of Correct Guesses:

Part Karen Nancy
I 5 1
II 3 0
III 1 3
IV 2 2
V 1 1
VI 3 1
VII 3 0
VIII 1 0
Total: 19 8

Kidsmomo Pictionary, Part 7

October 5th, 2012 by

It’s October! Time for pumpkins, costumes, candy, and things that go bump in the night! In that spirit, we have a super frightening video for you today. Why’s that? Well, nothing’s scarier than Karen’s horrible attempts at so-called “drawing” when we play KidsmomoMo Pictionary!

If you’ve missed any previous rounds of our competition, here’s how it works: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past. Watch Part 7 and play along! How many titles can YOU guess?

And here’s a running tally of Correct Guesses:

Part Karen Nancy
I 5 1
II 3 0
III 1 3
IV 2 2
V 1 1
VI 3 1
VII 3 0
Total: 18 8

DRAMA: Q&A with Author/Artist Raina Telgemeier

September 19th, 2012 by

A couple weeks ago, we shared an exclusive video from Raina Telgemeier, the super-awesome-amazing-rock-star author/artist behind the new book DRAMA. And we also announced a totally-majorly-cool-can’t-miss sweepstakes where the winner gets an autographed copy of the book and an original illustration by Raina Telgemeier herself!Well, the DRAMA continues today with another author exclusive: a Q&A with Raina Telgemeier! Read on to find out how she spent her spare time in high school, her favorite thing to draw, and more:

DRAMA is about putting on a school musical. Did you work on stage crew or act in plays growing up? Did you base any parts of the book on your real life experiences?

I never did stage crew, but I did some acting in middle school and sang in the chorus in all of my school musicals in high school. It was really fun!

I had my hands in a bunch of other fun creative stuff, too: Besides drawing comics for my school paper, I was the Art Commissioner of the Student Activities Board — a fancy title for a student government position where my job was to make posters, fliers, tickets, and so forth for school events. I also loved making costumes, although I have no skills with needle and thread — I made Halloween costumes using found clothing at second hand stores, big papier mâché masks, wigs, make-up… in college I made friends with real costume designers, and my costumes during those years were excellent! (Before you ask: Queen Amidala; Jessie the Cowgirl; Rogue from the X-Men; and Strawberry Shortcake.)

All of this filtered into DRAMA. Working on a giant, multi-faceted project with a group of people is challenging and rewarding, and there are always stories to tell afterward!

You previously illustrated the graphic novel versions of The Baby-sitter’s Club books. If you could do the graphic novel version of any other book, movie, TV show, play, song, etc., what would it be?

My favorite pieces of art and literature tend to work perfectly in their original mediums (for example, how could you adapt Pee-wee’s Big Adventure into anything other than the film it is?), but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be fun to try! Maybe a graphic novel version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Or the Ramona books. Anything with lots of kids would be a blast to draw.

I once drew a short comic called Small Steps that was an adaptation of the song Monochrome by The Sundays. It’s about the first spacewalk. Music is a big inspiration for me, although it’s not always quite that literal.

What’s your favorite thing to draw?

Kids in action! I love to draw them running around, jumping over things, playing, dancing… maybe I was an animator in a past life. Or maybe I just read so much Calvin and Hobbes growing up, that I wanted to draw kids that looked like they were having that much fun, too!

And that’s the scoop, right from Raina! You can definitely get a sense of how much energy, excitement, and (of course) drama she brings to the new book — but nothing compares to actually reading DRAMA yourself! So go out and get yourself a copy, or enter our sweepstakes below for a chance to win!

This sweepstakes is now closed.

Photo Credit: Marion Vitus

DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier – Video & Sweeps!

September 6th, 2012 by

drama-raina-telgemeierWe’ve never appeared in a play, but we definitely still know all about drama — and that’s because we attended middle school!

As you guys know, life at school is more than just classes and homework; there’s a lot of crazy and meaningful stuff that happens in the halls, during lunch period, and in the middle of extra-curricular activities. And at Eucalyptus Middle School, drama certainly abounds.

That’s the setting in the new graphic novel DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier, which involves drama both on stage (in the school production of Moon Over Mississippi) and off stage (new friendships, a school dance, tears, laughter, and multiple unrequited crushes).

DRAMA just came out this week, and to celebrate, Raina stopped by Kidsmomo to give us a special behind-the-scenes look at how she draws Callie, the main character in the book. Check out the exclusive video below:

So cool to see an artist in action, isn’t it? And if you like that illustration of Callie, well, you’re in luck! We’re giving away the original illustration and a signed copy of DRAMA to one lucky winner!

Enter our sweepstakes below, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Raina in a couple weeks!

This sweepstakes is now closed.

ParaNorman Movie Review

September 1st, 2012 by

The new movie ParaNorman is full of creatures with no pulse, but it’s guaranteed YOUR pulse will quicken as you watch all the fast and funny zombie action in this flick!

We give it two thumbs up — watch our video for our commentary on the trailer and read on for our thoughts on the film and the book! (Warning: we tried to pack in as many spooky puns and references as possible, so be prepared to groan…)

Storyline
Karen says:I’m a huge scaredy cat, so I deliberately read as little as I could about the story before going to see it. I knew that if I thought about it too much, I’d start to get irrationally afraid of the zombies and my anxiety would overpower my BRAAAAAIIIIIIN and I’d chicken out of watching the movie. So I was really happy that it turned out to be not too freaky. Actually, I thought it was pretty sweet and heart-warming for a movie about the undead!

