Sunday, January 27, 2013


Up until now, Literary Lunchbox has been a children's lit blog focusing on young adult, middle grades and picture book titles. And, let's be honest, it's mostly middle grades fiction. With a brand new year of stories to read, I've decided to add chapter books to the line-up.

Why, you ask? I have two reasons for adding chapter books to my blog.
  1. The first reason is my seven-year-old daughter Della. She's reading early chapter books. Lots of them. And I'm running out of good ones, and she reads about two a day, and I need to find some more. 
  2. SCBWI authors have asked for my consideration and review of their work. Included in these titles are some well-written, independently published chapter books. There aren't many blogs out there that will review independently (self) published books. I will. Why not? If it's good, I will recommend it at Literary Lunchbox. If it isn't good, I won't. Same rules for traditionally published books. No favoritism, just good kid lit that I feel comfortable writing about and recommending to readers and their parents.
So.... without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to Nimpentoad.

Charming...Brave...Clever...Loyal... These are the words I would use to describe the title character of this high fantasy early chapter book. 

Nimpentoad is a Nibling - a tiny forest creature, small and skinny and short. He and his Nibling friends are tired of being picked on by the nasty goblins in Grunwold Forest and set out on a dangerous journey in hopes of new jobs in the castle of Goofus the Giant. The giant could use some pint-size help, and Nimpentoad hopes the castle will be a safe and secure haven for he and his Nibling friends.

On their forest journey, the Niblings meet a variety of unsavory forest-dwellers. Some of these beasts are dangerous and mean, while others are just brutish and annoying. Nimpentoad safely navigates the forest and bests the foul creatures with his charm, his bravery and his clever ways. Loyal to the end, Nimpentoad leads his friends to a better life.

Nimpentoad was written by Henry Herz and his school-age sons, Josh and Harrison. The artwork was created by Sean Eddingfield and Bill Maus.

Henry and his boys hope to write more Nimpentoad adventures, but in the meantime, they are busy working on a different book. The new book is an easy reader about a clever sloth named Twignibble who goes around the world helping his animal friends protect their habitats. They believe young readers   will enjoy the story and the terrific artwork and will identify with the book's important themes of conservation, teamwork and empathy.

Blog you later!

Ali B.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Adventures of Beanboy

My eleven-year-old son read The Adventures of Beanboy, a finalist for this year's middle grades fiction Cybils award. He loved it! He also loves to be interviewed ~ he's quite the critic. The following is part of my interview with Mateo. Enjoy!

Tell me about The Adventures of Beanboy by Lisa Harkrader

The Adventures of Beanboy is about a boy named Tucker MacBean. His mom works at a bank, and she can never come home in time to spend time with her family. She can't quit her job because she doesn't have a college scholarship and needs money for school. Tucker loves this comic book, H2O Submerged. The comic book company is holding a contest to create a new sidekick for H2O. The winner gets a college scholarship. Tucker enters the contest to try to
win college money for his mom.

This book was a mixture of humor and drama, can you name one funny scene and one dramatic scene from the book?

A funny scene was when he was creating the sidekick, Beanboy, and decided his super power should be farts. Hilarious!

A dramatic scene was when Samantha Zawicki took Tucker's newest edition of the H2O comic and threw it in the puddle at it was ruined. It set up the conflict between Samantha and Tucker that goes on through the book. However, they eventually become friends, but you'll have to read the story to find out how.

Does this book remind you of any other books you’ve read? Why?

Probably the book Rules, because both characters have to look out for their little brothers, and both the little brothers have special challenges. David in Rules has autism and Beecher in The Adventures of Beanboy didn't get enough oxygen when he was born.

Who was your favorite character?

Obviously, the main character Tucker MacBean.

Who was your least favorite character? Did you have one?

I did not have a least favorite character. I liked the way the author made all of the characters. They were all interesting even if they were mean.

Do you think the author should write a sequel? Why?

No. I don't want to spoil the ending for other readers, but no. Mom, don't tell them why because it will give away the best part of the story. Let's just say that I think it's a good stand-alone book.

Would you recommend this book to a friend?

Yes, I would. I would recommend it to all my friends ~ that's how good it is.

If you could talk to the author, what would you say?

I would say that she created a wonderful book, and that it is one of those books that kids will read over and over and over...

Blog you later!

Ali B. & Mateo