Monday, September 29, 2014

Hank Zipzer Niagara Falls, or Does It? MMGM

Grosset and Dunlap 2003
144 pages 
I have been reviewing books from the Hank Zipzer series, so I figured I should go back and review the first book in the series.

It is the first day of fourth grade and the teacher wants the students to write a five paragraph essay on what they did during the summer. Hank is terrified. Writing (and reading) is not one of his best subjects. Hank comes up with a plan to show what he did. His 'living essay' becomes a disaster when he tries to show and tell about his trip to Niagara Falls. He gets detention. Luckily he gets detention with Mr. Rock, the music teacher. Mr. Rock suspects Hank has learning problems and suggests that he be tested.

In addition to the books in this series being extremely humorous, they teach about kids with learning disabilities. And they show how kids like Hank can work through difficulties and overcome obstacles they have in everyday life.

Additional info: Henry Winkler is dyslexic and was not diagnosed until he was an adult. 

Now click over here to Shannon Messenger's site and read about other marvelous middle grade books!

Monday, September 22, 2014

MMGM - Hank Zipzer The Zippity Zinger

In my countdown until Henry Winkler comes to our town.
I take timeout for another of Henry Winkler's Hank Zipzer books!

Hank Zipzer The Zippity Zinger

2003 Grosset and Dunlap
24,578 words

What does Hank do when his sock drawer is empty and it is time to go play catch with his Papa Pete?
He grabs the pair of socks from on top of the laundry basket and puts them on without looking. They turn out to be bright red girls' socks with little pink monkeys on them. And, on top of that, they are his sister's good luck socks!

Well, it seems they also bring him good luck. Bam! Bam! Bam! He throws strikes one after another. They must be lucky! But his sister needs to wear them when she competes in the school's Brain Buster Competition which takes place at the same time as the School Olympiad Softball Game.

His sister HAS to wear them, so what will happen when he pitches in the softball game? Can he pitch without his lucky socks? He doesn't think so, but they had to put him in the game in the last inning.

Will he be able to throw enough zippity zingers to win the game?

Will he win a gold medal to wear around his neck?

Well, I'll leave it up to you to read and find out what happens.

This is another funny book from the duo of Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver.

Now go over to Shannon Messenger's Blog to read about other Marvelous Middle Grade Books.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I've been asked by children's author, Deb Hockenberry, to answer questions about my writing.
You can visit her blog here.

What am I currently working on?

I work on more than one thing at a time. It helps keep me from getting stuck or bored. My biggest project now is editing (again) my middle grade book, titled Duck and Cover. And, each month I write an article for Two Lane Livin' Magazine.

Why do you write what you write?

A few years ago, I had this urge to write a picture book about picking blackberries. I couldn't get it out of my mind. I found out about a writing group that met in Ripley and decided to go to one of the meetings. I discovered that I didn't really know how to write. But, I kept attending the meetings and my skills and confidence grew. I find I tend to live in the past, so I write from childhood memories. And, I love writing historical fiction - writing about a time before all of these new-fangled inventions and discoveries. I tend to write shorter pieces, so it works great for my love of writing for children.

Describe your writing process.

I sit in my chair and peck away at my laptop. Of course, an idea has to come. Sometimes that is the hardest part of the process, especially when I write articles for children. But, once inspiration hits - my fingers fly across the keyboard - stopping only to do more research. (And to eat, drink, take bathroom breaks and all those other necessary activities) Whenever I write a historical fiction, I do research before I write and if I need to, I continue to research as I write. I don't have any special time of the day or hours of the day that I write. Life sometimes gets in the way of a regular writing routine.

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

I don't think my work differs from others in the same genre. I write what I know. I write what I am interested in. I write what I don't know and learn along the way.

Do I have a book or anything submitted?

I have several of my manuscripts that I am currently submitting. Still waiting for that acceptance!
I have self published a book, titled FunThrough the Seasons - Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids. It is a compilation of my articles, which include easy recipes and crafts, that I write for kids for Two Lane Livin’ Magazine. I have organized the book into months of the year, each section starting out with an original poem about the month. And, I have added more content. It is a great book for preschool to grade school age children. They learn in a fun way.

Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed the interview.

Monday, September 15, 2014

MMGM - Hank Zipzer - My Dog's a Scaredy-Cat

Welcome to MMGM. After reading my post, you can click here to go over to Shannon Messenger's site for more links to middle grade books.

I am reviewing another Hank Zipzer book today.


Publisher: Grossett & Dunlap 2006
Book Level: 4-6  word count: 25,613

When you were a kid, didn't you just love dressing up for Halloween. So does Hank. But no one liked his outfit! And on the day of the Halloween Parade at his school, Hank was beginning to wonder why he decided to dress up as a table in an Italian restaurant, too. After the parade he listed NINE HALLOWEEN THINGS I SHOULD HAVE GONE AS.
Nick, the school bully, made fun of his costume, made fun of his sister and called him stupid in front of the whole school and neighborhood. He wanted to scare Nick out of his socks. Hank's Papa Pete suggested he build a haunted house instead.
Hank got together with his friends to make the scariest haunted house ever. Not for fun, but to scare Nick.
They had to act quick and in his excitement and being very busy making the haunted house, Hank's dog, Cheerio, is  nowhere to be found. He thinks Cheerio's disappearance is his fault and suddenly scaring Nick is the last thing on his mind.
Do they find Cheerios and do they scare Nick in their scary haunted house? You'll have to read it and find out how Hank's Halloween night ended.

This is another one of Mr. Winkler's funny books that doesn't let you down.
In my opinion grade school kids will love it.

Happy reading and writing!

Monday, September 8, 2014

MMGM - Hank Zipzer The Curtain Went UP, My Pants Fell DOWN

Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

Henry Winkler is coming to our town in October. He is going to the local schools and speak to the children and then he is going to be the speaker at a dinner that evening. My husband and I are going!

I've always liked Henry as The Fonz, so I decided to see how his writing skills were. His books are co written by Lin Oliver.

I am reading his books and so far - I love them!

I have just finished:

Hank Zipzer The Curtain Went UP, My Pants Fell DOWN
Grosset & Dunlap 2007
27,254 words 158 pages

Hank and math just don't get along. In fact, he is lucky to get a D. Heather Payne, Miss Perfect. Miss I'd-Love-To-Do-Homework-For-The-Rest-Of-My-Life. Miss How-Many-Extra-Credit-Problems-Can-I-Do? Miss I've-Never-Gotten-Anything-Lower-Than-An-A-With-Thirty-Three Pluses, has been assigned to tutor him. He couldn't believe it, he almost fell out of his chair.

But, if he wants to be the King in the school's play, Anna and the the King of Siam (and he really, really wants to), his father says he has to get a B+ on his next math test.

They study together and he actually starts to get the hang of long division. Will he get a B+ on his test? But, if he does, there is someone else blocking his path to playing the King - Nick McKelty. Nick is the school bully with iguana-cage breath and he also wants to be king.

This is a super funny book and I thinks kids will love it.

Next week I will blog about another one of his books. 

Now go over to Shannon Messenger's Blog and see what other Middle Grade books people are blogging about.

Happy Writing - and Reading!