Nancy says: Unlike Karen, I did read the book (by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel) before watching the movie — and it was awesome! There are barely any differences in storyline between the book and movie, and I thought the WICKED twist with the witch was really clever.

Spooky Reference Running Tally: 2

Characters
Karen says: I immediately liked Norman — but then again, you’d have to be a CORPSE not to like him! I also loved his new friend, Neil. But the rest of the characters seemed a little stereotypical — almost like GHOSTS of truly unique people. I especially would have liked Norman’s dad to have more depth because his character was as shallow as a SHALLOW GRAVE. But still, this didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the movie.

Nancy says: So what you’re saying, Karen, is that you would have liked to see Norman’s dad more FLESHED out? Heeheehee! In the book, Salma is a lot more involved and funnier, so I missed her. She was the BRAAAAIINNNSS of the operation. I liked how Norman eventually came around to being Neil’s friend; in the book you find out why he’s so shy and introverted, so when Norman gets the GUTS to come out of his shell in the movie, I had that in the back of my mind. I mean, BRAAAAIIINNN.

Spooky Reference Running Tally: 9

Visuals
Karen says: I absolutely loooooooved the way this movie looked — and we didn’t even see it in 3D! Actually, I feel like the visuals are so good, the 3D is probably unnecessary. Of course, I can’t say that for sure — I’d have to pick the BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIINS of people who did see it in 3D — but I thought all the detail and richness of the visuals were great in 2D! Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but I kept staring at Norman’s eyebrows. Is that weird? Probably…

Nancy says: At first, I was kind of GROSSED OUT by the way some of the people look in the movie — especially Norman’s mom and sister, who have teeny-tiny waists and giant butts and heads. But in the end I thought, hey — I’m probably supposed to be grossed out. I also thought the climatic scene with Norman and the accused witch was beautiful — no spoilers here, but let’s just say… it was ELECTRIFYING!

Spooky Reference Running Tally: 12

Favorite part
Karen says: This was a huge surprise to me, given that I normally am DEATHLY afraid of the idea of the living dead, but the zombies were my favorite part of the movie! I thought all their mannerisms were really funny, and it especially SLAYED ME up when one of them ended up riding in a car with Norman!

Nancy says: I already mentioned how much I loved the scene with Norman and the witch, so I’ll go with… every funny part of the movie! Seriously, the movie made my RIBCAGE rattle from giggling so much. Even though the hockey-mask scene is in the other ParaNorman trailer, it’s still a HOOT in the movie.

Spooky Reference Running Tally: 16

Overall impressions
Karen says: I would definitely recommend this movie. It’s got everything you could ask for: an unlikely hero, an action-packed story, awesome stop-motion visuals, lots of humor, and lots of heart. Definitely not one of those dumb movies made by people who expect kids to just enjoy anything; the people behind this film definitely used their BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINS to make something really cool! So I give it a thumbs up for sure!

Nancy says: I would also recommend this movie, and the book by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. I think it’d be enjoyable to read the book first or in the AFTERLIFE of the movie.

Have you seen the new movie ParaNorman? Leave a comment with YOUR review! Did you love it? Did you hate it? Did you freak out when the zombies appeared and wail like a baby who’s diaper needs to be changed? We wanna know!

Total No. of Spooky References: 18

Kidsmomo Pictionary, Part 6!

August 16th, 2012 by

The Olympics may be over (boo hoooooo), but the games still go on! If by “the games,” you mean our ongoing game of KidsmomoMo Pictionary, that is…

If you’ve missed any previous rounds of our competition, here’s how it works: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past, and Nancy repeatedly trounces Karen. I mean, she really stomps all over Karen. She COMPLETELY puts Karen to shame. You get the picture.

Can Karen break the cycle in Round 6? Watch and find out — and play along! How many titles can YOU guess?

And in case anyone is curious about how who’s winning, here’s a running tally of Correct Guesses:

Part Karen Nancy
I 5 1
II 3 0
III 1 3
IV 2 2
V 1 1
VI 3 1
Total: 15 8

Kidsmomo Pictionary, Part 5!

August 9th, 2012 by

It’s been a while since we’ve played KidsmomoMo Pictionary — not just because Karen needed all that time to get over the humiliation of her poor attempts at drawing!

If you’ve watched any previous rounds of our competition, then you know how it goes: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past, and Karen consistently freezes up in anguish because she has no artistic skills whatsoever.

Will the pattern continue in Round 5? Watch and find out! And, of course, please play along! How many titles can YOU guess?

The Lorax Movie Review

March 8th, 2012 by

the-lorax-by-dr-seussWe saw The Lorax on opening night.
Was it a beauty or was it a fright?
Watch the video if you want to see
A movie review from Karen and Nancy!

Hey, give us a break, we know we can’t compare to Dr. Seuss! But really, who can?

The REAL question here is whether you should see the Lorax movie. Watch our movie review video to find out:

(PS – If you’re on the go — or busy protecting the trees from greedy, axe-wielding men — don’t worry, you can still listen to our review. Just download the audio.)

Have you seen the new Lorax movie? Leave a comment with YOUR review! How do you think it compared to the book?

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