Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Review of Chicken Big by Kevin Graves

Chicken Big
Chicken Big by Kevin Graves

The blurb:
The farm is tiny.
The coop is itsy-bitsy.
The chickens are very small.
But the egg is humongous, and so is the huge yellow fellow who pops out!  This feathered giant is so big, the flock is sure he's no chicken.

The big guy has an equally big heart, however, and longs to be accepted as one of the chickens.  Little by little, his kindness and brave rescue of the flock's eggs prove to the silly chickens that he is really one of them.

Reading Chicken Big aloud, you start to enjoy the sound of the words:   teeny, itty-bitty, humongous, clucked, enormous, squawked, conked, peeped, splatted, hippopotamus, stomping, teensy-weensy.

It's easy to see how a child hearing and learning the words would get into the rhythm of the book and be captivated by the illustrations of the large, funny looking chick that somehow saves the day.   You don't have to be familiar with the story of Chicken Little to appreciate Chicken Big, but a kid who knows the earlier story will surely find Chicken Big particularly fun.

Great sounds, engaging pictures, and a story about friendship and fitting in -- I highly recommend Chicken Big.

Reading level 4 to 8.
ISBN-10: 0811872378 - Hardcover $16.99
Publisher: Chronicle Books (August 18, 2010), 40 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

Kevin Graves is Professor Emeritus at the Chicken School in Austin, Texas where he teaches courses in chicken psychology and chicken history.

Strangely, Professor Graves has the exact same name as another guy who wrote the book Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance, as well as some other ridiculous books, but we doubt that he's the same guy.
Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance

Friday 56: Week 59 - Jill Mansell's Take a Chance on Me

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Take a Chance on Me
Here's the blurb:
Even in a small town the drama is larger than life. . .
Living in the same town of Channings Hill, Cleo has grown used to the fact that there are soem people you just can't avoid, no matter how much you really, really want to.

When her job throws her into constant contact with her childhood nemesis Johnny LaVenture, she's perfectly content to leave the past behind.  But for someone she'd rather have nothing to do with, Johnny is getting harder and harder to ignore. . .

Here's my Friday 56:
Abbie, I'm so sorry, I was going to tell you--

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Book Giveaway of The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley

Little Brown & Company is generously sponsoring a giveaway of 3 copies of this interesting account of the beginnings of the US imperial presence in Asia.  I admit to having a particular interest in the topic since the book touches on the period when the United States held the Philippines as a colony.

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War
The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War by James Bradley

The blurb:
On the success of his two bestselling books about World War II, James  Bradley began to wonder what the real catalyst was for the Pacific War.  What he discovered shocked him.

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his daughter Alice,  and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines,  China, and Korea with the intent of forging an agreement to divide up Asia. This clandestine pact lit the fuse that would-decades
later-result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, and the communist revolution in China.

In 2005, James Bradley retraced that epic voyage and discovered the remarkable truth about America's vast imperial past. Full of fascinating characters brought brilliantly to life, The Imperial Cruise will powerfully revise the way we understand U.S. history.

About the Author:
James Bradley is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers and the son of one of the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. He lives in New York.

To enter, please share which period in US history you find most fascinating.  

1. Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address, no entry.
2. You must be a follower to join the contest.
3. One entry per person and only one winner per household.

The contest is limited to US and Canada. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on December 1, 2010.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Book Blog Tour of The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

I'm excited to be part of the book tour for Helen Hollick's lastest  historical fiction novel, The Forever Queen.  In The Forever Queen, Hollick takes us to Normandy and England around 1022 and tells the story of Queen Emma who of Norman birth and marries into the royal family of England.  I wasn't familiar with this period in English history and Hollick did a wonderful job of weaving in facts and history and creating an engrossing story.

The Forever Queen

The blurb:
In 1022, when Emma vowed to give her soul to England, she never could have imagined how very far she would have to take that promise.  Fed up with her incompetent husband and determined to save her people, Emma must take matters into her own hands.  But can she risk everything on a gamble that could rescue a country--but ruin the rest of her life?

This vivid and compelling tale reveals the unmatched life of Queen Emma--the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings; the mother of two more; and the great aunt of William the Conqueror.

From sparse historical data, Hollick pieces together the story of Emma, daughter of Richard I of Normandy, just as she has been contracted to marry King Aethelred of England.   We follow her life  as a young girl matched with an ineffectual and quick tempered husband as she slowly comes into herself.  As she makes friends and grows confident, we see the beginnings of a loyal and charismatic leader.

Emma's world is full of violence, political intrigue, war and uncertainty - which makes for a gripping and fascinating novel.  While the book is around 650 pages, too long for one sitting, it's hard not to stay  up all night.  Emma draws you in with her sense of honor, her humor and her complicated and unusual life.  If you're fond of historical fiction and not squeamish about violence, war, intrigue and betrayal, do check out The Forever Queen It's a fun, satisfying read.

ISBN-10: 1402240686 - Trade Paperback $16.99 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (November 1, 2010), 656 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Helen Hollick lives in northeast London on the edge of Epping Forest with her husband, adult daughter, a variety of pets, which include several horses, cats, and a dog.  She has two major interests: Roman/Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy -- the early eighteenth century.  Her particular pleasure is researching the facts behind the small glimpses of history and bringing the characters behind those facts to full and glorious life.  She has an honors diploma in early medieval history, and may one day, if she ver finds the time, go on to obtain her full degree.  Learn more about her at or

Want to read more about The Forever Queen?  Check out the other book tour stops:

Book Club Chat on    

Monday, November 8, 2010

Win a trip to Italy - courtesy of Harper Paperbacks, Adriana Trigiani & Brava, Valentina

Harper Paperbacks and Adriana Trigiani are giving away a  week long trip to Italy to celebrate the paperback release of Brava, Valentine - head here for details.